Well here we are in Wellington. We left Taupo on Thursday and got the bus through to Napier on the East coast, we had heard that it was a city renowned for it's Art Deco architecture (all built at the same time in the 1930s following an earthquake that flattened everything else). When we arrived we weren't really impressed, there didn't seem to be too much to see, we were wrong. At the campsite we were just getting set up when a White Tailed Spider was spotted on a rucksack, thankfully Ruth had wandered off somewhere or she would have probably been on the next plane home, as it was we spent the night with bags, shoes and everything else in the tent with us just in case! Starvation overcoming us, once again, we wandered back into the city on a fish and chips hunt, this time we did have a wander and were amazed by all the Deco stuff, still not sure if we actually like it though. The weekend was to be the annual Art Deco Festival and as a result the city was filled with old cars, steam engines and loads of people dressed in 1930s costume, quite a bizarre sight. We eventually found a chippy and with Ruth's amazing accent she ended up with chips and corn fritter instead of fish, she was gutted! Chips eaten, seagulls fed we went on a search for the Guffle Bar, as we are dragging a stuffed Gruffalo around it seemed appropriate, beer here is expensive $15 for two small bottles of lager, extortionate! Also the seagulls are very polite, they don't mug you for chips like in the UK, they just hang around muttering to themselves until you feed them. The following morning saw us dragging our increasingly heavy bags back into the city to buy some 5 toe shoes, there's always room in the bag for something you want to buy! These are fab, basically exactly what they sound like and ideal for kayaking in a few days, look a bit mad though, especially Ruth's pink ones, like freaky hobbit feet. The city was actually buzzing by now with mad old people dressed as flappers and jungle explorers and stuff, that evening was the Depression Dinner where they wandered around begging for food and going to soup kitchens, they pay to do this, Ruth says in St Helens half the druggie scumbags just do this day to day! The sun had come out (gloomy the evening before) and the sea looked lovely, there was a cruise liner in and it all just seemed good fun. We got the bus to Wellington.
5 1/2 hours later we arrived in Wellington, hopped in a shuttle to our hotel (yes hotel, she said she wants luxury and towels before bike torture), dumped the bags and hot footed it back into town to the Westpac stadium to watch the Super Rugby union match (Hurricanes v Highlanders). Maybe this was a bad game or maybe union is just really pants, an experience anyway, final score 6 - 11. The next stage was an experience too, we were hungry so followed the masses back into the city (they all got on buses so we got abandoned and lost!) in the search for nourishment, "luckily" Ruth remembered the name and street of a curry shop highly recommended in the Lonely Planet guide, after about an hour we found it. It was bad, we've had better curries out of a tin, if this is the best curry Wellington can offer then I pity them, it was bland with poor quality chicken, the only bonus is that we didn't get food poisoning (at least not yet). We were sat next to three people who we'd met at the Taupo campsite, she was from Leach Lane so practically a neighbour, they warned us that we were in for a disappointment but it was too late as we were already sat down. The poppodums came as little crisps with teeny bowls of chutneys and no spoons to fish what there was out, maybe they reuse so don't want you to get too much out? We miss The Taste Of India in Earlestown! Oh well moving on.
The following day we had a huge breakfast at the hotel, they kept taking away our plates and we kept going back for more, we smuggled muffins out too, excellent. We wandered over to Te Papa, the big national museum, where we bumped into a couple of German cyclists, also from the Taupo camp. The museum was good but nowt really to report, we then headed over to the I Site to book ferry tickets to Picton for Monday, there we met three French cyclists, also from Taupo, it was turning into a very small country. We got the ferry tickets plus booked onto a Lord Of The Rings tour and Zealandia tour for the following day. We then went shopping and had a ride in the famous Wellington cable car. At the viewpoint at the top there is the Carter Observatory which was fortunately open late that evening, we went into there to have a look at the displays and museum and then to watch the David Tennant narrated show in the planetarium, Ruth fell asleep, it was fab though.
For our tea this time we went to a different Lonely Planet recommendation (backed up by local info), this one was called Sweet Mothers Kitchen and is fab, we had loads of tasty food, mostly fried in some way, peanut butter milkshakes and the best coffee ever, Wellington has redeemed itself! We'll be back.