Peppers Parehua

Without Stopping for Gas

The nearest town with a fuel station was 15 minutes north of Mangaweka, and I had insisted that we could get fuel sometime after Mangaweka. As it turned out, the next fuel station on our route to Martinborough was something like an hour away. The car had less than a quarter tank of fuel, and it would have been fine, except that we entered a particularly hilly and curvy section of road right after Mangaweka. I ended up regretting my decision not to fuel up earlier, but that was all in the past. Now, it was time to get fuel ASAP.

Once I realized that the hills were draining fuel, I started driving as efficiently as possible. It was a nerveracking time. Towards the end, the fuel meter was just sitting at zero. But at last, our little ugly car successfully rolled into the promised BP gas station. Hayden drove us the rest of the way to Martinborough with no worries.

Peppers Parehua

Martinborough is a town known for the wine trail, a road on which many wineries are located. Well, I don’t like wine, so we wouldn’t be doing any of that here. I do, on the other hand, love Peppers, which is why we had come to this little town. We’d meant for Peppers to be a retreat after the Tongariro Northern Circuit, but since that had been cancelled, it would be a retreat just because.

Peppers Parehua is a small cluster of cottages surrounded by vineyards and cows. Our room was a Garden Cottage. It was very nice. Our favorite part was the fireplace, which made lots of warm and created a homey atmosphere.

We went into Martinborough to get groceries and found that this was almost a smaller town than Ohakune. The grocery store was really weird and we had to go get meat from a butcher across the street.

For dinner, Hayden made the enchiladas that would never stop giving. I call them this because we continued to eat enchilada leftovers over the course of the three days we were there. The enchiladas weren’t quite enchiladas, though they had all the right ingredients. They just didn’t turn out right, kind of like our fried rice. The fried rice still sat abandoned in a tupperware in the fridge.

Peppers Makes Breakfast

Surprisingly, a hot buffet breakfast was included with our stay. I felt so uncertain about whether breakfast was actually Free or not, even though they had said it was “included,” which is the fancy hotel way of saying Free. Was just the continental part of the buffet Free? Did the hot breakfast cost extra?? Why did they ask me what my room number was??!

(It was, in fact, Free.)

Our cottage viewed the garden next to this lake.

That afternoon, I discovered a Scrabble board game in the cottage living room and challenged Hayden to a game.

He lost, badly.

Hayden losing



Later, we went into town to see if there were any Pokemon raids. There weren’t, but we did walk down the only street worth seeing in Martinborough. The street was full of little shops and restaurants selling overpriced things that we didn’t need. I bought a reindeer Christmas decoration.

small shop selling cute useless things

After our visit to town, I fell asleep on the couch for a very long while. During my deep sleep, Hayden wandered out the back door of the cottage and went on a photo safari in Martinborough.


When I woke up, Hayden was back. I challenged him to another game of Scrabble and he still lost badly.

More of the same

Once again, we had Free breakfast and then played our third game of Scrabble. I’d wanted to play tennis in the court there, but it started raining so we decided to just have a rainy day with board games. The fireplace set the rainy day mood. During this Scrabble game, I helped Hayden make words so that he could learn. I still won.

In the afternoon, we watched the upbeat comedy film Gattaca to lift our spirits on a rainy day.

Hayden feat. Loaf of Bread
Thor: Ragnarok



Movie Ticket

Martinborough actually has a movie theater, so we went that evening to see Thor: Ragnarok. The movie theater is actually part of a restaurant called Circus. There are only 2 theaters and they’re both pretty small, but you can order any appetizer or dessert and take it into the theater with you. Hayden and I shared a chocolate cake.

The movie was good, but during the post-credits scene (which we had waited through all the boring credits to see), a waitress came in and loudly said that she would be stopping the film right after this scene so that they could start the next movie. Had she come in a minute earlier and said that, she wouldn’t have interrupted the entirety of the very, very short scene. I felt extremely grumpy after that but still too lazy to leave a bad review online.

random scenery on way home

That evening, we made basalmic chicken skillet again, this time with a side of the abandoned fried rice that no one really wanted.

To Wellington

We ate our scrumptious FREE hot breakfast again, packed our bags, and checked out. Our destination was Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, and our last stop before flying out to the south island.

The Hall Report

Let’s just call it what it is. Hotel Reviews with RAB has been overhauled by the more popular Hall Report, which was often quoted by RAB in any case. We’re just giving the people what they want.

I’m pretty backlogged on hotel reviews, so here we go.

Rotorua Airbnb: “Warm and Cozy Thermal Unit”

It smelled like sulfur [in Rotorua]. I liked that they had a kitchen and a heater. It was nothing special, but it did the job. When you turn the shower off, it sprays you with cold water for a second. 😦

Taumarunui Canoe Hire: Backpacker Room

It was fantastic value, wasn’t it? Wasn’t it really cheap? And it was a rainy day. It was like staying in a cozy place during a rainy day. The pizza was bad but we were hungry. But the pizza wasn’t from the room.

Ohakune Airbnb: Vincents Barn

I thought we already reviewed Vincents Barn. I already told you about how much I liked it. Okay, well, it looked like the family could have built it themselves. It had very unique shape and lots of character. I really liked the chickens that roamed the area and the gorgeous views of the farmland and mountains. The kitchen was well-equipped, although we didn’t use the vegetable steamer. The house wasn’t very well insulated, so we had to turn on the heater throughout the night. There was a fireplace, but we didn’t really need it.

YHA Taupo Finlay Jack’s Backpackers

Great location and kitchen facilities. Period. The end.

Mangaweka Airbnb: Black Weka

Why haven’t you just been putting the Hall Report at the end [of each blog post]? This seems like the editor’s mistake. 😡


It was a huge surprise to discover Black Weka. No, that’s weird. No!! Finding it was quite difficult because we were creeped out by the town and it looked abandoned. But the inside was decorated very thoughtfully and luxuriously. It was probably the largest Airbnb we’ve stayed at. So many rooms to explore.


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