The Last Welly Weekend

dun dun dun… DRAMATIC TITLE!

My last weekend which I had to spend in Wellington proper has come and gone, with a little bit of sadness. I actually quite like Wellington, when it’s not blowing me across the road with its wind…

I’m actually in the city for this week and next, but next weekend I’m going to Rotorua, so I will only be in Wellington for a couple of hours and won’t have much time to do anything. My official moving day is July 6th, down to Nelson.

So, as the barista asked me this morning, what did I get up to over the weekend? (Nothing personal there, by the way– baristas here are more chatty than the ones in Canada, and they always ask what my plans are, or what I did over the weekend). On Saturday, the wind was gusting, so I revised my plans to spend half a day outdoors, and decided to go to the Wellington Museum of City and Sea instead. It ended up being a really cool little museum with 3 very well-kept and organized floors. It was also free, which was pretty awesome.

The whole museum, as you can guess from its name, was about Wellington’s settlement/naval history and culture starting from before the British arrived. There was even a cool holographic presentation which projected people and items into an exhibit, where they then talked about what was around them. However, I was unceremoniously kicked out of the presentation by a school group (daycare?) led by a lady in a pirate costume, which is kind of amusing in hindsight. I was already pretty close to the end anyway, so I didn’t end up finishing it. Oh well. The museum also had these kind of… strange… interactive displays. I’m still not sure if they were meant for kids, because they seemed kind of ominous. I’ll add some pictures here once I’ve finished going through them.

Once I was finished there, I grabbed a late lunch/early dinner, and headed over to the Malthouse. This is a very popular hipster bar in the centre of Courtenay Place– they stock a ton of craft beer. The reason for going was to check out their “Darkest Days” themed tap takeover, where all of their beer on tap was changed over for… porters and stouts! I quite like both styles, so it seemed appropriate– and they’d managed to get a hold of some pretty rare beer for this event. I went early, because I knew it would get packed to capacity around 7pm (I’ve walked by it numerous times, and avoided it numerous times for this reason), and managed to catch them during a nice lull in the event. I had two half-pints, one was the Liberty’s Darkest Days stout, and the other was a Good George stout, which (according to the tasting notes) is the Hobbiton stout. I enjoyed that stout when we were in Hobbiton, and hadn’t been able to find it since, so that was a pleasant surprise. I really hope it was the same stout, anyway. My taste buds are not so fantastic as to be able to tell, “yes, this is the same beer I had 3 months ago, how excellent!”

I stopped after the Good George, partially because dark beers are generally higher in alcohol, but also because I was full. As any dark beer lover will tell you, they’re really filling! The thicker ones are like drinking bread (think Guinness).

In not-so-exciting news, I then made a trip to the Warehouse for an electric blanket (finally!!!) and attempted to go to the housewares store to pick up a new water bottle which fits my portable blender (my current one is leaky), but they were closed. I guess I’m going this week instead. Rest of the night was spent relaxing on my electric blanket. No idea how I managed to go so long without one, honestly.

Sunday I tried really hard to get up when my alarm went off… but didn’t make it. I slept in quite a long time. Once I made it outside though, I discovered that it was a really nice day, and the wind had died down a bit, so my outdoor plans were a go. I headed up to the Cable Car, and took the next one up to the end of the line. From there, I caught the Zealandia shuttle.

Zealandia is an eco-reserve in the middle of the city. Its “500-year-vision” is to restore its lands to pre-settler times, when kiwis and large flightless birds roamed the land freely (before settlers brought dogs/cats/goats/sheep/mice/rats/etc.). Did you know that in the pre-settler times, there were no native mammals in New Zealand (aside from one hotly contested genus of bats)? Most of the wildlife here consisted of birds, who presumably crossed over the water on wings. Over time, they lost their wings since there were no predators to fly away from. Hence, when the settlers arrived, the birds were easy pickings for both hunting and for the new carnivorous/omnivorous mammals which were introduced. There are many initiatives underway across New Zealand to restore the native wildlife to its former peak (those which aren’t extinct now, anyway), and Zealandia is one of them.

It was a really cool place to spend most of a day. I only wish I’d had the foresight to wear hiking boots– I was outside, hiking, for the better part of 90 minutes, on some dirt trails. But it was a great place, and really peaceful. Birds were flying everywhere, and there were even two takahe (swamp hens) roaming around. They also had a really excellent cafeteria, which made superb coffees. Part of Zealandia is also an indoors exhibit, so that was quite good as well. All in all, a really good experience! The only thing which was annoying was that I missed the shuttle back to the cable car, so I ended up firstly nearly getting on a bus in the wrong direction, and then caught the one in the right direction by a hair. I wandered down to the waterfront for some pictures, and decided to eat at the Crab Shack on the waterfront– I even managed to slide in right before the supper rush, so that was pretty awesome. I’d wanted to go there for ages, but it was always too busy. One more thing checked off the list!

So what’s remaining? Today is Wednesday, and I take off on Saturday morning for Rotorua. Gotta unearth my swimsuit, for starters (Rotorua has many geothermally heated bathing pools– even my motel has two). I don’t have any major “Wellington sights” left which I will regret not seeing, so that’s a good thing. Just need to hit the housewares place when it’s actually open for a water bottle, go to the post office to send off some stuff, clean out my desk at the coworking space, and that’ll be all! I guess the only piece of unfinished business I’ll end up with is not completing the Craft Beer Trail. I started it too late, and I don’t drink every day :P. I hear there’s one in Nelson too though, so I’m hoping it’s shorter!

That’s all for this week! Next post will probably be post-Rotorua, so stay tuned for that!

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