New Zealand

Here you’ll find travel reports about Gracefield. Discover travel destinations in New Zealand of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

15 travelers at this place:

  • Day471

    A lovely hot day

    June 2 in New Zealand

    Today we had to pack up and wave goodbye to our lovely little airbnb escape. It's been nice having a bit of luxury after so many nights in the campervan but it did remind us how annoyingly restricted being in booked accommodation can be. With the campervan we can go wherever we like, stay as long as we like and just up and leave whenever we've had enough of a place. After packing the van back up we headed back into the city to the same carpark we parked in yesterday. Our plan for today was to make the most of the nice weather and just explore the capital a bit. We had a stroll around the shops and a quick morning coffee before venturing to the Wellington cable car. It's more like a tram that goes up hill but it does provide quite a direct link to the centre from the suburbs. The journey was only 5 minutes long and passed through a few tunnels which have been illuminated with rainbow LED lights which made quite a nice light show as you passed through each one. It stops in the botanical gardens and gave us a lovely view over the city below. We decided that although we'd bought return tickets it'd be nicer to do a walk around the gardens and walk back into the city, especially when the route is downhill. We sat and ate lunch near the rockery garden where they had a lavender plant that was attracting lots of monarch butterflies. It's hard to believe it's autumn with such summery looking butterflies around. We continued to wonder through the gardens after lunch and it wasn't too long before we'd made it out onto the road. Initially we just started walking too engrossed in conversation but we soon realised we didn't actually know where we were. With a bit of help from Google we made it to the parliament buildings. The building on the right is very grand and lovely to look at. Unfortunately this theme doesn't continue and at the end of the row on the left is the building called the Beehive. I have no idea why they chose to make it out of concrete rather than the same stone as the other buildings but it did look awful and very much like a 1960s office block. We meandered around town and eventually made it to the waterfront which was a hub of activity and offered some lovely harbour views. We shared a gingernut gelato ice cream which was rather refreshing. I've developed a bit of an obsession with ginger flavoured things since being here. The water wasn't the cleanest near the habour walls so it was interesting to see some teenage girls choosing to jump into the water with rubbish floating around. Eventually we were back at the van and after much research on Campermate booked ourselves into a campsite in Lower Hutt just north of the city centre for the night. We managed to navigate the cities complicated lanes and got to the site in good time. Then came the time to plug in our camper and this is when we discovered we so really do have a problem with the house battery. It hadn't charged when we drove to Picton but it turns out it is refusing to charge even when plugged in. The inverter is just flashing random numbers and it did briefly show up a fault code which means the cells are faulty. Annoyingly as well we discovered this only 20 minutes after the office for our rental company had closed so we can't phone up about it until tomorrow. At least we are in the capital of the country so we should have the most options for places to get it looked at and fixed. For now we are lucky that we have a communal kitchen to use so it's only the lights we are missing but we do have two torches. Hopefully tomorrow we can ring up and it won't be too long before it can be looked at. Something was bound to go wrong eventually when you have the campervan for 3 months!Read more

  • Day472

    A rather unhealthy day

    June 3 in New Zealand

    So we woke up this morning and after having showers and getting ready for the day Nick rung the campervan hire company to let them know about the battery not charging. Unfortunately this weekend is a bank holiday weekend so we won't be able to get anything done until Tuesday. Why New Zealand have a bank holiday for the Queen's birthday when we don't is a mystery. We've been asked to stay in a powered site for this time and the company will reimburse us for one of the nights of this stay. We've just decided to stay at the same campsite because it was the best around and it saves us moving too far away when their seems to be quite a few repair places in Lower Hutt. It's a little annoying that it had to happened now but at least we are near the capital of the country so there's lots around for us to do. Nick's been longing to see the new Advengers film so we thought we'd have a bit of a chilled out non touristy day today and watch it. We headed to a town 30 minutes away so that we didn't have to pay for parking like we would of had to for the cinemas in Wellington itself. We struggled for a while to actually find the carpark for the cinema and after driving around the whole block we eventually found a ramp that lead up to the best place to park. We then faced the issue of it having a 2 hour parking limit so Nick went in a found the information desk and she took our registration and reassured us it would be fine if we were using the cinema. After buying our tickets we had some time to kill so we went to Kmart to exchange a jumper I bought and to New World to get some cinema worthy snacks. It wasn't long before we were making our way back to the cinema and it had got rather busy for the showing which was surprising seeing as the film has been out for quite a while. I passed a boy aged about 6 dressed as the hulk in the toilets and he did a rather impressive arm muscle tense complete with a growl when he saw me. The film was really good although I haven't watched all the Marvel films so I didn't get all the jokes or know who some people actually were to start with. Luckily it felt rather independent as a film so it didn't matter too much. After the film we went to deal with the fact that one of our headlight and break light bulbs had blown and needed replacing. We went to a Supercheap Auto near by and after almost an hour in the carpark it was determined that our headlight isn't wired correctly and needed an auto electrician to look at it. This felt like a huge blow and just another thing to add to the list of things that needed sorted. We both felt a bit disheartened so we decided that we needed some treat food in our lives to cheer us up. When we found out the local Pak'n'save didn't do the nice homemade pizzas other branches do it was yet another disappointment. We were determined to have pizza though and instead went and got a takeaway from a place in Lower Hutt. Two huge pizzas with free garlic bread and chicken strips. So much food! We've got quite a lot left over to have for breakfast and we spent the rest of the evening watching TV in the TV room until we got interrupted by a family with 3 children under 8 coming in, all of which were drinking full fat coke and eating sweets at 9:30pm! They moaned so much to their parents that it wasn't cartoons on the TV that in the end we left once our programme had almost finished anyway. As nice as it was to do something non touristy it did end up making us wonder why we're here doing this so I'm looking forward to getting back into tourist mode tomorrow and seeing more of this country.Read more

