Tag Archives: wellington

Wellington visit

24 Dec

Some pics of Mum and Martin’s recent visit to Wellington – lovely to see them both and we were thoroughly spoilt. Managed to cram in quite a bit in and show them Wellington and the surrounding areas:

Top of Mount Vic

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Rimutaka Range on the way to Martinborough, a region famous for its wines

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At a vineyard

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Lunch spot

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Not usually a fan of taking pictures of every meal but this was so pretty couldn’t resist

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On the way to Lake Ferry

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Wanganui

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NZ’s only steam paddle boat

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Up on the cable car to the botanic gardens

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Amazing steaks at Crazy Horse

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Te Papa and the World of Wearable Art exhibition

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Po boys at Sweet Mama’s Kitchen

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…And then it was over :( But we had a lovely time during their visit and we are looking forward to family visit round two when Dad and Susan get here in late Jan.

We’ve got a tiny Christmas tree to match our tiny tree and will be sitting down to a traditional roast tomorrow – barbeques in Broome just didn’t cut it last year! Wellington’s blowing a gale today so it is almost cold and nearly feels like a normal Christmas – although the sun sets past 9 here and we don’t have any ‘bonbons’ (crackers) – and then we’re off to Raglan and New Plymouth to visit our friends before the New Year and back to the grindstone :)

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Where has a month gone?

15 Sep

We’ve mainly been working and not doing much recently but this is what we’ve been up to in between times:

Wellington on a Plate Festival – the hundreds of restaurants in Wellington put on special offers, courses, menus etc for a week. We took full advantage by visiting Logan Brown which we wouldn’t normally be able to afford to do. They did a five course meal for $65 which was delicious, and is an old bank building so the surroundings are lovely too.

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Went to see ‘Love and Money’ – and introduced to a whole new art form of ‘physical theatre’. People doing amazing things with their amazing bodies!

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Completed another ridiculous walk, this time to try and stave off a horrendous cold (didn’t work sadly). I think we ended up walking around 25 miles around what felt like the whole coast of New Zealand, but the views were lovely. There were some cool wind-themed sculptures by the bay…Wellington is the windiest city in the Southern Hemisphere.

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I also had my birthday (same day as Grandpa, Happy Birthday to you too!) and have been rather delighted to find I am now a spring baby rather than an autumn one. So instead of my birthday signalling the annual six-month darkening, we find ourselves surrounded by snowdrops, daffodils and daisies. According to the paper, this change means that I will do less well at school, be less sporty, be more likely to develop an eating disorder but less chance of having asthma than autumn babies. Excellent.

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Took a walk up Mount Victoria, which sounds very energetic but it’s a bit of a rubbish mountain being only 196m and you are able to drive up to the top. The views are worth the climb though as you can see the CBD and harbour, the many bays and out to the South Island. We’re having a gorgeous spell of weather at the moment (except on my birthday which was freezing – some things never change).

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We have also bitten the bullet and bought a car. Something practical that we can chuck our stuff in and go camping, or trundle around at the weekend making the weekly shop a bit easier.

This?

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No.

This?

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No.

THIS:

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Just another example of our sensible, clinical and logical decisions made whilst abroad. The rest of New Zealand, here we come (slowly)…

 

Rudely awakened/ashakened

24 Jul

Another earthquake shook me awake this morning but not enough for my poor brain to register that anything bad was happening so fell blissfully back to sleep having slept very badly over the last few days as every quiver I felt jolted me back awake thinking the worst was going to happen. Craig didn’t even wake up which is a good sign. As I work for the Earthquake Commission I get emails of every earthquake felt in the country for information – when I got into work on Monday I had 163 emails! Things seems to be settling down thank goodness but people are still very rattled. Today was the first day at work where the building didn’t shake so hopefully that’s the end of it and things can get back to normal!

Having said that, as the royal baby was born the other day, Wellington Port put on a 21 gun salute in celebration. When everyone’s nerves are shot to pieces after the storms and earthquakes, hearing gun fire wasn’t the most reassuring thing in the world!

