Sunday, February 19, 2012

"Careful, you won't want to leave."

So said a fellow I met on the bus up from Christchurch, about Wellington.

It's like a small San Francisco, with the hills, artsy reputation, and cool rainy weather. I'm couchsurfing with a cool guy named Joe, who lives in a pretty great spot, where the above picture is taken from. It's up in the hills, but only a 20-30 minute walk (through a gorgeous lush park) to the city center. Best of all worlds.

I kind of don't want to leave. It's big enough to have a good downtown, a couple of arts festivals, alternative newspapers, restaurants from all sorts of different cultures, etc, but still small enough that you can walk around it all. It's got all the consumable things I like: single origin coffee (at Peoples and Flight, at least), amazing ice cream (Kaffee Eis), craft beer (e.g. Hop Garden), and even passable wifi throughout the city center. (in NZ this is a big deal; you usually don't get it free with your coffee) And the weather is perfect.

What have I been doing in Wellington, besides talking about how great it is? The other day I went to the Weta Cave, a tiny museum and gift shop by the Weta movie-special-effects company. The company is super cool: a video showed a short bit of how they make effects for all these films (incl LotR). They're the second biggest such company in the world, after Pixar. That's neat. The Weta Cave itself is... really small. Not sure it's actually worth a visit.
I did meet this guy though.

Other end of the spectrum: Te Papa. This is like four museums in one. I got museum fatigue, but still enjoyed the modern art bit and the colossal squid.

Also, I went to my first ever live cricket match.
The pitch before the match

tl;dr: American goes to foreign country, loves foreign sport. It was great, though! New Zealand beat South Africa in 20/20 cricket (a short form that just takes 3 hours, not all day or multiple days). Pretty down to the wire, too: they needed 6 runs from the last 6 balls (not difficult, but not a given), and they got them. Martin Guptill hit something like 73 not out on 58 balls, which is really good.

This week, I had planned to go to Tongariro National Park, to hike the famous Tongariro Crossing (and climb Mt. Doom). Look at the pictures! But you need good weather, and this week is all rain and gale force winds. So now I'm not sure what to do.

I'm thinking about hanging out in Wellington for a week. Cons: vague feeling like I'm missing out on something. People would scoff at me because you don't go to NZ to hang out in cities. Pros: I'm thinking about working-vacationing, like my friends Jay, Raph, and Gary have done, and this could be just the rest period/kickstart I need. Also, it'd be pretty cheap. Also also, seeing things because other people think I should see them is boring, and the only thing I know of that I personally wanted to see on the north island is the Tongariro crossing.


  1. I suggest staying. The comfortable feeling as you get more used to a place is a nice change from the stress of being lost in a foreign land.

  2. Take a brief vacation from your vacation. Also, take more pictures of cute boys, yourself included.

  3. Wellington sounds great! You have seen enough of other places for a while....listen to your instincts and stay a week!

  4. First thing I would do is the Maori Haka for "this guy" shown above. Let him know you are not afraid.
    Settling down for a few days sounds great, especially if you love the place. Wish we could have done so on our trip. Maybe the weather will clear and you can see the National Park and hike the crossing, but climbing Mt Doom doesn't sound worth it (on hands and knees, per on blogger!)

  5. Thanks all for the advice! I have wisely followed it.