Welly weekends: Mt. Vic and Red Rocks

We covered a lot of ground this weekend! 18.2km / 33,072 steps in fact (thanks phone pedometer!). We crashed out on Sunday afternoon feeling achy, windswept and happy – the state we’re hoping to find ourselves most Sunday afternoons between now and 19th December.

We wanted to tick a few things off our “city” list early doors, as we want to spend the weekends exploring further afield if we can. Friday night I met Rob in town after work and we checked out a few bars along Courtenay Place. First stop, a rooftop bar called Dirty Little Secret (great name!), which was “inspired by Melbourne’s laneways” (I can concur #clang) with fairy lights all over the place, a big shipping container bar and lots of colourful murals.

Then we went to The Library, an awesome little place tucked away up a flight of stairs which does cocktails, sweet treats, and cheese. Apparently Liv Tyler was there loads while filming Lord Of The Rings… !! Sadly (for Rob) no sign of Liv this time, but I very much enjoyed my Apple Pie martini all the same.

We were pretty hungry after that so decided to try a tapas place we’d seen called Basque. It’s so brightly coloured on the outside that we figured it would be our kinda place, and we were right! There was a real buzzy, Friday-night atmosphere inside and we were lucky to get a table pretty much straight away (wouldn’t get that in London would you!). And the FOOD! We have made some tapas-related mistakes in the past (essentially, oh my god why did we order/eat so much) so we were fairly restrained… yes, that GIANT PLATTER above is our version of “restrained”. (#ilovemanchego).

And anyway, we needed to fuel ourselves up for a big old weekend of walking. Though that wasn’t the reason I was up bright and early (like… really early) on Saturday. I went to my very first running club!!

Wellington Harriers are the same guys who organised the 10k the weekend before. I’ve never been brave enough to go to a running club back home. But there’s something quite freeing about only knowing one other person in the entire country (*hemisphere); it gives you the confidence to do things you wouldn’t normally do at home. And anyway, any fears were unfounded as they were super friendly. Basically everyone lapped me (I never said I was fast!) but they were so nice about it!… It was really nice to meet some people. Just hoping I can figure the buses out to get there once we move.

They did freak me out a little bit about Auckland though. Some of them have done it and the word “undulating” came up a few too many times for me to be comfortable with. I am definitely going to throw some hills in for the next few weeks!! (less than 5 weeks to go… sponsor me heeeeeere thanks!).

Back home and freshly showered, our weekend could really begin! And there is no better way to start a weekend than with BRUNCH. AND, there’s no better place for brunch in Wellington than Prefab!

It’s on Jessie St, behind Courtenay Place, and has been recommended to us soooo many times (inc. by former Newcastle United player, Steven Taylor – not even joking) that we knew it had to be our first brunch in Kiwi land. We got there at 11.30, aka. Peak Brunch O’Clock, but only had to wait a few minutes for a table. Inside it is gorgeous, all concrete floors and pale wood, with floor-to-ceiling windows around and enormous bi-fold doors. And those flowers! I was obsessed. Serious #interiorsinspo. (Nikki – if you’re reading this – I think you’d love it!).

I don’t have any photos of what we ate (FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING RIGHT) which shows you how good it was.

Brunched up, it was time for Te Papa, NZ’s national museum. Yes, it’s a museum, but it’s not dry or dull or dusty – it’s so interesting. Though sadly… we couldn’t be reunited with our old friend the Colossal Squid. They’re putting a new exhibition in so C-Squiddy is currently off-limits. Sad times.

We consoled ourselves with Te Papa’s current hit – Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War.  All I knew about this exhibition was that Weta Workshop was behind it. For those that don’t know (erm, where have you been?) Weta is the GENIUS studio that made Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, and plenty of others that I don’t get quite as emotional over. They have a studio in Miramar (aka Wellywood) where I had genuinely one of the most nerdtastic afternoons of my life last time we were here.

You can tell a movie studio has had a hand in it; the highlight are the enormous, incredibly lifelike statues of the individuals whose stories are woven through the exhibition, but as well as that, the music, projections, storytelling – you really do feel like you’re in a film, rather than a museum. It’s fantastic! And lame as it may sound, I really did learn a lot. Gallipoli was NZ’s big WW1 involvement and again we found ourselves truly mind-boggled over the link NZ feels/felt with us. They essentially woke up, Britain had gone to war, so they felt compelled to help “the mother country” and get involved too. (Well, that’s what the exhibition said, I’m sure not everyone felt/feels the same way!). It’s crazy, seeing the strength of the bond (historical and current) NZ feels with us. It doesn’t seem to flow the other way at all.

Despite us (me) not being appropriately dressed, we (I) decided we should take advantage of the lovely afternoon and go up Mt Victoria, the highest point in Welly. Everything we’d read and everyone we’d spoken to suggested it was a pretty easy walk, a nice little stroll to the top, gorgeous views once you get there. 25 mins, tops!

Well. Let me tell you this. Never listen to a Kiwi when they are describing “a hill” to you. It was about 25 mins, but some of those mins were just laughably steep!! I was wearing Converse. Woops.

It was beautiful though, winding through the forest before scrambling up a near vertical stretch emerging at the very top. Where there’s a car park. Because some sensible people drive up. Ffs.

The views were 100% worth it though.

There are a few different routes up, so maybe we just picked a silly one! We started from Oriental Bay but walked home through the Town Belt which was much more picturesque.

More walks on Sunday! We went out to Island Bay, one bay along from Houghton Bay, where we’re moving this Saturday. It is STUNNINNGGGGGGGG.

This part of the coast is the Taputeranga Marine Reserve. R is going to do his PADI diving course here later in the trip. It was about a 45-minute walk to Red Rocks, where there’s a seal colony at certain times of year (though we didn’t see any). We sat on a bench eating our packed lunch, school trip style, and could see the South Island across the Cook Strait (can you see it in the pic below?). Absolutely amazing. I can see this becoming a regular Sunday afternoon walk when we’re living over that way. Can’t wait for it to be warm enough for beach picnics!

Though it did occur to us last night that in Houghton Bay we are more Tsunami Front Line than Tsunami Safe Zone. Hmm.

We’ve got a few more bits and bobs on this week: I’ve got a meeting about some temp work (booooo) on Wednesday and we’re going to a pub quiz with some people from R’s work. And we’re excited to check out Laundry on Cuba St (date night + long run rewards!). Then moving day on Saturday, and possibly another walk somewhere outside the city on Sunday if the weather’s good. Did you know the Stairway to Heaven’s in Welly?

Slang of the day: Crook – feeling rough/dodgy/unwell (“He’s got a crook stomach”); Dairy – newsagent/corner shop.

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