And another one…

21 Jul

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/21/earthquake-rattles-new-zealand-capital

6.9 this time. We were just settling down to watch a film and our flat started shaking but it soon became apparent that this was a big one so when the washing up started falling on the floor we ran to the bathroom doorway and stood there waiting it out – don’t think our hearts have gone that fast since cross country in middle school…everyone in our block came outside afterwards and said hello and checked everyone was alright which was nice. First thing tomorrow it’s time to get an earthquake kit together I think! We’ve had several aftershocks from the ones over the weekend and the CBD has had glass everywhere and concrete collapse but thankfully everyone seems to be ok. New Zealand has 20,000 earthquakes a year so it was going to happen at some point but was hoping they’d be somewhat further apart!

http://m.nzherald.co.nz/#!/video.cfm?gallery_id=134328

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/8946467/Deserted-Wellington-CBD-streets-after-quake

EQ

In the bleak midwinter…

14 Jul

We have been going a bit stir-crazy recently as Winter has properly hit Wellington which means we’ve been staring at the same four walls for what feels like weeks. We had a storm two weeks ago that was the worst in twenty years, knocking out  power to 30,000 homes, causing landslips and stopping most of the transport – a downside of living close to the centre is that we could definitely go into work. I stood watching glass panels from the office block across the road blow out of their roof and land on the pavement and finally got to see the typical Wellington sight of rubbish bins stuffed with broken umbrellas! Craig tore a ligament in his back last weekend so has been at home bored so we decided to do something fun and hire a car again for the weekend and see where the wind (literally) took us.

The pin on the map said Lake Wairarapa so we packed the NZ equivalent of Wotsits, our new bargain satnav ($50 second hand) and the camera and off we went. Sadly we got a bit carried away admiring the beautiful Rimutaka mountain range – or would have been beautiful had it been sunny – and didn’t turn off so we ended exploring a bit further North than planned. But we found a lovely country pub

 

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that did massive portions of lunch and proper pints for no money so we were happy. The landlady recommended an alternative way home so got to see countryside that was a bit different from on the way up and we were home: essentially, a very expensive exercise in eating a pub lunch. But despite the rubbish weather and lack of actually doing anything, we enjoyed it as it was nice to get out of the city. We assured ourselves the weather would be better the next day anyway, and we would find our elusive Lake.

We did find MASSIVE NZ pigeons which were the size of eagles so it was a pretty good day all in all

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We also went for a little impromptu off-roading sesh in homage to our time at Delmore. This decision was based on “that mountain has snow! I love snow! Let’s go and find snow!” Sadly the driving rain and our lack of 4×4 put us off actually going all the way but it was a lovely/terrifying drive down a little track and halfway up a mountain (hopefully the rental company won’t see this)

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As we were setting off this morning, we turned on the radio and heard that “Wellington will be battered by storm so it looks like an indoors day”. Ha! We snorted. We will not be in Wellington so this will not apply to us, the fools.

 

We stopped off at Petone on the way to get a couple of Macs just in case and although the weather was miserable, we were confident it would brighten up. In fact, if we’d had a wind-breaker and deck chairs, we probably would have stayed on the beach soaking up the sun

 

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Testing out the new jacket:

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I say jacket, I mean jackets. Yes, we have become one of those couples we usually sneer at who have matching jackets. There were no women’s waterproofs available, honest. Nothing says “you’re middle-aged” like a matching jacket and the only defence being “it was the practical choice”. The stories we’ll be able to tell our children…

So we made it to Lake Wairarapa:

 

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Half of what you see here used to be fields until a few days ago because of the rain. It is apparently quite picturesque when not in the midst of a gale.

Not to be deterred, we went to find Lake Ferry. We found it and sat in the car whilst it rocked from side to side because of the wind – I opened the door to get a picture of just how grim it was and nearly lost the camera. This was the best I could do

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And this was the result after 20 seconds outside of the car

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We perhaps optimistically proceeded to a nearby spot to go for a walk but given that on the way there, there were bushes in the middle of the road, the cliff sides were dropping into the road and the sea was encroaching over the tarmac, we gave it a miss and turned around for the three hour drive back. The jackets probably got a five minute outing at the most. Perhaps that’s for the best.

 

 

 

Best. Weekend. Ever.

