Wellington Walks: Whitireia Park

Another weekend, another walk. This time we decided to check out Whitireia Park located in Porirua, a 30 minute drive from Wellington city. Daniel must have picked this walk with me in mind because it was pretty damn short and easy. There were hardly any hills to walk up.

The beginning of the walk at Whitireia Park.

Although you would hardly notice, the path is shared with cyclists, pedestrians, and four-legged friends. One thing I love is that the trails in Wellington never seem to be filled with people. There is the occasional mountain biker zooming around the corner, but that’s usually it. Nice and quiet.

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Wellington Walks: City to Sea Walkway

With a week off work, I decided to do a few walks by myself. So on a hot, calm day I headed out to walk Wellington’s City to Sea Walkway.

The walk is appropriately named starting off near Wellington’s downtown area and twisting through various city parks, then over hills for 12km to the sea.

Despite traveling through plenty of them, this trail was no walk in the park. Constantly climbing up and down Wellington’s many hills for its duration – leaving me sweaty and dehydrated.

The first climb went through the Botanical Gardens ending at this typical view from Wellington’s cable car.

The Wellington, New Zealand cable car.
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Wellington Walks: Kapiti Island

Kapiti Island seen from the mainland of New Zealand.

Since it was Jamie’s birthday and the weather was starting to get a little nicer, we got up early one Sunday for a trip to Kapiti Island.

The island is around an hour north of Wellington by car and only accessible by boat.  Thankfully it’s only about 5km from the shore, so the boat crossing takes just 10 minutes. Consequently it’s so close that it’s hard to take a good photo of. I imagine the island is most well known in New Zealand for the ice cream bearing its name and its very distinctive outline!

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Wellington Walks: Red Rocks Walkway

“There will be seals,” Daniel said.

If he can’t bribe me with food to come along on the walks, animals in the wild are the next best thing. (Except if it’s a gang of cows, of course.) The Red Rocks Reserve is a walk that goes along the rugged Wellington coast from Owhiro Bay, which is located in the southern part of Wellington.
Rugged coastline at the Red Rocks Reserve walkway.

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Wellington Walks: Skyline Track to Mount Kaukau

I’m not going to lie: I’m out of shape. The twenty-six set of stairs it takes to get from the car parked onto the street to our flat, and I’m out of breath. Needless to say, this walk didn’t start out too well for me. The first 15 minutes of it, and I was instantly reminded to how I felt climbing : I was ready to quit. Though it wasn’t as grueling as that hike in British Columbia, the initial climb started out with stairs.

And plenty of them.

Hiking to the radio tower on Mount Kaukau.

I’m bringing back the tie-your-sweatshirt-around-your-waist-look.

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Wellington Walks: Makara Walkway

Something we really love about Wellington is that within a 10 minute drive of the city, you can be in the countryside. This was a walk we did at Makara Beach. Around a 25 minute drive from the city hidden over the hills.

The coast along the Makara Walkway.

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Tipping Etiquette in America

A tip jar at a restaurant.

When I was a server eons ago, I always dreaded when I would have a table full of foreigners. They’d ask for their check, and leave a measly amount for a tip. No matter how enthusiastic or helpful I was.

But I know that tipping is often a foreign concept to visitors in America. It’s understandable that it’s super confusing: who to tip, when to tip, where to tip, what to tip, and even why to tip.

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Arguments For and Against Traveling Light

backpackers in silhouette

After my previous post about Competitive Travel Packing, you may have assumed that I don’t have the most positive views when it comes to traveling light.

Funnily enough, I actually prefer it. For years now I’ve been happily enjoying countries with nothing but my 38 liter pack strapped to my back and barely enough underwear to last me a week.

What I take contention to is the people who have turned bag packing into a sport. These people have large sets of rules and anybody that fails to follow them is an amateur and condescended to.

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Tips for Driving Across America With a Pet

Girl in a car with two cats.

I have had to drive across America with two cats in tow twice. It was no easy feat, yet probably more manageable than having two three-year-old kids in tow. The first time was by myself when I was finally leaving Florida to go to Oregon. The second time was with Daniel going the other way around. Oddly enough, the latter ended up being more stressful.

Since you want to make this road trip as smoothly as possible, it’s important to consider a few things. After all, you don’t want the animals to hate you by the end of the trip.

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Other Things to do in Tampa Bay, Florida (Besides Going to Theme Parks)

The Dunedin Causeway Beach in Dunedin, Florida.

Florida residents like to brag, “I live where you vacation.” These are usually transplants who come from other states. When you grow up in the Sunshine State, you might have other feelings toward the place. Perhaps even feel ill toward it. You start counting down the days until you can finally escape the horrible weather and elderly drivers.

Strangely enough though, when you haven’t been back to a place in so long is the moment you start to appreciate it. Since I no longer live in Florida, I can look back at my home state with my rose-tinted glasses on that a tourist (or those transplants) so often wear.

With my glasses on, I’ve decided to make a list of the nine things I’d tell a visitor to do (that isn’t a theme park) if they were visiting the place I once called home: Tampa Bay, Florida.

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