After yesterday’s fun-filled wine adventure, today was a welcome very low key day. We woke up and departed the motel, chartering course back to the main town square (note: the “town” was all of 1,500 people) and the breakfast place that we had found yesterday. It being a weekend day, we finally saw how busy this little spot could get as the motel was nearly full and the breakfast spot had a very deep line.
We finished up and began our short 90-minute journey to the capital city of Wellington. All that stood in our way of getting there was the curviest road that we’ve driven on yet- a 25ish km stretch straight up and down the mountain in two-lane traffic. We were easily one of the slowest moving cars making the journey but were happy when we arrived on the other side safe and sound.
The rest of the journey was relatively peaceful and usual highway driving as we made our first stop in Wellington on top of Mt. Victoria- a nice mountain over-looking the Wellington harbor. The drive up to the top reminded us much of San Francisco- a harbor city with very narrow and winding roads complete with cars parking wherever they deemed fit. The views were beautiful and we snapped tons of photos before heading back down (Jennie got more on her real camera but I don’t have those photos yet…)
We made our way to the hotel to check-in and then wandered out for lunch on the pier. We asked the hotel for a recommendation and despite wanting something casual, found a much fancier than desired (but much better than expected) restaurant on the water called Crab Shack and had a bunch of fresh fish and drinks in the great weather.
Post lunch, we went to the NZ National Museum to learn about the history of the country and the indigenous people. John and Jennie did a much better job exploring as Debbie and I went back after about 45 minutes or so to watch the exciting (yet again) Duke vs. VT basketball game. We then made our way out for the evening to explore Wellington.
We started off at a rooftop brewery for our first round of drinks and appetizers and we were pleasantly in for one of the best nights of food we’d had yet (started with fried cauliflower wings). After round 1, we made our way to the main “strip” in the city and stumbled into a night market/food festival and after wandering through the entire area, decided this is where we wanted to eat dinner.
Debbie and I got butter chicken roti wraps while John/Jennie shared a plethora of dumplings, buns, and a savory egg crepe. We then moved on to the dessert course and Jennie found some waffle/ice-cream stand and Debbie and I found arguably the best ice cream of the trip.
All in all, a very low key day for our expected night/extended stay in Wellington. Next up- a 3.5 hour ferry and a five-hour drive to get to Christchurch. As I alluded to yesterday, we had to shift around our entire South Island plan and cancel/re-book 4 of our accommodations – the new plan is just to get to the Wanaka/Queenstown area as quickly as possible to spend as much time as we can there.