Unwinding


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Oceania » New Zealand
December 24th 2015
Published: September 30th 2017
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Geo: -38.9876, 175.818

When traveling, there are times where you need to slow down and relax, catching a breather from too much sightseeing and too many activities. Today was not one of those days! Having grossly underestimated how much we would enjoy Wellington, and the time required to properly enjoy all of its charms, especially with the better part of a day lost to Martinboroughs charms, we needed to make the best of our remaining half day here, rushing from place to place.

First order of business was to ride Wellingtons famous cable car up to the botanic garden, which turned out to be a brilliant decision, as the weather turned sunny, a welcome departure from the rain and wind of the previous two days. It's a great little place to spend a half day, with numerous worthy sights, and, if we had more than the 90 minutes we had set aside for this activity, it would've been a wonderful place for a picnic.

Afterwards, we made our way back down to the CBD, for a little browsing through some neat boutiques we had spotted the day before. Time quickly slipped away, and we needed to grab a quick lunch before picking up
Uber Cool Tree House ...Uber Cool Tree House ...Uber Cool Tree House ...

... There's lots to see and do at the top of the cable car, but time was limited today, as we had to pick up a rental car and make our way to Turangi. This massive tree house was by far the most interesting thing we saw at the Botanic gardens at the top.
our rental car, so we hit up the Capital Market, a hawker market that would not have been out of place anywhere in Asia, with its myriad options for all cuisines Asian. It was a nice way to end our time in Wellington, a city which far exceeded any of our expectations.

It was a rather hectic final few hours in Wellington, but things quickly quieted down once we started our long drive to Turangi, our home base for the next few nights. Turangi couldn't be any more different from Wellington, being a quiet little town on the Tongariro river - while it doesn't have the multitude of diversions that Wellington does, it did provide us a nice relaxing spot to unwind after our busy day, giving us a chance to catch our breath after a very busy first few days in NZ..

Our arrival in Turangi was perhaps the true start of our NZ adventure, in earnest. While a couple of days each in Marlborough and Wellington were a great introduction, NZ surely has many other experiences awaiting us. Beaches, mountains, more wine tasting, thermal attractions seemingly from another planet ... it will surely be fantastic, but it will get even better - tomorrow, we will be seeing all of Middle Earths glory firsthand!


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Wicked Food Hall .... Wicked Food Hall ....
Wicked Food Hall ....

... We stumbled upon the Capital Market, which was a lot like Asian hawker stalls. Great selection of ethnic foods on offer, running nearly the entire gamut of Asian cuisines.
Huge Portion of Roasted Duck and Pork ...Huge Portion of Roasted Duck and Pork ...
Huge Portion of Roasted Duck and Pork ...

...while far from the best we've had, it was still pretty awesome to find this in a food hall.
Korean Spicy Beef Soup ...Korean Spicy Beef Soup ...
Korean Spicy Beef Soup ...

... Soggy, bland noodles made this a disappointment. But again, finding this type of dish at a food hall was still pretty cool!
Beautiful Blinis at the Lake House ...Beautiful Blinis at the Lake House ...
Beautiful Blinis at the Lake House ...

... super soft and lovely, with whole cloves of roasted garlic and sweet caramelized onions that really set off the dish.
Tender Venison ...Tender Venison ...
Tender Venison ...

... not gamey in the least, which was somewhat surprising, as venison often has at least a hint of gaminess. Quite a healthy portion, as well, though at the end, it became a bit overwhelming, due to the accompanying sauce, which was just a wee bit too sweet.
More Stacked Than Magic Mike ...More Stacked Than Magic Mike ...
More Stacked Than Magic Mike ...

... eight whole ribs! This rack of lamb was huge, and melt-in-your-mouth tender. An excellent array of fresh veggies was included - string beans, butter beans, zucchini, squash, red peppers ... all top quality. A Pinot Noir from the Central Otago region of NZ was a perfect pairing.
A Let Down at the End ...A Let Down at the End ...
A Let Down at the End ...

... after such a fantastic Christmas Eve meal, this lemon coconut syrup gluten-free cake was disappointing. The strawberry was by far the highlight, and the extra-long blackberries were quite interesting to look at, but the cake was just too dry, and the icing too hard. The little dish of yogurt on the side really didn't seem to serve any useful purpose.


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