No more driving! I will walk Wellington!

February 27 and 28, 2014

There’s not much to say about the 27th.  I was in Masterton overnight, on my way back to Wellington.

Wind farm just outside of Masterton.

Wind farm just outside of Masterton.

I had originally planned on heading out to Castle Point and then down to Cape Palliser but my car Rental Agreement was for me to hand in the car at 430pm that day, so that actually didn’t give me much time to see and enjoy the sights.  So I had to pick.  Castle Point or Cape Palliser.  I couldn’t pick.  So I headed out to Castle Point, or at least 1/4 of the way before doubts popped up, and the state of the road (narrow and unmarked, but sealed) and I turned around and headed towards Cape Palliser.  I was making good time too.  Masterton is not that far from Wellington, about an hour and half, two hours if you search for a place for coffee (second breakfast) or if your GPS goes insane again.  I will be so happy to get rid of the GPS.  Loved the car.  Makes me think about getting a Toyota when my own little car gives up on me.  So off to Cape Palliser, until my GPS made an interesting bling and then a screen popped up.  There was a traffic incident on SH1.  Hmmm.  That is interesting.  I’ve never had any GPS do that before.  So I actually pulled over and read the message.  It didn’t really say anything except that traffic was almost at a stand still.  So I pressed the button that said avoid.  But I had a funny feeling that Cape Palliser was no longer on the schedule.  So I changed my final destination.  I would head straight for Wellington and just enjoy the city some more.  Cape Palliser would be on my list for my next visit.  And trust me, I will be back.

Upon arrival into the city, I returned to Weta Cave, yes, again.  But hey, once a LOTR/Hobbit fan, always a LOTR/Hobbit fan.  You never know if something new has popped up, since being away for two days.  Nothing new popped up.  But it was still nice to admire the statues from all the different scenes from the movie.  Again I returned to the Roxy Theatre to their cafe.  While there, I discovered some photos on the wall that I had never seen before.  Photos of the Hobbit actors, probably attending a showing of the Hobbit.  This one is my favourite photo.

William Kircher and Richard Armitage

William Kircher and Richard Armitage

I could’ve ordered several more chai lattes just to look at this picture, but it was time to go.  I headed back into the city to check in.  GPS, I shall hold my tongue this one last time.  I am so close to getting rid of you.  I just need you to get me to my hotel.  Yes, that’s right.  Hotel.  I plan on living it up this time for my final two days in the capital city.  I am staying at the Bolton Hotel to end my holiday.  Technically it’s not the end, I still have to get to Auckland, but this is Wellington.  Leaving Wellington might as well signal the end of my holiday.  After almost six weeks of hostels, The Bolton was posh.  It was in a pretty good location, about 5 minutes from the Railway Station, which is pretty good considering that the Downtown Backpackers Hostel that I stayed in last time I was here was just across the street from the Railway station.

Finally, after check-in, I could get rid of the car.  Until the guy at the Apex said I was dropping it off one day early.  WHAAAA?  Then I remembered that I had booked an extra day back in Vancouver thinking I might need it.  Well, by this time I was so ready to get rid of the car and the GPS that I didn’t care.  I told him that I was done with the car, more specifically the GPS.  The car was great.  But since I was now back in the city, I had no intentions of leaving the city again in the next 24 hours and I was perfectly happy walking around rather than driving.  So I handed him the key a day early.  And then hopped right back into the car but this time into the passenger seat so that they could drive me back to the hotel.

Hurray!  I was back to relying on my own two feet and my own internal GPS, and the Google Maps App on my iPhone.

The first stop after settling in?  Lambton Quay, on my way towards Cuba Street and then Courtenay Place for dinner at Strawberry Fare.  Now Lambton Quay is not actually a place, but a street.  But there are lots of shops and arcades on this street.  It is a shoppers heaven.  I wasn’t really out to shop, but just browse.  After repacking my bags several times, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot buy anything more.  I have reached my weight limit and really, there is nothing left to buy.  I have gotten everything I need for family.  Z and Z, B and N, you kids are covered.  Sisters, you are covered.  Mom is covered.  Brother-in-laws, you’ll have to live vicariously through the Sisters, unless you want key-chains.  It was now just all about strolling and seeing.  In Wellington there is a lot public art as in sculptures located along the wharf and throughout the city.  As I headed walked along the streets, it was interesting to see collapsed roman columns in front of a building…interesting art.  There is the iconic piece, the silver metal ball that is strung up so that from certain angles it looks like it’s just floating above the square.  Pretty cool.IMG_2627

