© 2011 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated_nz_wellington_18

New Zealand – Wellington – 27th/28th November

As we had previously booked our north island to south ferry online we were getting short on time and wanted to explore Wellington before leaving. This therefore required a 160km drive to arrive in Wellington at lunch time and find somewhere to park the van which allowed us to sleep inside. Rowena’s lodge offered this and at $15 per person per night was the cheapest offering in the city.

Upon checking in there was a heated argument between the proprietor and a fellow guest which involved a slanging match ending in the guy being kicked out. First impressions are so important. The hostel is a bit rough around the edges, some eclectic staff members and has some very funky smells in the communal areas, but it was cheap enough to get past this and we always had the safety of the van to hide away in.

For most of the day it rained so we opted for a visit to the Te Papa Museum located on the waterfront. Home to the relics and tales of New Zealand’s past Te Papa is a big museum and would require half a day if you were to explore the whole place. We only had 2 hours and some of the exhibits were closed so we made our way from the top back down to the bottom taking in contemporary New Zealand art to 20th Century paintings. This led into more of a museum layout with life-size exhibits of people’s homes during the war, the effect of the Commonwealth and then going way back from Maori living and to the Dinosaurs. It is a pretty comprehensive museum and plays host to the only Gigantic Squid on show in the world.

When we left the museum it was still raining so we had a stroll around the waterfront and back into the city passing by another Occupy event and the City Gallery before meandering around the outdoor shops. We’re getting ideas for our big trekking expedition in Nepal so nearly every outdoor shop draws us in. On our way back to the hostel we stopped off for a drink at a quirky bar next door to a theatre in the artsy district. When we crossed over the road there was an artists exhibition taking place, the opening night was the week before but the artist wanted to conjure more interest by hosting a live installation. As soon as we were in the gallery the artist introduced himself Jon Drypnz and for the next hour or so we stood chatting about travel, art, politics amongst other things whilst enjoying a complimentary beer. He had a nice big space to work with as an artist in residence and used the space to play with the contrasts in liberal v’s conservative. We added our own illustration to the wall art taking place. The wall was very clear at that point so we did feel a little self-conscious but what the hell…Helen did a Fine Art degree and Dave design so we were sure we could contribute something!! ha ha!

Back at the hostel we stayed in and cooked along with the rest of the backpackers before escaping to our van.

We had a morning in Wellington to kill before going to get our ferry at 1.30pm so we went out in search of a few items that we’d been meaning to get for a while. One was to swap our first Jo Nesbo Harry Hole novel, but for some reason this was proving to be difficult! We wanted to swap the first book for the third, but nowhere had any Nesbo’s in stock. Helen was trying to educate the booksellers but to no avail. Eventually we settled on a swap with a ‘Rough Guide to Nepal’ in order to start planning a little for our trip there in Spring, we bartered and managed to get 2 extra dollars off the price! Bargaining in a Western country, it can be done!

We then bought some DVDR’s to catch up on burning our work to disc and we also picked up our Christmas cards to send home from a lovely gift and card shop on one of the main shopping streets. At the top end of Cuba Street we found a cool coffee house that was once an old clothing shop, there were lots of vintage boutiques, and good little places to explore. In terms of the city and what it has to offer we really enjoyed exploring the streets and the coffee really is good!!

So following on from our morning we drove to the Bluebridge Ferry Terminal which is very close to the centre of town and we ended up parking and waiting for over an hour before boarding the ferry. The ferry crossing to start with was choppy and neither of us really felt like moving from our seats, but a few hours into the crossing it did settle down so we explored the outside decks and enjoyed a very good hot chocolate and gingerbread kiwi to settle the sea sickness! It seemed to do the trick!

We got into Picton after a slow pace cruising through the beautiful Malborough Sounds and from there we made our way to Blenheim to meet up with friends Vic and Dave who we know from the UK. It was Vic’s birthday and so we joined in with the celebrations which involved champagne, a family meal cooked by the other Dave, speeches, wine and a birthday cake. Our first taste of a New Zealand home and it was a lovely evening indeed. Thanks to the Gillan’s for making us feel so welcome.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f/2.0, Leica 90mm f/2.8, Zeiss 18mm f/4 ZM processed in Lightroom 3)

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