Wellington- NZ 2010
We spent 3 months in wellington area. when we got there, it’s the winter season. The month of may was too cold and too windy. we arrived early morning and took the train from Auckland to Wellington. it was one of the most fascinating train ride I ever had. It took 12h to reach wellington. Alone the way, the train stopped near a national forest but we were not advise to venture over our 30mn time. The trip was amazing and we got to see the sheep and the cows all over the planes.
We reached Wellington 12h later and we were expecting a friend to come and pick us up but for some reason he couldn’t accommodate us. we decided to go stay in a B&B for a week until we find something for the rest of our stay. We were so exhausted and went to bed. The next morning we woke up and hit the downtown area. It took us a good 30mn to walk and the downtown area seemed to be busy. People were a little different from the USA. Here in brief what we did during our stay in Wellington.
The Wellington bay area is breathtaking. It was cold and windy but people seemed to be enjoying. we met couple of runners on the harbor area and we saw more and more runners during the spring time on the harbor enjoying their time. It was rare to see cyclists. We decided to run couple of days there as well. It was good to run in the sun and enjoy the great view. The beach area was a nice change. we collected some sea glasses which were fantastic. if you are a sea glass collector, that’s one of the beaches you should be visiting.
The Te Papa museum is fantastic. It’s absolutely free and it has a great collection of art and rocks in the world. we saw the largest squid ever captured in the world. It’s something you won’t miss. Go to the museum every day to visit different parts of it. People are friendly and they enjoy talking to you. The gift shop is a little expensive like any other but it has so much to offer.
During our stay, we visited the Parliament building, something you should visit. It was built to support the largest earthquakes and the building is almost sitting on top of a foundation allowing it to move in any direction during quakes. we visited the Mount Victoria which gives you a breathtaking view of the Wellington harbor area.
You would see the Wellington airport and the surroundings. if you are a fan of Lord of the rings, you can visit the areas they filmed around mount Victoria.
The Botanical gardens are also free. we visited few times and I recommend it. If you do go, it’s hilly and you need an effort to go up there. the whole city was built on a delta area and what you see all around the downtown areas are hills overlooking the sea. The rose garden was fantastic and there were still roses during the winter time and it’s something we liked. The cable car is something you should visit. you can take it to the downtown area for few bucks.
We also visited the parks and hikes around the Wellington area. The Northern trail we took to wellington from Johnsonville took us almost 4h to get there. we got lost couple of times but we made it. The signs are not always well marked and you need to be aware of that. There are so many hikes around the areas if you are an avid hiker. The ground is wet and sometimes muddy during the winter season and you would see less hikers but I heard that when summer times comes, it would be hard to be alone.
If you visit NZ, specially the Wellington area; it was hard to find free WiFi. We had hard time using our laptops and it seems like Internet is not that popular. We came across a few Internet cafe’s. They usually charge NZ$3.0 per hour but most of the time the connection was slow. Go to the visitor center in downtown and you can get all the help you needed if you want to rent a car or reserve for some sight seeing or tours. They are friendly and you have Internet connection if you buy cards to use it.
We also visited the Wellington Zoo which was a really nice one. If you take the bus, keep the ticket and you would be able to get a discount. It would take you 20mn from downtown area by bus to get there. we enjoyed seeing Kiwi and few animals originated to NZ.
When you are in NZ. sometimes, you are having hard time understanding the people. We had to ask few times what they were talking about. People are overall nice and what we really didn’t understand was their fashion style. It might be typical NZ style.
The public transportation system is fantastic. you have trains going in different direction all the times but the downside is, it a little pricey, about 3 to 6 dollars each way depending where you are heading. The central station is gorgeous and very clean. The buses are very nice and the area is well served all the time. Weekends might be a little challenging with trains. buses might be a better option. if you buy the week end pass for $18. you would be able to go everywhere during the weekend and I recommend you do that if you want to visit more of the area.
Renting a car is cheap but it might be expensive even if you have insurance. I paid $50 a day for the insurance and the gas.the rental would be $30 a day and with gas, the rental fees and the insurance will cost you at least $100 a day depending where you are traveling. But remember, not all buses are going to places you want to visit. if you want to visit the country side like we did. you need to rent a car and they drive on the left side of the street and it took me a little time to get used to it. if you drive, you might see some funny signs you might laugh such as ” a smart driver knows”, owl is watching you. you have to experience that.
We have visited a lot of places during our stay in NZ and stay tunes for more. we have visited then greater Wellington areas, Beaches, Rotorua the volcanic region with its typical sulfur smell, Lake Taupo, Hamilton, Te Aroha, the bay of plenty, Picton, cooks strait,and more. I will get more fun facts around these areas for everyone who wants to venture in NZ.