I realise I’ve become a little tardy in updating my blog – that’s what travelling does! Yes I was in Wellington a couple of weeks ago now, but it’s never too late to post about it.
After a rushed drive from Hamilton (where I stayed overnight with a friend I met in Jordan) to Wellington – I drove the lot in a day – I arrived in Wellington tired and hungry. It was lovely to be welcomed by familiar faces (Jess and Jeremy had travelled down to visit his parents) and to have some yummy dinner saved for me 🙂
I decided to drive from Hamilton to Wellington in a day because the weather was completely AWFUL. My views of the stunning Lake Taupo were grey, misty and drizzly. Although I did make time to explore some of the hot springs in Rotorua and enjoy a free dip in a hot spring pool! In the end it was much better to drive all the way to a place I was guaranteed a proper bed and friends for the night – rather than a damp and soggy one in my car! And plus, I’ll definitely be visiting these places again some day – and hopefully then I’ll be able to see them!
Wellington is a fabulous and trendy city with quirky coffee shops and loads of things to do on a wet or very windy day. Te Papa, the national museum, houses fantastic exhibitions on New Zealand, Maori and natural history. You can read the Waitangi Treaty and learn about the frictions it caused, view a colossal (and decaying) squid, and explore the beginnings of immigration to New Zealand with the first British and European settlers. There’s also a very interesting new exhibition all about the 75 years of Air New Zealand. In a nutshell, this museum it well worth a visit, you can easily while away half a day exploring the 4 floors – and it’s completely free!
Another ‘must-do’ whilst in Wellington is ride the Wellington Cable Car (or funicular as I know it) – a leisurely 5 minute ride that takes you up 120 metres to a botanic garden overlooking the city. Instead of paying for a return, I paid the $4 trip up and walked back to the city through the beautiful garden. This was a fascinating walk through various trees, flowers and also cemeteries that house the remains of the first settlers.
Mount Victoria is also worth climbing or driving up for stunning 360° views over Wellington. It was rather windy and cloudy when I went up but still enjoyed great views! Here’s a picture of Jess and I on the summit;
Whilst I was in Wellington the weather wasn’t great, there was rain, wind and very choppy seas – my boat to Picton was cancelled and then delayed – but I finally made it 2 days later than originally planned. But no matter, I was staying with an amazing family (parents of Jess’s husband) who were more than happy to have me. I cherished the time sitting in the dining room overlooking Island Bay, whilst catching up on some blog posts and editing pictures! And evenings spent by the fire watching The Good Life – what bliss! I am very, very thankful for the friend I have in Jess and the amazing people I’ve met through her – it’s simply fantastic to have connections in countries so far away from home!
The couple I stayed with took me on a day trip to Castle Rock – a beautiful 3 hour drive to the East Coast. It was incredibly windy walking up to the lookout over the bay, but the perilous walk up was rewarded with stunning views of the lighthouse and surrounding areas.
Such a fantastic day to an incredible place. The wind was like nothing I’ve ever experienced though – at one point when walking up to the lighthouse, I was holding on so tight to the railing and could barely move for fear of falling into the roaring sea below!
And so my stay on the North Island (for now) came to an end – I feel so blessed to have stayed with some great people and to have felt a part of a Kiwi family for a few weeks. The North Island is full of surprises, there’s great scenery, fantastic beaches and friendly people, and I can’t wait to come back. But for now… it’s onto the South!