Up early and drove to L’Arte Café for breakfast. Great café/gallery with amazing garden and art. Food was terrific, a bit pricey but worth it. Left Taupo about 10:30am and had a splendid drive through varying landscape. Intense yellow gorse interspersed with green hills and blue skies. Manicured shoulders on the roads. On Desert Road section of SH1 it’s very dry with subtle coloring. Saw both big volcanoes Mt. Tongariro which erupted yesterday and Mt. Ngauruhoe. Arrived in Wellington about 5pm. Feels like Seattle but no rain.
We stayed at Downtown Backpackers on a busy city corner with lots of activity on a Friday night. It was an early night for us after a long drive. This is a really busy place with people coming and going all hours of the day and night but it was surprisingly quiet in our room.
Downtown Backpackers. Down by the ferry terminal. Friendliness–Efficient and helpful; Community–all ages; Room– Clean double bed en suite; Kitchen–Huge, well equipped, well used, big walk-in fridge; Facilities–tv room, big common room for eating & hanging out, café with reasonable prices, no parking but after 8pm Fri. night can park free on the street. Well thought-out for high volume use; Neighborhood–Upscale downtown, plenty of places to walk to, New Market, walk to the ferries, good location.