3 Jun

Due to the lack of a car our weekends have mainly been spent exploring the Wellington city area

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which is lovely but we’re not used to cities so craved some greenery…so off we went last Sunday on a monster walk down the Hutt River Trail – a 20 mile plus walk along the river which was beautiful although slightly marred by the motorway that followed the route so not the peaceful experience we thought it was going to be. It was nice to be outside and doing some exercise though and the views were great

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We walked our little trotters off though – leg muscles are approx. 95% shorter after that!

We walked from Upper Hutt back to the CBD – everyone at work’s reaction was…why!?

I would have posted a more thorough update last weekend but sadly I fell asleep watching Downton Abbey in bed and my laptop fell down the tiny crack between the bed and came to rest 2m down – goodbye laptop. Luckily the hard drive miraculously survived but the computer was no more. Dropping it was exactly how the last laptop died – lessons obviously were not learnt :(

We had a long weekend this weekend because of the Queen’s birthday – went for drinks after work and everyone was asking what we were doing for it…seemed such a waste to say nothing because of lack of car so someone suggested hiring a car so by 6pm Friday we’d booked one and had randomly decided on Rotorua because one of our Broome friends had recommended it…

…Didn’t quite realise it was 500km away but we thought the journey would be worth it. We were not disappointed: the drive was almost like sightseeing in itself.

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Lake Taupo – the largest lake in Australasia

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The mountain range which formed the set of Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings films.

Every corner yielded amazing scenery -whether bucolic rolling hills with meticulous rings around them from the sheep going round and round and round or the sea views across the bays towards the South Island or cliffs and rivers

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It was just beautiful. Well worth the seven plus hours in the car! And given they drive on the left and there’s only 4.5m people in NZ, with 1.5m in Auckland and 0.5m in Wellington, the roads were empty so it was a relaxing meander through the countryside to Rotorua.

Once we were there, we set about trying to find accommodation, no mean feat when it’s a bank holiday weekend. Everyone we rang said it was going to be at least $100 per night, which seemed a little steep. Until we rang the last motel who said it was going to be $150 per night, with the magic words “private spa pool”. Suddenly $150 seemed incredibly reasonable and after a quick discussion we decided we’d worked very hard recently and we deserved a proper break :)

Rotorua is famous for its geothermal activity so we checked in and had a lovely warm bath in the mineral spa which is naturally nearly 40 degrees. The next morning we went to explore the volcanic valley:

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And ended up having a lakeside lunch

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It looks like the end of the world: steam rising up from rocks – not just in the designated geothermal parks but also next to the motorway, in people’s gardens, next to the supermarket…it was amazing

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THIS AMAZING.

Sadly the pay off for all the beauty was the egg smell, but I am glad we took the opportunity to take the mickey out of each other for farting continuously throughout the weekend, it made us feel a little less old considering we’d essentially come on a voluntary geology field trip and Craig had just bought a jumper with leather elbow patches…

The next day we got up early and went to see the other main geothermal site in the area. It was hugely foggy which just made things better because you couldn’t see where the steam ended and the sky began – it was basically like being in Jurassic Park. We were a bit early so detoured down a little route which looked exciting and ended up seeing a mud pool which we had all to ourselves:

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But the piece de resistance was the park itself – as we got there so early we had it all to ourselves and it was stunning. The colours, smells, sounds of the steam and mud boiling were unreal. From the tiniest things

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To the weirdest things

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it was sublime. Made all the better for having it to ourselves with only the little fantails and finches for company.

Craig developed a worrying love of bridges

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Hopefully with the right medication he’ll be alright in time.

We even got to see a geyser erupt – the area used to be inhabited by prisoners a hundred years ago (after the massive volcano erupted which has resulted in the geothermal parks) and they found by accident whilst doing their washing that soap in the hot water triggered a chain reaction which meant the ground exploded:

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Before

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During

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After

After all the excitement we were a little disappointed to go home but luckily our sat nav decided to play tour guide on the way home and took us on the most random route…down country lanes, over rivers and streams and through little villages so it wasn’t too taxing. And to top it all off we arrived home to find a package from Joy at home containing beers, sweets, nibbles and insanely hot sauce (she knows me so well). Couldn’t have wished to have a better time!

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Lyall Bay walk – Easter Island statue

19 May

Lyall Bay walk - Easter Island statue