Here is a map of our Camping trip!
For the Labour week end (with the Monday off – It is like the French 1st of May), we decided to go camping not too far from Wellington. There are great spots around the city that we could have gone on a two day week end too.
We wanted to stop first at a campground called CatchPool Valley Camping Area which is located close to some hikes. We left Wellington very early, thinking there would be tons of people on the roads but there was nobody! I guess even if there is people, it will never be as many as in France. On the three days week end in France, it is hell to drive, there is millions of people on the roads… Well here there is only 4 million people in total so I guess we can expect to find less people on the roads…
Catchpool Valley Campground
As some of you might know, I have been quite sick for the past three weeks. Stomach pains, back pains, feeling dizzy and not good at all. I had to miss work for almost a week because I couldn’t sit or stay in front of the computer for very long. The camping week end happened as I was feeling better but still a bit sick.
Those little yellow flowers look really nice... from far
But closely they is a lot of spines around!
I didn’t want to go on a big hike in case I felt bad but I followed everybody and we ended up doing quite a long hike. It was nice though, going through the bush and the forest that looked like a tropical one.
When we reached the top of the mountain two hours later, we had a really nice view over the valley and Wellington in the background.
We could even see the South Island and its snowy mountains.
I wasn’t feeling very good at that point (in particular because I had two pants because in the morning it was freezing. You should know that two pants to walk up a moutain is really not a good idea). I keep walking for about an hour because I thought we were almost done with the hike but at that point I started feeling really bad as I had been feeling earlier in the week.
I couldn’t go any further. We didn’t know how long it would last after that point but it didn’t seem to be half way. Lucie (Alexis’ sister) had to go back with me to the campground.
Alexis went all the way through the hike
I hate feeling like this but I didn’t want to faint in the middle of the hike in the middle of nowhere. I think I went to hard for my first ‘active day’. I haven’t been sick like this in a while and beeing in another country when it happens was not nice.
By crossing the river you can find other hikes on the other side of the mountains that will bring you to the other campground we have been after.
Back in France I know a lot of doctors (my whole family is all of different kind of doctors) and I never panic when something happens, but here it is different, I don’t know the system and/or if I can trust the doctors. I am preparing another article about that.
Alexis went all the way through the hike
We went back to the campground to meet one of our friend that stayed there and we just chilled in the sun! The campground was nice but there was a restriction on fire and we really wanted to do a fire for dinner. We looked at other campgrounds around and found one on the other side of the mountain that was on the beach and accepted fire.
We decided to go but it was already 5PMish and it took two hours to drive to the other side. They are not joking with the driving time here because most of the times you are going to end up in a gravel road where you can’t go very fast.
I had to drive a friend’s car because he had already drink a bit on the other camping. It was nice because it was a Citroen and it reminded me of my old car back in France. (I miss you so much Be Moy car). At some point, we started to go towards the beach and eventually ended up on a gravel road (didn’t I tell you?)…
The GPS said there was still twenty minutes to go but the road didn’t look any better and the surroundings were not looking like campgrounds at all.
The sun was setting and we had such a nice view over the South Island (one more time). That is when I had to stop. We arrived on the beach, and I was driving on the beach rocks/sand but in front of me I could see the shape of a river. A RIVER! What the hell! I was not driving through the river with a not 4 wheels drive and with a car that was not mine!
We couldn’t see how big the river was nor if there was something on the other side. I really though the GPS was wrong.
Alexis went through it with our car and said it was fine. I gave the wheel-drive back because I didn’t want to be responsible for putting the car into the water :joy:
Well everything went well and in facts, if you continue a few minutes, there is a campground.
I think it is the nicest campground I have seen. There are some parts under trees and if you continue a bit further, there are some camps right next to the beach. The beach is right there, no cities around, everyone doing a fire, some people going crazy on the beach… I want to go back because we couldn’t enjoy it that much because we arrived late.
The sky was incredible too. So many stars. No light pollution at all there. Too bad I was too sick to stay in the cold taking pictures… I really want to go back! ( All the camping addresses are at the top of the article )
The next morning we went on the other side of the bay to a spot called the Putangirua Pinnacles. The name rings a bell? Well it is a filming spot for Lord of the Rings! More details in a coming article.
On our way to the Putangirua Pinnacles
Yes! We saw Gandalf!
We then went to Cape Pallisser which is a really nice lighthouse (but it is the only thing to see there). You have to walk almost 300 steps to get there but you have an amazing view over the bay. Apparently it is really nice at night too for night pictures 🙂
Road to Cap Palliser
Having fun in Cap Palliser after climbing the 253 steps to get up the light tower. . . . . . . . . #animation #gif #video #longexposure #newzealand #explorenewzealand #nz #nouvellezelande #pvtnz #pvt #pvtistes #welcomehome #pvtistesnz #whv #whvnz #newzealandphotography #NZPhotographers #newzealandguide #realmiddleearth #newzealandfinds #newzealandnatural #newzealandvacations #kiwi_photos #canonnz #sun @pvtistes @nz_photographers
And we ended the day in our new campground somewhere between the light house and the Pinnacles. You have to know that it is a free campground with toilets but no showers. There is a beach where you can go for a swim. Alexis did!!! I couldn’t the water was SO COLD! I don’t know how he did it, I usually am the one going into icy waters (I remember very well Norway’s glacial lake)!
We made a big fire watching the sun set. I am a bit disapointed because it was nice but not as nice as the day before. More over, it was very cloudy and we couldn’t take any night pictures of the stars.
Alexis playing with fire
The next morning I woke up at 4AM, feeling very sick. Sleeping in the car was not that great because we are very close to the ceiling and it made me claustrophoebic when I woke up suddenly. Any ways, I couldn’t sleep so I stayed in the front seat and that is when I saw it. The sun was rising!
It was totally worth not sleeping and seeing a not very good sunset.
Too bad my camera ran out of battery but I took some pictures with my iPhone. What an incredible sunrise! It came from all over. It started behind the mountains and continued over the ocean.
We continued our trip later in the day by going to Castle Point.
Haaaah Castle Point. I waited so much to go there. Everybody was saying it is beautiful day and night. Everyone also says that there is A LOT of wind all the time.
Mhmmmm. We got no sun and no wind. Castle Point is really nice to see though. A lighthouse on top of some rock formation. I wondered if the rocks will last long because they seem to be damaged by the ocean (probably the wind too).
I really want to go back there too because we had a preview of what it can be under the sun and it looks stunning. I also wish to see it under attack by wind because waves going crazy is also beautiful.
Alexis and Lucie getting cornered by water suddenly
I can’t wait for summer to do more of these under better weather and better health conditions too.