This post is dedicated to Jon, Tanya, Sascha, and Nadia, our hosts in Wellington. Tanya owns and operates Decorada, a boutique bakery in Wellington.
Sunday, 14-09-2014. Day 25.
An Udderly Fantastic Day
We left Ohakune with a small amount of sadness. It had been our home for two days, the longest we'd been somewhere since we'd left Easter Island. Driving the behemoth for more than a few hours was nerve-wracking for me, and we had a pretty significant drive ahead of us to get to Wellington, so we planned on taking a few rest breaks along the way.
When it comes to rest breaks, you never quite know where to stop until you're nearly on top of them. There are many rest stops along Highway 1, and there are many signs posted along the way that say "Fatigue Kills: Take a Break." A direct people, these New Zealanders. The trick is, these rest stops come up pretty quick, with 300 meters notice, and when you're hurtling down the road at 90 kmh in a 3,500 kg monstrosity with half of New Zealand backed up behind you, turning 90 degrees into a tiny rest stop is not the easiest thing to do. But when we did manage it, the views were usually pretty incredible.
Every so often, you see a town coming up that just demands to be visited. Such is the case with Bulls, which billed itself as an udderly incredi-bull place. How can you pass that up? We couldn't, so we pulled into Bulls, found a place to park, and did some walking around. There's a lot to do in Bulls.
It was time for lunch, so we were keeping an eye out for a likely restaurant. I was keen to try Himalayan Bull, a Himalayan/Indian restaurant a try, but it was closed (it was just spring when we visited, so much of the tourist trade wasn't running at full steam yet). So instead we ended up at Mothered Goose, where the girls discovered the delecti-bull New Zealand delight known as the Fluffy (foamed milk enhanced with rainbow sprinkles and a side of marshmallow).
We had a brief, but delight-bull time in Bulls, An Unforgettabull Town. We certainly won't forget it. You should check it out!
After we left Bulls, we pushed on to Wellington, arriving in New Zeland's capital city about 4:00 p.m.
We negotiated the camper van through the side streets of Wellington to the home of Jon, Tanya, Sascha and Nadia, our hosts for the evening.
The first thing Frankie and Jackie did was to create a gingerbread house from a kit that Tanya had ready for them.
Tanya owns Decorada, a pastry shop in Wellington, and she often hosts gingerbread house parties (which is a brilliant idea).
For the rest to the evening, we enjoyed pleasant conversation along with New Zealand beer, wine, cheese, and a delicious lamb dinner. Frankie and Jackie were happy to have kids their own age to hang out with for a change, and Samantha and I were happy to be able to talk to adults for longer than a few minutes.
After dinner, Jon gave Samantha and I a tour of Wellington (the four girls got on quite well, so ours stayed behind to hang out longer). We went to the Wellington Airport to see the giant Gollum and giant Gandalf riding an eagle.
Then we went up to the Mount Victoria Lookout, which offers a full 360-degree view of the city. We watched the evening run of the Interislander leave for the South Island. We'd be on that same ferry the next afternoon.
One of Wellington's coolest features is the Town Belt, a large green space that circles the city and is full of walking trails, biking trails and parks. One of the plaques on top of the lookout calls it the "lungs of the city." Here's a full map of the Wellington Town Belt (pdf).
Jon also drove past the American embassy (I'd never seen one before) and down into the governmental center of Wellington before we headed back to the house.
That night, as we got the girls ready for bed, they were introduced to the luxury of the hot water bottle, which is not a common thing in Los Angeles. I suspect, though, we'll be investing in a pair once we get back home.
- Kilometers driven: 260
- Fluffys Consumed: 2
- Friends made: 4
- Gingerbread houses built: 1
Decorada is a boutique bakery in Wellington, New Zealand that makes fantastic custom biscuits, cakes, and cupcakes. Tanya, who hosted us in Wellington, does much of the work herself. She also hosts Gingerbread Decorating Parties, and we can attest first-hand that these are a lot of fun.