03/02/’16: Time flies! I’m already a week in Wellington and heading to the South Island today. I’m staying at friends of Wynand: Daan, Megan and their kids Marshida, Tamina and Emira. I arrived early in the morning the 28th of January. Daan picked me up from the airport. Since it was about 15 years ago since I’ve last seen him, I was glad he gave me a brief description of himself: a white beard and a beret. Easily to recognise! When we arrived at their house in a Ngaio, Marshida – the oldest, 17 – already made plans to do that day 🙂 But first I had to catch up on some sleep. I sleep in the “Beret Shed” in the garden, surrounded with trees, flowers, birds and I don’t know what they are called actually… Cicada Daan just told me (soort krekels).. Very peaceful 🙂 weird animals though, they live about 7 years undergrounds, and just a few weeks above..
Windy Wellington, Te Papa
11.20h Marshida woke me up. “If you’re quick, we can get the the 11.40 train!” Haha, ambitious.. Still half asleep I took a shower, got dressed and I didn’t make it as expected. The weather wasn’t that great, cold and windy. Windy Wellington, they picked that nickname for a reason. We walked along the bay, got some lunch and went to Te Papa, a large museum with all different kind of exhibitions. I had my first earthquake-experience and learned about Gallipoli during the WWI. New to me, we didn’t learn any of this in school as far as I can remember. Nice to have someone to show you around on your first day in a new city! Marshida also helped me to get a new sim card so I’m all set for the next 5 weeks: 50 NZD for 3GB, 200 min and txts, not bad right?
The second day Daan, Emira and I went to the coast and walked along the coastline. What a great views!! We had a coffee (with cake!) and tried to make it on time to the hot yoga, where Megan and Marshida were already waiting for me. The elevator only worked with a card, so I took the fire stairs, changed as quickly as I could and entered the class.. Everybody focused of course, oops 🙂 but it was good to do some sports again except walking!
And just a figment: did you know Wellington is known for its great coffee? They have cafes (for coffee, not to be confused with bars) on I think every corner of the streets. The highest density of cafes in the world, I’ve been told. And it’s good! I’m not much of a coffee drinker, only in the afternoon and on cold days I guess, but they’re good!
Makara with 62 wind turbines
The day after Daan took me to another coastline, Makara. They put 62 wind turbines in the mountains, enough to generate electricity each year for about 62.000 homes. That’s worth all the the work they had to do to get those things up there! The road was closed so we went to the other side. After a coffee at one of Daan’s favorite coffee places – with a weird albatros that washed ashore in a frame – we (or I) chose to go uphill instead of walking along the water. The sun was coming through and sheep ran away when we came too close. The views were again gorgeous!
The next days the weather was at it best again and we visited the Sunday Market in Wellington, we went to the Kapiti Coast (an hour north of Wellington), I’ve wandered around in the Botanical Garden of Wellington and chilled in the sun with loads of sunscreen on.
MacKenzie Track on your flip flops…
My last day in Wellington I spent in Days Bay/Eastbourne, half an hour with the ferry across the harbour. I did quit the walking there! Just a tip: bring your hiking shoes! In Eastbourne I saw there was a lookout 45 min up, 1,5 hours in total. Well, why not! It was just a path going uphill, nothing you couldn’t do on your flip flops (or chandals as they would say in New Zealand). But okay, it turned out I took the wrong way and ended up doing the MacKenzie Track/Route on my flip flips: 4k, in the bush bush, going 200 meter up (and down), and it was bloody hot! I was glad I could hold on to trees and their roots and still I slipped twice… Eventually it took me about 2 hours, but I can tell you that it seemed a lot longer not knowing how long the track will be and when you see nobody doing the same track!
I was glad to be home again, having a nice shower and enjoying the really nice meals of Daan and Megan 🙂 What a great week it was in Wellington! Lots of thanks to Daan, Megan and the kids!!! I’ll be back 🙂
Taking the InterIslander to the South!
04/03/’16: I spent quit some time figuring out how to travel through New Zealand, without having to plan too much upfront and of course not too expensive. So I bought an InterCity Flexipass, that counts by the hours you travel. Mostly not guided, just a bus that locals and travelers take. My first 3 hours I spent on the InterIslander, the ferry between the North and the South Island. I sat outside on the front of the ferry, and met a nice Dutch couple. We laughed a lot, mostly because off all the people posing for photos. Especially one Chinese family that has now I guess 200 photos of the same view, but with different poses of course 😉 The weather was really nice, the views spectacular. The photos don’t do it justice!
I’m now in Picton, a small harbour city on the top of the South Island. I wanted to go kayaking today, but unfortunately they were already booked. A little more planning is necessary apparently! So, today I’m using to select my photos, finish this blog and book my next destination: Nelson. I also booked a day trip to the Abel Tasman National Park, where I will be dropped in Anchorage with a watertaxi to do a 4-hour hike back to Marahau. Looking forward to it!