Although Wales missed out on the tournament's bronze medal, beaten 21-18 by Australia at Eden Park on Friday, a fourth-placed finish underpinned what has proved an eye-catching contribution towards the competition.
The three games Wales lost - against Australia, South Africa and France - were by a combined total of just five points, while victories over Ireland, Samoa, Fiji and Namibia were achieved in impressive fashion.
But perhaps most importantly of all, Wales paraded an exciting new generation on the World Cup stage, players like Halfpenny, skipper Sam Warburton, wing George North, flanker Dan Lydiate and number eight Toby Faletau.
Wales face a Millennium Stadium rematch against Australia in Cardiff on December 3, before heading into an RBS 6 Nations campaign that should see them installed as favourites to lift a first title since the 2008 Grand Slam campaign.
"The future does look promising with a lot of excellent players coming through. It is proof the academy system we have got in Wales is working," full-back Halfpenny said.
"A number of the youngsters have really grown up on this tour and during the four months we have been together. They have been a joy to be with - they have brought this team together.
"I think Welsh rugby is in a good place, and we are going home to a proud nation.
"The same amount of hard work has got to go in again for the Six Nations.
"It is important the boys go away from here and keep up the hard work, so when we come together for the Six Nations we are all ready to go."
Halfpenny, though, mirrored disappointment in the Wales camp that they could not secure a top-three World Cup finish.
Such a feat would have been dismissed by many outside the squad as fanciful only a few months ago, but Wales proved comfortably the best of British and Irish at this tournament.
"Our directive was to come here, be serious contenders and win it," he added.
"I guess we will look back in time and probably pick it out as one of the massive highlights of our careers.
"It is special to have been part of it. I have loved every second of it, the rollercoaster of emotions we have endured.
"There has been a massive high one week and a massive low the next, and you just have to pick yourself up, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
"I suppose, when I look back in time, I will be massively proud.
"We are disappointed to have finished fourth. Last week, against France, we had our opportunity to secure a place in tomorrow's final, which we didn't take.
"And it was the same old story against Australia. We had opportunities to win the game, but we didn't take them, and that is so frustrating because we know how hard we have all worked to get here.
"We all had the same objective - to win the World Cup - but we have not done that."
Wales were again left to reflect on missed goal-kicks as a major reason for why they lost a game.
Halfpenny, James Hook and Stephen Jones failed with four shots at goal between them against semi-final opponents France, while Hook and Halfpenny spurned three opportunities against Australia.
"International rugby is about taking every point you can get and making your goal-kicks," Halfpenny said.
"I am massively disappointed to have missed two kicks I should have nailed in two important games. I know I should have kicked them, and I'm hugely annoyed with myself.
"As a kicker, you can't complain about the ball - it is the same for every kicker at the World Cup. It's about the individual, and I have only got myself to blame.
"I just didn't execute those penalties to the best of my ability. Every time you make an attempt, you have got to execute.
"Goalkicking is a big part of my game. The ones I've missed I kick consistently in training, so it has been massively frustrating for me I have not done it in matches."
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