A weekend getaway to Wellington, New Zealand was the perfect way to beat the winter blues (even if it was even colder there than Sydney). Since R had work meetings scheduled in the beginning of the week, we took advantage of the weekend to explore before it was down to business.
After a late night landing, we awoke to a very wet, windy, and quiet city. The umbrella lasted about ten minutes before I realized why I was the only one carrying one amidst the rain..crazy winds! We sought shelter at The Crab Shack where they served warm clam chowder and fresh fish burgers on the dock amongst the cutest decor.
My favorite rainy day travel activity? Museum hopping! We were impressed by Te Papa, the national museum and art gallery of New Zealand. We were pleasantly surprised to find an Andy Warhol exhibit on display. Too bad I couldn't take any pictures while inside, but it was interesting to see his early sketches and learn about his troubled life, ideas on fame, and influences on pop culture.
Some other things we saw…the world's largest squid on display, a cow made from corned beef tins, holographic projections of pacific islanders, a section dedicated to the queen, and a giant interactive floor map of New Zealand. Random, I know.
Luckily, the afternoon cleared up as we walked along the harbor and explored the quirky neighborhoods. The authentic Italian pizza and pasta kept us warm for dinner and we couldn't resist the crepe stand on the walk home. I will never turn down a nutella crepe...ever.
Sunday brought lots of sunshine…and everyone who had been hiding indoors the day before. THIS is what we expected Wellington to be like. Locals, families, and tourists alike all buzzing at the markets for live music, fresh produce, and seafood. The fishermen docked their boat to display their morning catches, take orders, and filet your fish on the spot…now that is service that R and I are definitely not used to seeing!
If the crowds weren't gathered around the markets, they were being active and running along the pier or hiking up one of the many scenic trails. We joined in the adventure for a scenic hike to the top of Mt. Victoria lookout. Plenty of pine cones and err "road blocks" along the way (from high winds knocking the trees down!). They don't call it "Windy Wellington" for nothin'!
Instagram highlights from the top! What a view.
Our 360 degree view was a cool spot to watch the drastic changes in weather, but the wind got the best of us.
Winds up to 100 mph, y'all! Apparently the top of Mt. Victoria is the windiest point on Earth besides Antarctica (which has winds up to 200 mph). We both lost our footing a couple of times and had to hold onto whatever we could find! You can imagine what most of our pictures look like at this point…lots of hair, squinted eyes, and shaky lens. And don't even ask about flight turbulence on the descent in...
After feeling like we had been in a wind tunnel, we stopped at Mac's Brewbar to unwind over their selection of local brews. Earlier that morning, we followed the hipsters to a cajun-inspired brunch and tacky decor at Sweet Mother's Kitchen.
After a full day of hiking, we took a ride on the classic cable car up to the botanical gardens. Confession…after walking around the gardens for 5 minutes, we both gave each other the "I'm over this" look and ran back on to catch the car going back down without hesitation. Pretty scenery overload! We got it checked off the list, though (I'm all about crossing things off).
Speaking of lists, I accomplished a new experience…explore a new city ALONE for a day. This may seem insignificant to some, but when I thought about it, I had never gone sightseeing in another country by myself (besides Sydney). As much as I missed Ronnie while he was in work meetings, I found a great sense of inner peace and independence walking along without an agenda in this vibrant, coastal town.
Many people ask why I chose not to work as a nurse while living abroad. One of the reasons is not only so that I can travel with R without limitations, but I was also in pursuit of finding myself and taking a step back from a stressful time in my life. Not every day do I feel like I am taking full advantage of growing my character and making the best use of my time. On the days that I do, though, I am reminded that Ronnie and I are where we should be and I feel lucky to be supported in my decisions.
While I was up at the crack of dawn to fly back to Sydney, R had to board this small propeller plane to a town with volcanic activity, hot springs, and waterfalls. If you had to pick a place to settle, Wellington has got it all. The laid back capital city of NZ is a quaint town full of cafes and culture, has breathtaking views as the city is situated around water and mountains, and is occupied by friendly and active people. It is also where they shot all of the Lord of the Rings series' for any fans out there.
Another one for the books. We are excited for our return to New Zealand on our anniversary trip to the South Island in October, especially Queenstown.