Sept 22nd- 27th
Leaving Taupo we had a long days driving ahead as we would be making our way to Wellington by the evening, which would be over 370km away, with a few stops along the way.
Our route would be taking us through the town of Bulls. We had visited on the Kiwi Experience a few years back and loved the 'punny' approach the town took on. The town was founded by James Bull, an English settler who established the first general store. (Now I had been led to believe last time it was named so after a series of tests on bulls lactating was researched to see if it could work for human transgenders, but now I have researched it and can't find that info anywhere?!?)
Everything has been renamed with a pun, the towns slogan is 'A town like no udder' and the police station below called 'Consta-bull'.
Continuing on we took a drive through the near by Palmerston North, which also was full of gorgeous art deco buildings
Then onto Shannon- no not my Shannon- a town named Shannon! We'd seen it on the map and knew we must stop!!
Then we still had 2 hours drive to Wellington, we drove past the Kapiti coast (my fave Kiwi ice-cream). We had booked the YHA hostel for $77pp and picked up a new free membership card which gives you discounts. We'd chosen a hostel as there seemed to be a lack of campsites- no doubt being as its the city, capital city none the less.
We got up to a lot whilst in Wellington and loved it all, it did make us think that maybe we should have moved here and found work as it seems such a great place.
At Peterpan's we had also booked to go the the WETA Workshop which is located in Miramar just 20 minutes out of the city. WETA is home to world-leading design and effects facility servicing the world’s creative industries, the most famous being Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit, and King Kong. We went on a one hour tour and seen models, figures, miniatures and a lots of interesting props. No photos allowed inside the studios, but the shop was full of things.
One day we took a drive out to Kaitoke National Park located 50 minutes north east of the city, the park is part of the Lord Of The Rings film location, home of the Elves - Rivendell.
Back in the city, Courtenay Place was a lively area and just off that we found a good little restaurant for dinner called 'Little Penang', near by is the funky Cuba Street, one of the most prominent streets in Wellingtonwe went to 'Fidel's ' for food and what I am boldly claiming as my all time favourite milkshake! sweet mothers kitchen
We also went to a gorgeous retro looking cinema to watch Everest.
We booked online a few days in advance for a free tour around Parliament, on a 60 minute Introducing Parliament tour, We learned about the parliamentary process and New Zealand's history whilst walking around the iconic buildings, the biggest being 'The Beehive', named so as it looks like a giant... beehive. We went around the parliamentary house, debating chambers, the grand hall, and went underground to see the Base Isolator- which was all rather interesting, the buildings foundations were re-built away from the ground, meaning it will only move a little or not at all during an earthquake.
On 19 September 1893 the governor, Lord Glasgow, signed a new Electoral Act into law. As a result of this landmark legislation, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.
Katherine Wilson "Kate" Sheppard (10 March 1847 – 13 July 1934) was the most prominent member of New Zealand's women's suffrage movement and was the country's most famous suffragette. She also appears on the New Zealand ten-dollar note.
During a wet spell we went up to the botanical gardens by cable car, we had lovely views of the grey city below us, but we didn't stay long as it was too wet to appreciate the botanical gardens.
You can walk up Mt Victoria or take the car, we chose the latter this time. It was a lovely day and we were treated to spectacular views
We visited the amazing Te Papa museum (open 10-6 daily) it is a massive building, crammed full of amazing displays. 'Gallipoli: The Scale Of Our War' was also being shown, it was a fascinating display about the war. Gallipoli was New Zealand's first campaign of World War 1.
We visited the War Memorial and went inside another museum to see an exhibition on The Great War.
Our boat leaving Wellington was at 1.30pm so before hand we wandered around the docklands, and soaked up the sunshine and views of this lovely city. The ferry took 3 and half hours, we had a great seat facing the front off the boat, we were seated with a nice older couple who kept chatting. Had a lovely sail and amazing views out over The Charlotte Sound.
Then we were in the South Island.....