Wellington, Waikanae and Hawera - vibrant city fun, rural tranquility and beach baching

I shifted to Australia earlier this year, so after spending the most part of 2014 away from New Zealand I was eager to return to our lovely country for an extended three month holiday.

My journey began as I touched down on the Wellington tarmac. The drizzly day didn’t dampen my spirits.  It was nice to be home. The taxi to the city continues to be one of those annoying but almost unavoidable expenses of any holiday. A great tip I picked up is to lug your suitcase over to the nearby service station and hail a taxi from there, avoiding the $7 airport fee. Must remember this for next time!  [Omega Tip:  Or pick up your rental car from Omega's Wellington Airport depot ;-) ]

In a relatively short time away from the capital I was surprised to see so many new cafes and restaurants had popped up, making dinner decisions that night a tough choice. We finally settled on Bebemos – a South American inspired gem nestled in Newtown. It did not disappoint -the service & food were both fantastic.

Following on from my brief stopover in the capital I headed to Taranaki. My studies back in Melbourne required me to complete several weeks of placement on sheep, beef and dairy farms. Here in Taranaki with my family, surrounded by rolling green hills, the windswept black sandy beaches, and picture perfect Mt Taranaki was the ideal place to spend these weeks. Waking up before 5am and getting to the cowshed each morning just as the day began to glow was far more amazing than it sounds. With the faint lights of a sleepy town in the distance, the faint drone of a motorbike and the cows treading softly each day summer stretched for miles ahead of me.

A four-hour drive down the Kapiti coast took me from rural tranquility back to the vibrancy of Wellington and it was here I welcomed in 2015. Brunches and beaches, barbeques and city views, my time in Wellington galloped along at a glorious pace.  Drinking good coffee is always on my Wellington ‘to-do’ list and Flight Coffee Hangar, Fidel's and Maranui surf café have now etched their names strongly onto that list. Maranui surf café offered up New Years day brunch seasoned with Lyall bay views and smothered in blue sky. That game of mini golf, almost essential, when together with friends and family at this time of year was played at Carlucci land in Brooklyn. This place is a must-visit, a visual feast for curious and inquisitive mind with all the weird and wonderful creations.

Heading back up the coast in the New Year we holidayed at Waikanae beach, a neat little spot with a nice rugged beach. We rented a bach through bookabach, a great way to ‘test the waters’ at a different spot each year with the hope that eventually we find our perfect little spot to come again year after year. Waikanae for us ticked all the boxes, not too big and busy, though not too isolated and small. And this year we certainly struck it right with the weather. Cricket sets and Frisbees were unloaded from the boot and our little mini BBQ was perfect for cooking almost every meal! It’s amazing what a bit of sea air can do to the appetite!

Slowly but surely those summer days that had seemed so numerous way back in December were coming to an end. As I reflect back on my wonderful holiday I realize how lucky I am to call New Zealand home.

This story and images are from Gema Wright, another great entry in Omega's Summer Holiday Writing Competition. Thanks Gema!

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