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open mind, empty stomach

travel, food, and fun

Wellington couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. My second day – especially the morning – was much more subdued. I spent the morning retracing my steps from the day before. I returned to the gourmet food store Burt had shown me and spent more time drooling over the amazing food selection, then returned to Havana Coffee Works for another outstanding coffee. Next up was Wellington’s number one draw: Te Papa.

Museums tend to not be my thing. That being said, I LOVED Te Papa. It’s ultra-modern in design, loaded with interesting exhibits, and has a definite focus on Maori culture and the environment (admission is also free and they have free wifi). Hawai’i NEEDS a place like this. I ended up spending several hours there on back to back days and still couldn’t get enough. Seriously, it was the best museum I’ve ever been to. Sorry Vatican.

My only other touristy thing for Wellington was visiting Red Rocks and Sinclair Head Reserve Seal Colony on the south coast. The famous red rocks were just that, red rocks and didn’t really justify the hour walk it took to get to them. About 20 minutes later I arrived at Sinclair Head. I saw the signs for the seals, which even stated that this was the season, but I didn’t see any of the marine mammals. Then I saw one. Then another. Then another hundred! It was incredible. I was the only person there and spent over an hour watching and taking pictures with the biggest grin on my face. The walk was definitely worth it.

Yet again, I was able to find great CouchSurfing hosts in Wellington. Six interesting, smart, and entertaining flatmates welcomed me into their home for my last couple nights in town. They are an international bunch who love to travel and represent what CS is all about. They get along extremely well and function as a family. It was a treat to spend time with them, even if it was only a short stay.

The food in Wellington was good and I only scratched the surface of what New Zealand’s capital city has to offer. I had some seriously good spicy clay pot beef tendon from KC Cafe on Burt’s recommendation. On the walk to Red Rocks, I randomly stopped in at Blue Belle Cafe in Island Bay for a meat pie and a coffee, which were both great. One of my dining companions at the chefs’ luncheon told me to check out his place, La Boca Loca and try the carnitas. The pork was extremely good, but at $22 for 2 small tacos with rice and beans I won’t be going back again. My wonderful CS hosts cook and eat the evening meal together and fed me dinner for the two nights I was with them.

Wellington went by really quickly. It seemed like I just got there and was on the ferry to Picton to begin my South Island journey. Although brief, I truly enjoyed my time in Wellington and wouldn’t mind spending more time there on my next visit to New Zealand.

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