Chocolate, hot cross buns, and public holidays; how could anyone dislike the Easter weekend? Every year since 2012, when me and the boys (and the girl) drove from Innisfail to Cairns, I've done some form of travel, and that's not changing this year. Choosing to miss out on the local airshow (using Lord of the Rings director Sir Peter Jackson's personal collection of WWII planes), I've opted instead to grab three friends, jump in a car, and just drive to as many places as possible that I've not already been to. By the time of this publishment, my journey will have begun, and here's how it's looking:
On Wednesday night we'll gather at my humble abode in Blenheim, where we'll have some light drinks and share some banter while being generally excited for future events. My three mates will crash on the couch, ready to leave early in the morning. We'll depart around 7am and arrive in nearby Picton in time for the Bluebridge ferry that connects Picton, on the South Island, to the North Island capital, Wellington. We'll grab breakfast, catch up with a few mates, and then we'll really start travelling.
We'll arrive in Palmerston North on Thursday around lunchtime, grab a bite, take a distillery tour of a famous national lager, then head off to our first campsite in the beautiful township of Napier. In the 1930's Napier was ravaged by a significant earthquake and remains the location of New Zealand's worst national disaster, claiming 257 lives. Today it's an Art Deco haven, with gorgeous buildings and a brilliant testimony to the resilience of man. There's a nearby chocolate museum that I've got my eye on as well.
On Friday we'll travel up the east coast, stopping in Gisbourne (the first city in the world to see the new year), before we meander along to the amusingly named Whakatane (in Maori, you pronounce the "wh" like an "f") and arrive in New Zealand's fifth biggest city, Tauranga. Then we'll hike Mt. Maunganui (in English it's called "Big Mountain"), the lava-dome that used to be a Maori pa (hill fort), before we hit the clubs and pubs in Good Friday celebrations. One of my companions has a shag set up in Tauranga as well, so we'll be giving him banter when he screws it up somehow.
Saturday we'll take a sharp turn south, and head towards Rotorua (because no one really wants to go to STD-capital Hamilton or to Auckland again). Famous for its hot springs, I'm curious if it smells as bad as everyone says. We'll spend lunch time on the luge track and check out some of the natural beauty, before we make haste to Taupo (home of the largest lake in the country). By all accounts this place is beautiful, and we'll find a spot to set up camp that gives us a gorgeous view to wake up to. Last time we took a road trip this big, we ended up sleeping in a shipping container, so I'm looking forward to setting up tents instead.
There we'll journey through many locations where Lord of the Rings was filmed, before we reach New Plymouth just in time for Easter Sunday celebrations. I know nothing of New Plymouth so the adventure excites me greatly; I'm hoping to do some couch-surfing here as well. The next day we'll explore while the shops are open, and then travel south towards Whanganui for lunch. The final stretch we'll return to Wellington and stay at a friend's house, before spending the entirety of the next day exploring the capital. Our ferry back to Picton leaves around 8pm Tuesday evening, and by then I'll be a wiser man.This trip sounds amazing - I wish I was going! It looks like my Easter plans are going to involve pyjamas and lots of lazing around the house gorging myself on chocolate.
Do you have any exciting plans this Easter weekend?