▨ Jamie McHale

November 2019

Wellington, Wanaka, Melbourne, Waikaremoana

November was the first month of my third New Zealand adventure (with a mini-Melbourne break halfway through).

I spent time in Wellington, Golden Bay, Wanaka, Melbourne, Hawkes Bay and Bay of Plenty.


I spent the first week or so in Wellington visiting my brother and my new niece. In-between family-time I managed a few good runs.

The Southern Walkway extends from Oriental Bay near the city, to the coast at the south. Clocking in at around 10km it traverses Mount Victoria, and a further set of hills.

It was a great day run, and well worth running or hiking if you are visiting the city. I took a short YouTube video of the trip.

I also took a video of my usual running route between Oriental Bay and Evans Bay:

I visited Zealandia again. It’s a refuge for native plant and animal species located near the city. You can see a few more photos on my Zealandia 2019 journal entry.

A HiHi at Zealandia

Golden Bay

I spent a few days in Golden Bay with my extended family. The coast drive over to Nelson and beyond to Golden Bay was great, with misty weather at the end of the road.

I used my Osmo Pocket to take a timelapse of the Marlborough Sounds part of the Cook Strait ferry from Picton to Wellington:

Read the full journal entry on my Golden Bay trip


Harriet managed to come out to this side of the world for a fortnight, which was very welcome! We spent the first week visiting her brother in Wanaka.

I recommend Ode Wanaka for food. We had a really fantastic night there, with a great locally-sourced organic set menu. There are options for meat-eaters and vegans. It was well worth it.

Second recommendation is Kika. They don’t take bookings, and do a “just feed me” menu. Perfect for sharing or groups.

We hiked for a few hours on the Timaru River Track. It’s accessible from a gravel road on the east shore of Lake Hawae. We walked the high trail for a few hours out and back.

We also visited Bendigo Ghost Town, in between Wanaka and Cromwell. It was strange to see the old abandoned buildings, imagining the life that people once had there. The views from the walk down the valley were spectacular.

We stopped in at several vineyards for tastings. And no tourist trip to Wanaka would be complete without a photo at that Wanaka tree.

The Wanaka Tree


After Wanaka we took a city-break to Melbourne. We found a nice Airbnb with a balcony in Fitzroy.

View from our Airbnb

I managed to get out on a couple of quick runs around the main parks in the area. Here is a quick video:

One of the highlights of the trip was the Yarra Valley Wine tour by Vinetrekker. Good food and drink, and very hot conditions.

I’ve never learned much about wine before, so it was good to start developing my palate. After a day full of wine I needed something fresh, so we tried Little Hop for tacos, which I thoroughly recommend.

I managed to catch up with Ruairidh, a good friend from University, who moved out to Melbourne several years ago. I joined his family run at Altona Beach Parkrun:

I was glad to have spent a little more time in Melbourne. I’ve only spent two days there on a previous trip, as a stopover on the way home, but I was too exhausted to really appreicate the city. I strongly recommend the NGV Gallery.

Sunset over Melbourne

Hawkes Bay, Bay of Plenty and Lake Waikaremoana

The last week of November I took a trip to the East of North Island. The first stop was a quick night in Ektahuna. There didn’t seem to be a lot going on there (the Airbnb was peaceful!), but it was a useful stop on the drive north.

The only thing in Ektahuna

The next port of call was Wairoa. A nice town near the coast between Napier and Gisborne. I recommend lunch at the East End Cafe and Bar.

Wairoa Lighthouse

Next on the agenda was Lake Waikaremoana, where we did the Great Walk. I filmed the hike on my DJI Osmo Pocket, which you see on my Lake Waikaremoana journal entry.

What a packed month! It’s flown by though. December includes: Bay of Plenty, East Cape, an overnighter on the Paparoa Track, and five days walking the Old Ghost Road. It’ll finish up with Christmas in Wellington, before returning to Edinburgh to bring in the new year.