|After Taupo we headed for River Valley, stopping at Tawhai waterfall for some people to have a swim in the freezing water and we also went to the ski resort of Mount Ruapehu, where we were lucky enough to see the most eastern peak in New Zealand as it was such a clear day! Leaving the 3 mountains of Tongariro behind us we headed to River Valley, which is in the middle of nowhere and exists solely for the purpose of white river rafting on the Grade 5 Rangitikei river, where some scenes for LOTR were shot. I didn't do rafting, prefering instead to relax at the lodge, which my leg was grateful for at least!
On Friday we left River Valley in the afternoon and headed to Wellington, the windy capital of New Zealand. I had decided to spend 3 nights here, as I needed a break from the constant moving of Kiwi Experience. The first night we all went out to a couple of pubs as some people were leaving in the morning.
Saturday I was pretty lazy in the morning, just having a little wander around the shops, I had to buy another pair of new trainers as my last pair got ruined on the Tongariro Crossing.
In the afternoon I caught the Cable Car up to the Botanical Gardens as I was on the search for something free to do in the city! The cable car ride was quite exciting, it's been running for over 100 years, although they've obviously changed the actual cable car itself...
As it was a nice sunny afternoon, the walk around the botanical gardens was very nice and relaxing and there are some great views over Wellington city.
Today I got up earlier and caught the bus to the Otari-Wilton Nature Reserve, where they have a 100m canopy walkway and several walks through native New Zealand bush. I even saw a Tui bird, which apparently you don't get to see too often, and I managed to get a photo this time. I saw a few other birds, but I didn't have a chance to identify them.
Tomorrow I catch the early ferry over to the South Island. Hopefully can update again soon!