Friday, June 1, 2012

Walking around Wellington

After Taupo, we went to the southern tip of the North Island and visit the capital.  Once again, I slept most of the bus ride.  We had a day and a half to explore Windy Wellington.  Luck was on our side and the wind was not at its full glory.  We stayed in the downtown backpackers right across the street from the railway station.  We were a couple blocks from the harbor walkway so we opted to see the city the only way we could.  By our own two feet.  I would have loved to bike in Wellington, but I don't think Beth would have joined me.  It is an awesome city for biking and by awesome I mean hilly.  These hills were crazy long and very intense.  Any way I digress.  We were on a mission to see Weta Cave over in Miramar, which was about 11 km away.  We walked through the busy city business district to the base of Mt Vic.

We strolled up this dirt path to the summit of Mt Victoria.  We happened to stumble upon this crazy network of walking/mountain biking trails.  The trails looked awesome and were rated from beginner to advanced.  If I happen to make it back, I will have to hire a bike for an action packed day.  We passed two individuals talking about the Lord of the Rings and how they used this location for a shoot.  I could only assume it was when the 4 hobbits get off the trail when the black rider is looking for the ring.
Heard this is the trail from the movie.

Walking is a great way to see a new city and we came across many interesting pieces you would have missed if you took the bus or drove.  We saw artwork and sculptures that would remain hidden if you choose the faster means of transportation.

Random velodrome and soccer field on the backside of Mt Vic.
One of the interesting things we stumbled across was this velodrome/soccer field that can be found on the backside of Mt Victoria.  The track looked to be in good order and I deeply wished I had access to a track bike.  I wanted to do a few laps so I could send Gabe and Megan a video of me doing my first track session.  Below this was what looked like a prison.  It was completely fenced in and had a guard looking building overlooking the courts.  It was really a netball training ground.  It first appeared to be tennis courts just from color alone, but there stood a backboard free 10 foot tall basket.  Sweet netball.
Lurtz greets you at Weta Cave.
After passing that park, we were getting hangry.  It had been several hours since we started our hike and many more since we had eaten.  We stopped for a few snacks before we found Weta Cave.  We got to see a behind the scenes video about what they have been and are working on.  The Halo stuff looked pretty awesome.  We also got to see their collectible items and snapped a few photos of the shop.  Was it cool?  Yes, but I'm a nerd.  Was it worth it?  I'm glad it was free.  Seeing Sir Ian a couple weeks before was better and I paid to see him.
You eyeballing me?

We took the bus back as Beth's feet had blisters and we are planning on doing the Tongariro Crossing next week.  We also have our running race on Sunday.  Once getting back into the CBD we ate a Napoli Pizza place where we both had calzones.  They were pretty tasty, but I always compare things back to Punch, where I used to work, and these had nothing on Punch.  It was a cheap lunch though.  We spent the rest of the afternoon at Te Papa, a free cultural museum.  I'm glad we did it as we got to see a lot of different cool exhibits, but its way too much for a single afternoon to comprehend.
Exhibit in Te Papa.
The next morning we went to the parliament building affectionately known as the Beehive.  The series of government buildings looked odd as each appeared to be in a different style.  We strolled through the neighborhoods and ended up at the botanical gardens.  We went up to the summit and saw krupp's gun
Krupp's Gun.

We went back to the hostel for a quick snack before boarding the bus for a 10 hour ride.  Yes, 10 hours.  I did manage to stay awake for a lot of the ride and got to enjoy the views from the windows.  We saw mountains, rivers, bikers on the shoulder of the road, rainbows, and lots of i-sites.  The next time I go to Wellington, I will be flying.  I don't care the cost as my back and neck are sore from sleeping in a weird posture.

I'm sure there is plenty that I am missing, but this past week was a whirlwind of sights.  I know if I get back to Wellington that road and mountain biking are in order.  I would also like to get on a sail boat to experience the famous Wellington Winds.

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