I believe there is actually a self-guided walk that you can do to see these sculptures.  However I got distracted by a yarn shop.  In the Grand Arcade on Willis Street, is the new Holland Road Yarn Company.  I had heard about this new location from Kiwiyarns Knits and I was very happy because that meant I wouldn’t have to drive out to Petone to their original store.  However when I got there, it was a tad bit empty.  It was a large store, perhaps too large for the amount of stuff they were carrying.  Maybe if they threw in some comfy sofas for people to lounge around with their projects, then it will feel more welcoming and less sterile.  The products that they were carrying was nice stuff.  I thought I would actually walk away with some New Zealand made wool, lace weight, however they were one one skein short of what I needed for the project that I had in mind.  Curses!  So close.  SO CLOSE!  I ended up walking away with two skeins of Made in Peru lace weight yarn, in a lovely grey/slate/ash colour.  Misty Alpaca is on the label.  I don’t know if that’s a brand or not.  It’s not made in New Zealand but it was purchased in New Zealand.  Close enough.  They also had the Stansborough wool as well, but not lace weight.  Oh well.IMG_2625

Onwards, to Cuba Street.  I’ve been here before.  Just off Cuba Street on Left Bank there is a Knit World that I had been to and gotten some cute dolly patterns.  After browsing through their patterns I headed off towards Courtenay Place and Strawberry Fare.  Last time I tried to go there with Deanna, they weren’t open till 5pm.  Which was cutting it close because we had a movie at 5:45.  So this time, I was on my own and had a their chicken and mushroom penne and the Lemon Chocolate Cheesecake.  Delicious.IMG_2606Of course I had to work off this indulgence so I walked along the wharf and browsed the open stalls.  On thursdays in the summer, until sunset, there is Salsa dancing on the wharf.  Pretty cool.

The next morning, I slept in.  It was so nice.  The only thing I had on the agenda was to finish Te Papa.  I had gone to see it on the Monday but only saw the second floor.  This time I would have the whole day to see the rest.  I didn’t think I’d actually take up the entire day to see this museum, but I was wrong.  Perhaps that explains why there are two cafes in this museum, one on the ground level and one on the 4th level.  This is a fantastic museum.  There is so much to see and do here.  And my most favourite part of the museum?  NO, not the kids store with the Hobbit stuff, but the section in the museum on imported pests!  A whole section devoted to invasive creatures brought in to the country.  It was so cool!  And it really shows how much this country values their agricultural industry!  It’s a shame some other countries and respective agencies aren’t like that.  Did I mention that they make quarantine announcements on the radio!  I was listening to their National news radio station and was pleasantly astonished when they announced that a particular insect was found in a certain region of New Zealand and all people within that area should not carry fruit to other regions!  Quarantine Radio Announcements!  Cool!  Anyway there were other fascinating displays there as well, such as the Maori sections.  If you plan on coming to see this museum, I kid you not, you will need the entire day.  Start on level 4.  I thought this level was the most interesting.  Then move down.  Level 5 and 6 were interesting, but not really my cup of tea.

Level 6 was nice because there is an outdoor observation deck that gives you a nice view out to the wharf.  While I was up there, I saw some people doing, I think, a Haka chant and then they all ran and jumped into the water.  Crazy.  It was super windy and cold up on Level 6.  I can just imagine how cold it was in the water.IMG_2629 IMG_2630After watching this, I headed back down.  I haven’t seen all of the museum, but I saw all the parts that I was interested in.  Now it was time, hey, it was time for dinner.  I truly spent the entire day inside the museum.  I could’ve eaten at the museum.  The cafe on the 4th level was pretty good for lunch, I’m sure dinner would’ve been good too.  But I wanted to see what else was out there.  After examining a good number of restaurants along the wharf, I returned to Cuba Street.  This time I was here for the night market.  It’s supposed to start at 5pm and go until dark.  Well at 6pm, there wasn’t much set up.  The food stalls were only just beginning to set themselves up for the night and there were two stalls selling knick knacks.  I don’t need knick knacks.  I was looking for food.  But I didn’t want to wait so I decided to head back the way I came and see what I would come across.  I returned to the hotel to cook up some instant noodles.  That would be my final meal in Wellington.  Sad but true.  But I didn’t want to waste the food that I had purchased during my hostel stays.  And I also didn’t want to walk around looking for places to eat anymore.  My time in Wellington was done.

Oh, one other exhibit worth mentioning…WOW and that’s not the expression.  World of Wearableart, WOW.  This was really very interesting to see.  I had a chance to see this museum back in January when I was on the Red Carpet Tour.  It’s located in Nelson.  From what I saw in Te Papa, I think the Museum in Nelson would’ve been quite fascinating.  I don’t know if WOW is a temporary exhibit or a permanent one.  But if it’s still there when you go visit Te Papa, make sure you go.  Don’t skip it!  I don’t have any photos for you while in Te Papa, since most exhibits prohibit photography so you’ll just have to trust me that this is a really good museum to wile away your time in, in good and bad weather!

Okay, tomorrow I fly into Auckland.  I am going to miss you Wellington, not just for the city alone but because my new friend, Deanna, made my visit to this city all the more enjoyable.

I’ll see you again Deanna and Windy Wellington, Luv, Aunty!

P.S.  Did I mention that it’s not a good idea to wear dresses or skirts in Windy Wellington?  Aunty!

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