2021 felt like an extension to 2020, with the New Zealand borders closed, other than a relatively short lived bubble with Australia and the Cook Islands. Living in Wellington I was was lucky to be in a Covid-free place for nearly the whole year and able to freely travel, other than to Auckland which entered a lengthy lockdown in August. I’ve already visited much of the country, but was happy to make repeat visits to some of my favourite places, and discover a few new places near Wellington. Hikes are covered in a separate post.
New Plymouth, January
A day in the city after completing the Around Mt Taranaki Circuit, exploring some old favourites, and visiting the slightly underwhelming Len Lye Centre (great building though) for the first time.
A day trip from Wellington to walk to the Putangirua Pinnacles, followed by a trip to Lake Ferry and the epic coastline at the southern end of the Wairarapa.
Another day trip to one of the more underrated and stunning parts of the Wellington region when the sun is shining and wind absent.
Waitārere Beach, February
First weekend away to the Kapiti Coast, somewhere I’d never visited before I moved to Wellington last year. There are many small coastal communities only a couple of hours drive from Wellington, which make for excellent weekend breaks.
Kaiapoi, Christchurch, March
A pleasant riverside spot explored on a Sunday morning as an escape from a weekend conference I attended. The flight back to Wellington along the coast of the South Island was particularly scenic.
A great week back to my home for a decade, returning to my favourite places – Tiritiri Matangi, Devonport, Rangitoto, the waterfront, Auckland War Memorial Museum, and Auckland Art Gallery.
Amberley / Christchurch, April
A better than expected long weekend after a last minute change of plans. Around Amberley was a new part of northern Canterbury for me, with stunning scenery and much better weather than where I had planned to be hiking. A day trip to Christchurch’s Godley Head made me realise that it isn’t just a flat city on a river.
A very wet long weekend away, with the highlight being Brooks Waimarama Sanctuary, the Nelson version of Zealandia.
Te Horo Beach, July
A return to the Kapiti Coast, exploring many of the beautiful beaches along the coastline.
Matiu / Somes Island, August
The third time I’ve visited this history packed island in the middle of Wellington Harbour, but first time I’ve stayed overnight in one of the DOC baches available for hire. It’s pretty magical having an entire island pretty much to yourself.
A long weekend down south to stretch the legs on day walks (covered in the hiking post), but there’s quite stunning scenery without having to walk far, as shown…
West Coast, October
A mostly excellent ten day trip to one of the more remote parts of the country, with surprisingly good weather for seven days. The highlight was probably the four nights spent at Franz Josef Glacier exploring glacier country in rain and sun.
Lower South Island, December
No photos yet as I’ve just started this two week trip around the bottom of the South Island, from Te Anau across to Dunedin, with a mix of hiking and sightseeing. Hopefully it won’t be too impacted by the inevitable spread of Covid from Auckland when the city borders opened a couple of weeks ago…