Day 6 – Massively overambitious in my itinerary for the day. I wanted to make up for what I deemed was a “lost” day yesterday, even though it clearly wasn’t, and so I jam packed my day. I bought the ferry ticket to the North Island the night before. No way was I staying in town for Elton John madness. The ferry was slotted to leave port at 5pm, but I needed to register my car by 4pm. That left from 8am – 4pm to pack in as much of Windy Wellington as I possibly could. This frantic attitude did not end up being very conducive to a nice morning.
This was the plan:
First – exchange my non-locking car at Omega rental in Wellington. How on god’s green earth could they give me a car that doesn’t lock? For shame.
Then – Hop on the cable car (iconic Wellington thing) to a lookout point and ooo and aaa at the views. Walk the botanic gardens.
After which – Go to Zealandia, sanctuary for rare birds and other cute things.
Followed by – Visit to Wellington’s Te Papa museum which has been spoken of favorably many times on this trip.
After that – Weta Cave Workshop visit to get my behind the scenes Lotr fix.
Capped with – a visit to a brewery that came highly recommended by Matt earlier this week: Garage Project.
And finally – drop off a gift for the generous couple that housed me free of charge last night.
This was a stupid plan. I realized that this was a stupid plan at around item #2. And for a while I grappled with the perfectionist in me that said, in a very curt voice, I must do all of these things or I’d be a failure and my trip to Wellington, and New Zealand for that matter, would all be for nought. Naturally, this made me all stressed and tense. Luckily for me, I was able to shut her up and what started as an anxiety-ridden dash to the finish line ended up being way more chilled out and way more fun.
The plan in action:
First – feelings of deep shame at Omega. Though the remote lock for my car was indeed dysfunctional, the car locked just fine. You just couldn’t do it from inside. You had to turn the key. Old-fangled technology is tricky, y’all.
Then – hopped on the cable car. It was smack dab in the middle of the busy city center, so finding a spot for my non-cable car was tricky and a tad frustrating. It was a silly little ride too. I mean, I enjoyed it because it was quaint and cute, but certainly nothing spectacular. I did really dig the light show on the way to the top. We passed a cricket game on our way up, which was neat. Views from the top were very nice indeed, and the botanical gardens were both lush and luscious.
After which – instead of Zealandia or Te Papa museum, I headed straight to Weta Caves. It was interesting, and I’m glad I went. But so many tourists, the scary and annoying kind of nerds (is that me?!?!), and our tour guide was a newb and it showed. Luckily there was back up for her, but mannnn it was still just awkward to watch her fumble through it. She was super sweet and lovely, just wasn’t on point quite yet and the tour suffered for it. It was only an hour long tho and I learned some inneresting stuff – like that mithril is made out of butcher glove material, whereas all the other chainmail for the movies was a big challenge, because heavy, and took many months of tinkering to pin down a decent solution that is now patented to Weta Caves.
Followed by – a frantic search for WiFi to connect with friends + fam re: birthday wishes. I was treated like some kind of leper every time I asked if a coffee shop or restaurant offered WiFi. This could be my one major complaint about NZ.
Capped with – a siiiick visit to one of the cooler breweries I’ve ever been to. The Garage Project was a perfect recommendation. The reason for their name is they’re situated in what used to be a gas station. They describe themselves as not a micro brewery, but a nano brewery. Garage Project brews tiny batches of beer, and because they’re tiny, they go wild experimenting. I tried quite a few of their beers, and holy hecuba was I blown away. Here’s a sampling of some of the more unusual experiments:
- Cabbages & Kings: Oysters, horopito (pepper), and smoked malt.
- Death From Above: Mango, vietnamese mint, and chili
- La Calavera Catrina: Maize, watermelon, habanero chili, and rose water
- Pan Pacific: Toasted coconut, golden syrup, and oats
One of them was brewed with cilantro… I mean. Here’s the thing about them. Their beers aren’t just crazy experiments gone wrong or interesting but meh, not drinkable. I loved every single beer I tasted. They were unbelievable. And the tap rotates twice a day… and the lady handling the sampling was incredibly knowledgeable and way awesome too. I loved it. I wish I could scoop up the plot of land and plant them in Uptown. Instead I just bought many many many of their beers.
And finally – I did manage to drop off a couple beers from the brewery as a thank you to my hosts the night before. It was unexpected but appreciated, as far as I can tell.
By now, it was about time to catch the ferry. I had one last thing that I absolutely needed to do in Wellington – and that’s get me some coffee. Their coffee scene was rumored to be top-notch, and turns out that was not all hype. Not even a little bit.
Caffeinated, and feeling good about my day, it was time to catch the ferry. Turned out to be a much easier process than I expected, seeing as I had a car and all. Drove onboard, and headed up to my *premium* cabin, premium because I wanted a taste of what the other side lives like. Also it was just not that expensive for *premium* and included all you can drink, eat, and – most importantly – WiFi!!! But even the allures of WiFi paled in comparison to the views along the way. I bid adieu to the North Island, and greeted the South Isle, and the second portion of my journey to Middle Earth.