A call from our daughter, holidaying with family in Wellington, helped us decide to join them and head home via New Plymouth. Not too different from our original plan, before eagerness to sleep in our own bed took over.
The prime attraction of visiting New Plymouth is always to call at Pukeiti Gardens where the ashes of many of my husband’s family have been placed. It is a beautiful, peaceful place on the side of Mount Taranaki (Egmont).
On this visit, we discovered going in the evening let us feel like we had the whole 26 hectares to ourselves. Judging by the lack of any other vehicles in the car park, we probably did. We wandered for ages, although not anywhere near the 20 odd kilometres of tracks. Unfortunately we were too late in the year for the mass display of rhododendrons the garden is famous for.
Pukakura Park Lights
Our grandchildren were keen to see the lights at Pukakura Park in New Plymouth itself. So once darkness began to fall, off we walked, due to the unlikelihood of finding car parking close to the park. The park is a big area and I have to admit to not seeing all the lighting displays shown on their website, but it was still well worth keeping the kids out of bed long enough to see.
From New Plymouth to home is about a five hour drive, the longest “day” on the road that we have had. But we relished the thought of being home. We have had a wonderful six weeks break. The weather has been amazingly kind to us. Our old car preformed beautifully for the whole 5,743km journey. And this holiday cost us significantly less than many of our jaunts.
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Although I think the decision has already been made that next time we’ll fly south and visit what we missed in a rental car.
Other than time spent with family and friends in Southland – which will always be number one with me, what was the highlight of our trip? Time spent with Jet in Westport. We’ll definitely be returning to Westport. After all, I’m going to need more research for the story I’m going to write.