Wednesday, 18 October 2017

One Day in Wellington, New Zealand's Capital.

When I was looking at flights to Dunedin in New Zealand, I discovered there were no direct flights from Sydney. And so I had to choose between a stopover in Wellington or Christchurch. If you've been reading here a while you'll already know my love for taking advantage of stopovers and checking out an extra city, and so with a friend from Sydney living in Wellington, that's the one I chose. And boy, did it live up to its name as Windy Wellington!

I landed 11pm on the Thursday evening and jumped in a taxi to AJ's place just a short 10minute drive away. It was strange, but as the taxi winded its way along the narrow road, the first thought that came to my mind was England. I already knew that New Zealand was pretty similar in topography to the United Kingdom, but I wasn't completely prepared for how it would actually 'feel' like the United Kingdom. 

Anyway, the taxi driver and I couldn't find the right house in the dark, and it was bloody freezing so I didn't want to get out and search for the right one. So after a quick text AJ came out to find me, and after a warm reunion hug in the freezing cold he carried my bags inside and got me set up. I was NOT impressed when he told me he was setting an alarm for 5:30am...the conversation literally went like this;

Him: "I'm just gonna set an alarm for 5:30am"
Me: "Excuse me, what?"
Him: "Well you have hardly any time here, we need to get out early to make the most of the day!"
Me: "No way! I need sleep to be able to function!! I can't wait up at 5:30!"
Him: "How else are you gonna see everything though?"
Me: "NO! It'll still be dark, I am not waking up before 8am."
Him: *gives me a side-eye 'you're an idiot' look* "I'm just joking..."

So after a blissful sleep all wrapped up in the warm blankets, I awoke at a more respectable 9am. The weather looked a bit rubbish, it was drizzling with thick black clouds, but I wasn't sure whether to wear a raincoat or not. So I grabbed my umbrella and heard laughter behind me..."What's wrong with an umbrella? It's drizzling out!", "Walk outside and you'll realize why literally no one in Wellington owns an umbrella. It becomes instantly useless". I walked outside, and I realized why no one in Wellington owns an umbrella as I became blinded by my hair whipping across my face.

Once I'd accepted the fact I'd just have to get wet if it rained, we set off for the day. AJ lives in Newtown, which - similar to Sydney's Newtown - is very trendy and bohemian. We walked into the city, and I basically spent the entire 30min walk excitedly exclaiming 'We have that shop in Australia!!'. That coupled with my excited exclamations later in the day of "We have that plant/tree in England!" I'm pretty sure AJ was glad to see the back of me when I left for the airport at 6pm.

But I digress, excited exclamations aside, I loved how chilled out Wellington was and how safe it felt. We walked via the Anzac memorial and I learnt how the memorial is supposed to depict Australian rocks, but they couldn't source rocks from Australia so they're actually rocks from India instead.

We then headed down to Cuba Street to find somewhere for brunch. After a couple of weeks of no carbs, we walked past a bagel shop and my mind was made up. Apparently Best Ugly Bagel is a New Zealand chain with cafes in Wellington and Auckland, and oh my days you guys. Their bagel menu was insane, and I had the most amazing bagel with smashed avo, tomatoes, and bacon!

After our bagels we then walked down the street to Scopa Caffe Cucina, where I was promised I would have the best hot chocolate in New Zealand. And BOY did I have the best hot choc in New Zealand (and Australia)! It was rich, creamy, and tasted just like the hot chocolates you get in Paris. Basically it tasted just like melted chocolate. It was amaze and I secretly wished I'd gotten a large.

Suitably filled from the treat of bagels and hot chocolate, we then continued our walk down Cuba Street towards the quay. Apparently the decking overlooking The Boatshed is supposed to look like two whales, but I couldn't see it personally, which offended AJ greatly and I was given a jaw-drop expression when I stared at it and then retorted that it looked more like a ship than two whales.

Whales aside, I experienced an even windier part of Wellington down by the water. The Waterfront has a stunning view over Wellington Harbour, and I'd heard something about a statue from one of my other Wellington friends (I *think* it was Emma), so we wandered over to it.

After saying hello to the naked man statue, AJ photobombing every photo I tried to take of the naked man statue, and then me trying to pose awkwardly in an awkward shaped 'WOW' sign, we decided to escape the wind inside the Te Papa museum.

Because we didn't have a lot of time we decided to just look at the first floor, however what I didn't know is that New Zealand have an obsession with wax models in museums. Not only did Te Papa have wax models in the museum, they had GIANT wax models. For those of you who don't know, I have a major phobia of wax models/mannequins.

So with me skirting around the rooms trying to avoid making eye contact with the wax models while my skin prickled from nervousness, and AJ laughing at me rather than helping to shield me from them, I didn't really learn much from the museum. However, I did get to experience an 'Earthquake experience', and see the famous Giant Squid that was found in Antarctica, and is now preserved in the Te Papa museum.

After Te Papa we walked down to Oriental Beach via the beach huts, and when the drizzle started we jumped on the bus to go up to Mount Victoria lookout.

At Mount Victoria the wind was INSANE. As you can see from the below photos...

We decided it would be a great idea to walk down from the lookout, got slightly lost in the woods, but there was a slide in the woods that was great fun sliding down pretending we were kids! The woods looks exactly like the woods back home near my house in England, so I was excitedly exclaiming that every plant, tree, and leaf looked familiar.

Finally we stumbled across Wellington College and found our way out to the main road, where we decided to catch a bus back to AJ's. We were getting a bit peckish by this point and after trying to decide whether to get meat pies from the bakery or fish and chips, we ended up with fish and chips. Which I was *very* happy about. I was even happier to discover that they did pineapple fritters, and even more happy that it was the best fish and chips I'd had in a long time (Sydney isn't great at a good fish and chips)!

After chilling out for a bit and watching a movie while eating our fish and chips, it was time for me to head to the airport. At the airport I was mightily impressed with the Hobbit and Lord of The Rings sculptures throughout the airport, from Smaug the dragon in the check-in hall to Gandalf on a dragon in departures!

I had such an awesome day in Wellington, even though it was short and I didn't have a lot of time, I got a good feel for this cool little capital city, and learnt loads about New Zealand. AJ was a brilliant tour guide and told me all about the history and why there are no native mammals on New Zealand, just heaps of birds.

So, Wellington down, it was now time to head to Dunedin for #CatchUpsWithNZFriendsTakeTwo.
But more about Dunedin next week!


PIN FOR LATER: One day in Wellington, New Zealand's Capital City. Known as 'Windy Welly', I definitely found out just how windy it is on my visit. Perfect for a stopover, you can see most of the city within a day, including Mount Victoria, Oriental Beach, Cuba Street, and the museums!

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  1. Ahahaha those windswept-hair photos are like a poem! I don't even remember if I've been to Wellington (it must've been over 15 years ago) but if I do, I'll be sure to braid my hair 🤣

    20 Days, 20 Cities, 6 Countries - Dubrovnik, Croatia - Posh, Broke, & Bored

  2. I really enjoyed watching your insta stories on this trip C. It's on my bucket list. xx

  3. Travel w/ Penelope&Parker04/11/2017, 11:34

    What a great stop over - i'd love to go to Wellington! I really love the windy photos - the fun stuff!


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