Wellington

Trip Start Nov 14, 2008
1
5
18
Trip End Mar 10, 2009


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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Tuesday, December 2, 2008

  Sunday 30th November.
Made the drive down to Wellington. It took around 6 hours but that did include some stopping for lunch etc. This road takes you past the Tongariro National park home to some of the Lord of the Rings sets. There is a really cool Volcano Mt Ruapehu here which I think may have been home to Mt Doom in the films. Journey down was a really pretty one, with the exception of the volcanoes the scenery is still very Scottish. You do get a real sense of how un-crowded this country is as there is nothing really but fields, hills, trees all the way down to Wellington. Had a mad hour towards the end of the drive playing my 80s collection; Jackie managed to get me singing "Oh Dino" to Dexys Midnight Runners rather than "Gino" knew there was something not quite right! The drive to Wellington was an easy one & finding our way to the hostel was very simple. Follow the 1 all the way into Wellington where oddly the motorway just suddenly turns into city roads! The YHA is in a superb position only a couple of streets away from the shore & less than 5 minutes walk to the City centre shops/bars etc. The supermarket is literally right across the road. We were put on the top floor in room 607 & although right beside the laundry we have an amazing view out over the bay - I really don't think I'll stay in any other hostel that has this view. Hostel is a true 5* & we have our first en suite of the trip.
I'm really impressed with Wellington, the city is based around a number of bays with lovely wooden houses all perched up the hillsides. The city isn't particularly big & it takes only 20 minutes to walk from one side to the other. I'm not sure how far the suburbs reach into the hills though. They also have a really nice ocean walkway which loads of the locals use for roller blading & running etc. Scarily quite a few people were playing on the beaches & in the water - yes its quite warm but its pretty windy here & I certainly wouldn't be in swimming. There must be an outdoor swimming club here as on all the nights we've been here there has been a group of swimsuit not wetsuit clad swimmers out swimming up & down the bay. Today has been really windy & the chop on the sea is huge - but the swimmers are still out there - mentalists!
Was pleasantly surprised to find that the supermarket across the road was selling Scottish rolls; not quite Bains or Stephens these rolls are definitely of the Scottish type and very tasty; Cant believe we can get Scottish rolls here on the other side of the world but not in England! The laundry room here has a TV & computers in it, so on Sunday night when doing the Laundry Jackie & I managed to knock back a bottle of very nice NZ Viognier (Morton) and a few bottles of beer whilst watching The Shining - class!
Monday 1st December
Yesterday we had a look around the very impressive Te Papa Museum which is very handily right across the street from the hostel. This is a new Museum and as such is set out in a really interactive way; I personally had great fun climbing in & out of a Blue Whales heart! (not a real one obviously!) They also have a Scottish exhibition which focuses on how the Scots helped shape NZ as they were the main immigrant group. Had a wee break in their very nice coffee lounge where I had quite possibly the best cup of tea I've ever had! Now it could be that I've been away now for over 2 weeks & not had a nice cup of tea in all that time that I really appreciated this particular brew but still it was enough for me to ask what blend they were using! As it happens it was loose leaf English Breakfast from a local shop called the T-Leaf. Needless to say I now have 250grams of the stuff & a tea strainer to boot.


After our cultured morning there was only one thing to do to balance that out & that was to have beer. We sat out on the patio of the General Practitioner on Willis Street & had a few quite marvelous pints of their own Monteiths Pilsner. The Kiwis certainly know how to brew a great pint of lager!Needless to say being out on the patio in summer has its hazards; thanks to my rose body wash & oil a particular bumble bee decided I must be some sort of weird flower & kept flying at me - not one to merely sit down & be attacked I decided to entertain our fellow patio guests to a traditional Scottish bee dance! The patio was also hazardous to the small stupid flys that kept landing in our pints; 2 pints later & we had found a casualty who needed assistance in sobering up. It was a truly happy moment when our little patient flew off (probably right into a bus, but never mind!)

We were recommended Great India for a curry & quite fabulous it was! There after followed a discussion as to what Liam had called his son as none of use could remember. All I could remember was that it was a bit weird & reminded me of the Devil. Jackie then came out with the genuine comment of "its not Beelzebub is it" I just about sprayed my lager all over the restaurant! 5 minutes later we had an equally absurd suggestion of "Satan?"

Tuesday 2nd December
Today we've had a very pleasant 8Km walk along one of the bays. Pleasant that was after we got the car to start - flippen flat battery! Managed though to eventually coax our wee bluebird into action so we could get on our way. The beaches on this bay were made up from very fine flat pebbles/shale which was actually quite nice to walk bare foot on - not so good with my shoes as the wee stones kept getting in through the holes & causing great discomfort. Also causing me great discomfort on the way back was Jackie as she kept taking photos of me walking like Gollum along the sand in my bare feet! As the beach was black & absorbed the heat from the sun it was really nice to lie down on the shale. Wouldn't fancy doing that when its been 30C sunshine though - I would think my skin would end up stuck the stones - nice!
Our ferry is booked for 10.35am tomorrow morning so we say goodbye to the North Island & head into the South. Weather is still great & hopefully will hold up for the only real bit of NZ that I want it to be sunny for & that is Kayaking in Abel Tasman so fingers crossed!

Wednesday 3rd December
Today we crossed the infamous Cooks Strait which can be one of the worst channels in the world when the wind/weather gets angry. Today the wind was very angry! on board you couldn't really feel the waves too badly but a trip up on deck soon let you realise how bad it was! The tides also meet just off the coast here adding to mental water - some of the waves were really quite scary looking; despite my ancestry in both the fishing industry & the Navy I really haven't inherited the sea legs! We've based ourselves in Nelson for the evening in the YHA & tomorrow we are moving a mere 20km down the road to the edge of Abel Tasman National Park. Friday/Saturday we have booked ourselves on a 2 day Sea Kayaking trip through the park which should be a great experience - updates & hopefully some great photos to follow!
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Comments

boyley
boyley on

Glad you survived the crossing!!
His name is Lucian!!! Not quite as colourful as both of your suggestions and not a name that rolls of the tongue but good grief folks 'Beelzebub'!!!!!! even Liam wouldn't...

Lord of the Rings, how exciting - you are indeed correct the volcano was indeed Mount Doom - years ago you may have seen a little Dino the dinosaur maybe jack was envisaging that rather than recounting the hit song!!

Glad you are having 5 star luxury in your penthouse suite. The views will be amazing. It scares me a bit that you who went in the sea in November in Achiltibuie is saying you wouldn't get in the sea here but others are - they must truly be mad. I loved the picture of the whale heart, its massive and you have found tea!!! I burst out laughing at the good old Scottish bee dance (ahhhhh if only we had had a summer I may have taken part in this ritual this year), no doubt many locals were also amused

Glad I wasn't there (the first time I have said that and probably the last!!) for the crossing it sounds a bit mad although I am sure the waves were quite spectacular. Enjoy the kayaking and hopefully you will have amazing weather (of the good variety of course). I'm looking forward to the tales of middle earth from both of the hobbits and a glimpse at the magnificent scenery.

ma-and-pa
ma-and-pa on

Back to your Youth?
Did Jackie join in the singing or did she put in ear plugs?....and that was before the beer!

Helen wouldn't have chichened out of the waves - just think of St Andrew's on a windy summer's day getting sand blasted when you emerge.

Fancy rescuing wee beasties from a 'watery grave' - you just delayed the inevitable - anyway you are supposed to squash them! You are obviously having a hilarious time.

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