Windy Wellington

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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Wellington
October 20th 2010
Published: October 26th 2010
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As we approached the last hour of our drive to Wellington, the wind picked up considerably and every time we passed a large truck in the opposite direction, the campervan was blown all over the road and at times it was difficult to steer. However, as has been the theme so far in NZ, the scenery was spectacular and we passed along the banks of several huge lakes before hugging the coastline all the way to a town about 15 minutes outside Wellington called Porirua. This had a lovely little harbour and as we had spotted a huge supermarket on the drive into it, we decided to stock up on supply’s and stay at a little campsite called ‘Elson Camp’ for the night. We had decided to cook steak for dinner and after unloading the van with the food and cooking equipment, Scott set to work, whilst Vic’s spent some time making the bed for the evening and updating our blogs. After dinner, we enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine, before calling it a night. It was easily the coldest we had been so far in the campervan but we awoke to brilliant blue sky’s and after breakfast of beans on toast and a hot shower, we jumped in the camper and headed into NZ’s capital city Wellington where we planned to spend the day and night before catching our ferry across from the North Island to the South Island (Picton).

We arrived and quickly assessed the parking situation and found a small 24 hour car park with other campers parked in which was reasonably priced and close to the cities main attractions.
Our first stop, was New Zealand’s largest museum on Wellington’s Quay side called ‘Te-Papa’ (The Place)
It was a great museum with many interactive exhibits ranging from history, wildlife, space, and natural disasters. After a couple of hours, we were all history’d out and decided to go for a walk and find the Wellington cable car. The car takes passengers to the top of Wellington city (which is set at the bottom of a huge hill) and has spectacular views overlooking the harbour. It is also the start of the Botanical Gardens and has a small Cable Car Museum explaining the history of the cable car which was interesting. We started walking around the gardens which were beautiful and very well kept, before coming across a small playground, and being big kids at heart we decided to go on the swings for a while to see who could swing the highest. Scott then had a go on the rope swing tyre before we decided to be grown ups again and continue walking round the gardens! We walked through a rose garden which had a pond in the middle with ducks and ducklings in it which were very cute, then we walked through the main garden and started heading back up to the cable car. We got the cable car back down to the city and had a stroll around (Wellington is a very nice city full of coffee shops, shops, bars and restaurants) until we came across a pub which was advertising a special of 2 for 1 ribs that evening and a pub quiz, so we decided to go back there later for our dinner and some entertainment.

When we got back to the van we spotted a rather nice hotel opposite which we hadn’t noticed earlier, so after a quick look round we found the showers near the fitness centre and decided that would be where we showered that night! So back to the van so get our stuff, then back to the hotel showers (which were lovely, Scott even had a sauna!) before heading down to the pub for 2 for 1 ribs. It was only a Tuesday and it was a very cold night, but the pub was busy and everyone was ordering the ribs, so we got ours and had a really good munch (Tony Roma’s eat your heart out!) before deciding on our team name for the pub quiz (Eric the Rocket) and making a start. Now we didn’t think we really stood a chance of winning as there was only two of us and we are not the best at pub quiz’s and this was confirmed in the first round when we only got 3 out of a possible 10 points...! As the quiz went on Scott got more confident in his answers and surprised Vic with his imagination (name of a large canal that is also the name of a hat- wooly?! And name of a Russian city with a large museum - Vantzwkwoff!?) and we got a few more right (especially in the animated movie round), but there were a lot of NZ based questions which we didn’t know and so finished the quiz with just 36 points out of a possible 100...the lowest of the night, by atleast 10 points, but we did try! Nevertheless we had a really fun night and can imagine that ‘Welly’ gets very lively on weekends, especially in summer. We headed back to our van around 10pm as we had to be up before 6am, in time to have some breakfast and drive over to the ferry which would take us to the South Island.

As you can probably imagine it’s quite hard to find power to charge our camera/laptop/phone etc, being in a van, and unless we are in a paying campsite we can’t charge anything. Scott had set his alarm on his phone for 6am in the morning so we would have time to have some breakfast, get ready and get to the ferry in good time by 7am. However as the battery on his phone went dead in the night our alarm didn’t go off; instead we woke up at 6.55, looked at each other and swore, and Scott drove the van to the ferry half asleep in his pyjamas while Vic was desperately trying to get dressed in the back! Luckily it was only 5 minutes away so we got there in time but it wasn’t the best way to start the day!

We waited in line in the van to get on the ferry for around half an hour (after rushing we had lots of spare time) and once they were ready to board us we drove on and parked, then went up to the ferry to get some seats for the 3 ½ hour trip. The ferry was huge and there was a bar/coffee shop on board as well as lots of seats and big tvs, on which they showed a film which passed the time. The scenery on the trip over was, as always, amazing, and the water was so calm it was a really smooth ride; it was nice you were able to move around and even go outside on the ferry. The time passed quickly and before we knew it we had arrived in Picton on the South island before 12pm.

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