Wellington, New Zealand
We left Napier on a beautiful morning. On the way out of the area we drove through several vineyards with sheep grazing among the vines. I was tempted to pull to the side of the road to snap a picture, but I’m pretty sure C would’ve freaked out. Instead I tasked him with getting a decent phone picture of the scenery.
The drive took us through more beautiful countryside including lots of sheep and cattle grazing, farmland, mountains and along the awesome but nerve-wracking Manawatu Gorge. Finally we came to the west side of the island and were in the home stretch. However, we desperately needed to get out, stretch our legs and grab some nourishment. We stopped at a really cute roadside cafe that reminded me of England. We made it inside the cafe just in time to miss an epic downpour. It was a delicious lunch, Hannah got to play some then we packed back into the car for the remaining hour. Driving into Wellington is pretty great. You’re driving along with mountains on the left and trees on the right then all of sudden you see ocean and rocks to the right. The sea was pretty rough making for some great waves.
We made our way to the apartment we’d rented only to discover we had never received the check-in information from the host. Thankfully the owner answered her phone immediately, gave us the access code for the door and we made ourselves at home. We also realized we had never confirmed that we wanted a portacot for Hannah and after another quick phone call her lovely husband dropped it off and even offered to set it up for us. This was by far my favorite lodging of our entire trip. The house had huge floor to ceiling windows in the living/dining room overlooking the city and water below. The kitchen was well stocked, bed was super comfortable and everything was stylishly decorated. Hannah even had her own bedroom! However, it did have one downside….it was perched on a hill, at the top of a steep drive.
That first afternoon we wandered around the downtown area looking at the shops and such but didn’t really do any sightseeing. For dinner we ventured down the road to a great Italian restaurant which would have been rather romantic if it weren’t for an adorable 6 month old. However, she did get lots of smiles and coos from the table next to us so we were okay with it.
The next day we popped into the National Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa. It has the largest squid on display which was pretty impressive, if not a little gross. It also had an extremely well done exhibit on the ANZAC forces at Gallipoli in WWI. Unfortunately it was pretty crowded meaning people were moving very slowly and Hannah was starting to get hungry we we had to kinda push through the crowds to get through and find space to feed her. Turns out I had completely forgotten to pack a nursing cover in our bag for the day, but the museum had a parent’s room which provided the perfect private space with comfy enough chairs to nurse her. Afterward we were all tired so left without seeing much else.
While in Wellington everyone says you must explore Cuba street which is famous for coffee shops, bars and the music scene. We did as instructed but weren’t super impressed. Perhaps its because it was the middle of the day, but it just looked a little grungy and not all that exciting. C found a coffee shop off of Cuba Street with really great reviews so we stopped in there for a cuppa and to rest our laurels before continuing on for the day.
On our last day we took a trip to the Botanic Gardens which were a short walk from our lodging. It was a blustery day but thankfully we were protected by the large trees. I really wanted to take the famed cable car down to the city center so we trekked from the rose garden to the cable car stop. It seemed a lot closer than it actually was and we worked up quite a sweat doing it. The trip down wasn’t anything too special but was a nice way to get to the city and rest our feet for a little while. We finished the day with window shopping before heading back to pack our bags. The last night we had dinner at a BBQ place which was very popular with the afterwork crew! Thankfully, the waitresses were super sweet and helped us score a table. We didn’t realize it until the next morning but Hannah dropped her beloved Sophie giraffe at the table and we walked off without it. Big parenting fail!
We finished off the evening with a stroll through some of the city streets before catching a bus back to the apartment. Our final morning was spent cleaning and finishing up packing. We then dropped the car off at the airpot and caught our flight to Sydney, our last destination on the trip.