Monday, 19 December 2011

Days 8-9: Goodbye North Island…

Saturday was a driving day. Heavy rain and high winds had whipped around us over night, conditions that persisted as we drove south. We never did get even a glimpse of Mt Edgmont as we drove round it.

We stopped for coffee mid morning and then detoured to Waverly Beach for lunch (mushroom soup - nice!). We checked out the sea arch at Waverly, clambering over the driftwood to get some photos, and then sat in the van at the top of the cliff and watched the waves lash the shore. K thought she spotted a dolphin, but it turned out to be a tree trunk.
Waverly sea arch
The final run in to Wellington was great. The weather had lifted and as we hit Pukerea the road found the coast and threaded along the side of a hill, high above the sea. From there on the views were non-stop, nothing beating the final reveal as we came over the hill to see the city laid out before us, curving around the bay.

We parked up in a car park-style camper van park right in the centre of Wellington. Very convenient, a short walk from all the sites and right on the waterfront.

On Sunday the sun shone and we toured the city. The walk along the sea-front was great, passing cool bars and with views out over the bay. Along the waterfront we found Te Papa, the national museum. Highlights for me were the earthquake simulator, the giant squid and the ethnographic display on immigration into NZ over the last 200 years. K was sorely tempted to check out the wedding dresses on loan from the V&A, but managed to resist!

From Te Papa we headed up and down Cuba Street ("Wellington's creative heart"), ducking into little art and design stores and checking out the buskers. Next we took the cable car up to the botanic gardens. The walk back down in the afternoon sun was really peaceful, threading through stands of fir, fern-drenched gullies and ornamental rose gardens.
Wellington from the Botanic Gardens
Food is definitely a highlight of Wellington. Saturday night's dinner at Matterhorn was great, really high quality food. I had "suckling pig head to toe" - a medley of cuts from cheek, shoulder, belly and leg. Sunday morning saw a huge brunch at Gotham, a coffee shop we discovered on a back street while out wandering. The "Breakfast BLT" turned out to be a sandwich almost a foot long, and the coffee was as good as you'd expect in the cafe capital of a coffee-mad country. We didn't need to eat again until evening, which saw us bidding goodbye to Wellington with gourmet pizzas at One Red Dog - the Shawshank in my case, slow roast lamb, caramelised onion and rosemary. Yum.

So far we've covered 1111km - spooky! As I write this the Interislander Ferry is just leaving port in Wellington, taking us on to the next stage of our adventure. With a bit of luck we'll be cycling through vineyards this afternoon.


Solvnotan said...

Hej på er.
Har ni det gott? Jag tror minsann ni har det med god mat och fina upplevelser.
Vi har det också gott här. Igår var vi i Landskrona och hämtade nya element till huset. 70 mil fram och åter, så stannade vi i laxbutiken i Falkenber och åt god middag. Tänk nu sitter jag här och det är morgon halv nio och så ska ni snart gå och lägga er, upp och ner är världen ha, ha,
puss på er, idag ska jag städa så ni vet det.

puss från mamma var rädda om er.

Anonymous said...

Sásta a chloisteáil go bhfuil an aimsir a fheabhsú agus go bhfuil an snámh leis an Dolphins bhí 'fionnuar'. Cúram a ghlacadh, Mham & Dhaid