  • Day473

    The world of the Weta Workshop

    June 4 in New Zealand

    It's bank holiday Monday today so we still have one day to wait until we can get our campervan fixed. We decided to use the day to visit the Weta Workshop. Weta made the props, costumes, make up and many other things for the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit films. They also have another company called Weta Digital who work on the visual effects and this side of the company createe films as big as Avatar. We initially just looked around the small museum and gift shop but soon realised we wanted to do one of the tours of the workshop. We opted for the shortest workshop only tour and managed to get a spot on the 1:30pm tour. We had our lunch sat outside under 3 huge troll figures. It was quite entertaining to see a family arrive with two golden retrievers and when one saw the troll it went into complete defensive mode and started barking at it like crazy. The detail on models was amazing. Our time came to go on our tour and we were allowed to enter a curtained off area of the workshop. The guide was one of the painters who work here and he had a great funny attitude and made everything very enjoyable. Initially you see all the films the company has worked on and it's actually a lot more than you realise especially when all the pieces they make are so detailed. Most of the armour for LOTR is made from a sturdy plastic that's been shaped in a mould so it isn't too heavy for the actor to wear. They do create real armor and weapons to be used for more close up shots. How cool is the guy who makes swords for films for a living! They had a room showing the stages of making the armour for the dwaves in the Hobbit. 1000s of individual pieces were made and all hand painted to then be shown to the director who turned around twice asking for them to be repainted with more blue and then more red. How painstaking that must be! It did make me realise that it would be a pretty awesome job to be one of these painters and it might be something I look into more when we're back home. I think Nick was just in awe of the whole place and would love to work in any aspect of it. It is amazing to discover that most of the metallic items for films is actually painted plastic. You'd never realise it wasn't metal. We also saw one of the heads from the models made for the Gallipoli exhibition we visited. Every pour and hair was individually created on those models and he said that the hair alone on just one model took about 6 weeks to complete. 6 weeks of inserting single hairs into silicone with a needle! Unfortunately as the items are owned by the film makers we were not allowed to take photos but the company managed to negotiate with the Hobbit directors to allow tours to take photos with a model of Azog the Defiler which Nick really got into character for. Overall the tour lasted 45 minutes and it was definitely worth it. Afterwards we headed down to the South of Wellington to do a coastal walk along the bottom of the North Island. It was a slight shame that the walkway is also open for 4WD vehicles to drive along it. It would be okay if they stuck to the path but many ventured onto the beach where possible. The area had a black sand which was so thick in places that after a while we had a small beach in each of our shoes! We did have a very nice walk though and ended up walking for about 2 and a half hours before turning back. On the way we passed some naturally red coloured rocks in the sea and a small seal colony. Just after the seals there's an area of the driving track that climbs up and over a very steep open rock face. It has a huge dip in it so we heard many trucks smash and clunk and probably loose parts of their car trying to climb over it. One truck went so fast over it that it nose dived into the dip and I'm sure some of its bumper probably cracked off. It's mad that people do it but some people find it fun and if the council didn't provide an area where they could do it I imagined they'd find other areas of natural beauty to race around on instead. At least this way it's more controlled. On our way back I spotted a highlighter on the beach, a highlighter! I then decided to pick up rubbish and it wasn't long before we found a blue piece of plastic we could tie into a bag to use. By the time we'd got back to the carpark it was dark but we'd collect a whole bag full of rubbish including a nasal inhaler, ear plug, three pieces of painted wood and so much more. It did feel good to put all this rubbish in the bin so it wouldn't get washed back out to sea. We plan to buy gloves or tongs to take around with us so we can pick up more rubbish. Our new slogan is: Leave only footprints, take only photos... and rubbish!Read more

