I arrived in Wellington, safe and sound, along with my bike and pannier bags. On the plane I sat next to a local, who was polite enough to keep a straight face as I incorrectly pronounced several of the cities on my cycling route. He suggested that I went upstairs after collecting my baggage to see something cool, and yeah, I was impressed.
After settling into the hostel, I met Ann, who was visiting from Auckland to volunteer for a dance conference over the weekend. It was fun to explore town with her and I’m looking forward to catching up when I make it to Auckland in two weeks.
The one thing I didn’t do before leaving Canberra, despite writing it on numerous to do lists, was tell my parents that I had quit my job and decided to go overseas. So on the first night we had that awkward conversation over the phone. I think it went alright, given the circumstance, but I had these little thoughts of doubt afterwards. Luckily I was feeling quite tired from being up since 4am for my early flights, so I fell asleep easily.
On the following morning I went for a ride around the harbour and pondered a bit. It wasn’t long before my worries and fears blew away, along with the 30km/hr winds. Around every corner was something beautiful or quirky. After I passed the airport I just sat there and watched planes take off and land to my left, while surfers were having a blast to my right.
The last two days were quite rainy so I did some touristy stuff like: climbing Mt Victoria, catching the cable car, Zealandia and visiting museums.
People weren’t kidding about the good food and nightlife in Wellington. As long as you’re willing to walk up to 900m from any of the hostels and have even a mild sense of curiosity, you can easily find something good to try. It was fun to just wander around and check out some of the interesting art along the way.
I was surprised by the number of Vietnamese restaurants scattered around the city. I would have liked to try a few of them, but there was just so much to choose from. Little Hanoi was a little tucked away but really good. It was nice to be surrounded by Vietnamese families having lunch, and amusing to see their kids trying to inconspicuously stare at me to figure out if I was Vietnamese or not.
I had an awesome time in Wellington and really appreciated the warmth and friendliness from all the people I came across. I’m excited to see what the rest of New Zealand will be like…