Last weekend, with nice weather on the horizon for the first time in a month (and minimal wind – score!), I thought it would be the perfect time to take a little road trip along the coast to Cape Palliser.
With everything opposite to what I’m used to and not being an avid driver to begin with, it was a perfect opportunity to start getting comfortable driving on the left side of the road.
It was necessary to learn all the Kiwi road signage, including getting used to kilometers instead of miles, and liters instead of gallons, before I take off on my South Island road trip in month. I’m becoming Kiwi-fied, slowly but surely.
Just a 2.5 hour drive from Wellington, Cape Palliser is a beautiful day trip if you love rugged coastal views, seals, black sand beaches, and lighthouses.
The famous lighthouse’s roots go all the way back to 1897, and still stands in seemingly perfect condition on a big hill you can see from a mile away. Lonely Planet even named Cape Palliser in the top 10 flashiest lighthouses in the world. Clearly, it has stood the trials of time.
There are 254 steps to get up to the lighthouse from the base. Steps always have a way of reminding me how out of shape I am, but the dramatic views at the top were definitely worth the struggle.
We gleefully came across all of the fur seals dotted along the coast on the drive back, they were just chilling out in the sunshine with the salty sea breeze as their canopy. I found out afterwards that it’s actually the biggest fur seal colony on the North Island.
It was a beautiful day in the Wellington region, and it was great to finally explore an area that’s inaccessible without a car, but still such a short drive from the city, and to test out my Kiwi driving skills for my big travels coming up.
Have you ever been to Cape Palliser? What are your favorite day trips from Wellington?