  • Day34

    Überfahrt auf die Nordinsel/Wellington

    March 28, 2017 in New Zealand

    Wir sind früh aufgestanden an unserem letzten Tag auf der Südinsel um die allerallerletzten Kilometer zur Fähre zu fahren. Die Straße ist wieder übelkeitserregend kurvig, man wird im Prinzip schon vor Betreten der Fähre seekrank :-) Am Fährhafen in Picton müssen wir recht lange warten, zumal wir ganz gegen sonstige Gewohnheiten total überpünktlich da sind und die Wohnmobile erst als letztes aufs Schiff dürfen. Dementsprechend sind die guten Plätze ganz vorne hinter der Panoramascheibe schon vergeben, aber da sich der bordeigene Spielplatz eh im Heckbereich befindet, ist das auch ok. Lea ist die komplette Überfahrt nicht davon zu trennen! Dann dampfen wir auch schon los durch den schönen Marlborough Sound; auf Wiedersehen Südinsel, es waren phänomenale drei Wochen und wir wollen unbedingt irgendwann wiederkommen!
    Die See der Cook Strait ist glücklicherweise ruhig heute, es schaukelt nur ganz wenig. (Felix wird natürlich trotzdem seekrank, aber es hält sich in Grenzen:-))
    Gefühlt im Handumdrehen sind wir im Hafen von Wellington, auch die Sonne kommt jetzt durch die Wolken. Das Abladen geht dann ganz fix und kurz hinter der Rampe treffen wir schon auf Mama, Papa und Lydi! Große Wiedersehensfreude auf allen Seiten, nur Nele ist skeptisch aufgrund der vielen Menschen, die sie am liebsten auf den Arm nehmen wollen - sie ist wirklich voll in der Fremdelphase!
    Gemeinsam fahren wir noch auf den Mount Victoria, Wellingtons berühmtesten Aussichtspunkt. Nachdem wir die Aussicht in alle Himmelsrichtungen gebührend bewundert haben, geht Lea mit ihrer Oma spielen, während sich der Rest der Mannschaft auf den steilen Abstieg zu einem weiteren LotR-Drehort begibt - die Szene mit dem schwarzen Reiter, wo sich die Hobbits unter der Baumwurzel verstecken. Die Wege sehen eigentlich überall so aus, als könnten hier gleich gruselige Kapuzengestalten auf schwarzen Pferden auftauchen. Aber nach einiger Sucherei finden wir dann auch das Hobbit Hideout, machen das obligatorische Foto und steigen wieder hinauf auf den Gipfel zum Auto. Von hier aus geht es durch den schrecklichen Stadtverkehr zur Rushhour zum Campingplatz, der in einem Industriegebiet liegt und etwas steril wirkt, aber ansonsten super in Ordnung und sehr sauber ist.
    Als wir in der Küche zusammen gekocht haben und uns grade gemütlich zusammen zum Essen hinsetzen wollen, schlurft so ein nahezu tauber Opi herein um den Fernseher auf voller Lautstärke aufzudrehen und sich im Stehen eine Quizshow anzugucken. Na wunderbar. Gerade mein Papa ist außer sich :-) Na gut, dafür aber gibt es hier eine Badewanne, was nach drei Wochen Gelegenheitsduschen eine absolute Wohltat ist.
    Jetzt schmieden wir bei Wein und Schokolade Pläne für unsere Nordinselzeit und feiern unser Wiedersehen!
    Read more

  • Day6

    LotR Part 4 Weta Caves

    December 7, 2017 in New Zealand

    Last part of the tour was the Weta Caves.
    Here they are actually creating all the prosthetics, weapons and sets for many different movies.
    We made a tour around and they told us how they actually are making all this amazing things. Sadly it was not allowed to take any pictures on the tour but outside and in the shop was a few nice sculptures 🙂
    It has been an incredible hot day today with 30 degrees so it was really, really nice to spent some time inside and away from the sun. The sun really stings and that's something I am absolutely not used to 🙈
    Tomorrow I gonna leave Wellington behind me and start to travel around. Gonna be nice to get out of the city and all the horrible traffic there.
    Read more

  • Day3


    December 4, 2017 in New Zealand

    Finally I made it to Wellington!
    After picking up my car I went to the camping place. Took me over 1h for 30 km.. Rushhour 🙈
    I just went for a fast shopping trip and the went to sleep quite early.
    Tomorrow I gonna explore Wellington.
    Weather is really good her. Around 23 degrees but quite windy what is normal actually. Wellington is also called the Windy City . 😉

  • Day79

    Lower Hutt

    January 22, 2017 in New Zealand

    Die vorletzte Etappe führt uns mal wieder an der Autobahn entlang und den letzten Berg hoch. Die Seitenstreifen waren hier aber breit genug. Leider spielte das Wetter nicht so ganz mit. Es fing leicht an zu regenen.
    Auf dem Campingplatz mussten wir den nächsten Tag auch bleiben. Bei Sturm mit 7-9 Windstärken und Regen den ganzen Tag. Eine Herrausforderung für das Zelt. Aber nachdem wir es nochmal näher an den Zaun gezogen haben waren wir gut geschützt. Der Ausflug nach Petone zum Kaffee trinken war dann eine gute Abwechslung.Read more

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