June 2, 2016
Today was our first and only full day in Wellington before heading back to Australia. We had a pretty early start to the day as we made our way towards Wellington’s CBD. Wellington is extremely hilly and it seemed like the majority of their houses were all built on the hills surrounding the CBD. All the hills and winding narrow roads made driving in Wellington pretty difficult and a bit stressful (even as a passenger). It seems like cars can park wherever they want so basically it’s only one lane going up and down the hills.
When we finally got to the CBD, it took a while for us to look for parking. We eventually found a metered spot ($4 NZD/hr), which is cheaper than parking in one of the lots we went into, which was triple the price (max day was $60 NZD!). We walked around the CBD for a couple of hours to get the feel of the city. Wellington is a small big city that seems like it would be a nice place to live (and not drive). The CBD is in a bay and surrounded by hills and water which makes it look really picturesque.
After our parking time was up, we drove along the water towards Mount Victoria. We found free parking along the beach, on “Oriental Parade” and had lunch at a restaurant close by called, Beach Babylon. The food was well prepared with good quality ingredients (for the price it should be good quality!) so we were all satisfied.
After lunch the sun came out and we walked along the seawall back towards the CBD and the Te Papa Museum of New Zealand. Admission to Te Papa is free and the museum is quite extensive. In the amount of time we had for the day, we only were able to go through one of the floors – wildlife and the WWI, ANZAC Memorial floor.
Te Papa has a dead deep sea colossal squid that was huge. There was a video playing which showed how the squid was accidentally caught by fishermen around Antarctica. When it was caught, it weighed over 400kg and the eyes were the size of soccer balls. Now that it’s been preserved, it has shrunken down a bit and isn’t as big as it was alive.
The ANZAC (Australia New Zealand Army Corps) part of the museum was a very well done history lesson about WWI and the ANZAC’s attack in Turkey. We don’t learn much about Australia an New Zealand’s involvement in the World Wars in (Canadian) school so it was interesting to learn about it here. Basically, the ANZACs attacked Gallipoli in Turkey during WWI without a solid plan and were not prepared at all, so a lot of troops died during those attacks. Also an interesting note was that 1 in 4 New Zealand men fought in WWI.
After Te Papa, we walked back to the car and drove up to Mount Victoria for 360 views of Wellington. We didn’t mean to, but we were there just in time to see the sun set (Tim: perhaps it seemed like good fortune to Kait, but I planned for us to arrive around sunset time). It was a nice way to cap off our day in Wellington.
We stopped by a grocery store on the way back to the house to pick up ingredients for a New Zealand onion chip dip called, “The Original Kiwi Dip”. Along with the ingredients, we picked up some other Kiwi snacks and actual golden kiwis. I know we get them at home but it didn’t feel right not eating a kiwi in New Zealand. We learned that kiwis aren’t even native to New Zealand, but are from China (Tim: and mostly grown in Italy).
When we got home, Johanna started cooking us dinner. Tonight’s dinner was likely our last home cooked meal until we get back home in July! She braised some pork with pasta and roasted some vegetables for dinner. It felt nice to share our last meal with Jess and Robin in a warm home setting. Our flight the next morning was at 6:45am, so we tried to have a fairly early night.
Steps today: 18,000