I’ve been in Wellington for a week now and it’s been fantastic. I really love this city. It has much more character than Auckland and for being a small city, it feels quite large. Perhaps because it’s the capital, there’s a lot going on (most of which is free!). There are a slew of museums, cafes, shops and restaurants. The main downtown area is narrow, bordered on one side by the harbor and the other by mountains (hills, really). You can walk the entire length of the city in about 45 minutes, all of it next to the water if you so choose.
My hostel is in the very northern part of the city, surrounded by embassies, literally accross the street from the US Embassy. It’s about a 10 minute walk into town and another 15 to the center of the city. It’s 20 minutes to the Botanic Gardens and maybe an 8 minute walk to Parliament. Anyway, I like the location. The hostel is new. Brand new. As in opened its doors 6 weeks ago. It has free breakfast and free WiFi. They have some kinks to work out, but overall I’d recommend it. Its clean, friendly and well situated. It lacks a bit of character (every wall is white, there are no decorations, no personal touches) but that’s probably because it’s so new.
Highlights of the week!
Botanic Gardens. I wrote about them in my previous post and ended up going a second time. They are so peaceful and beautiful. I found a lovely spot in the grass and read my book (Jane Eyre) for a while and ate lunch.
Bonus! You can watch the planes land and take off at the airport (one of my favorite things to do)
Coffee. I missed the coffee in NZ. It is amazing. Expensive as well, but worth it (well… worth it maybe once a week). Saturday afternoon I went to a cafe and ordered a cappuccino. I paid at the counter and then sat outside to read. I got lost in my book and about 30 minutes later realized I hadn’t received my drink. I went inside and very nicely asked about it. The guy working was incredibly apologetic; he refunded my money and gave me a free drink card! Winning! That’ll be 2 free cappuccinos from that cafe.
Gymnastics. I love gymnastics. Obviously. The gym I found here is reasonably priced ($12 for a 90 minute workout), offers adult workout times 3x/ week, and is fairly close. It’s 30 minutes to get there but it’s walk, bus, walk so 30 minutes goes quickly split like that. Aside- The buses work on a zone system. The gym is located in zone 2, in fact it’s the first stop in zone 2, which makes the fare $3.50 each way. A zone 1 fare is $2. So I take the bus to the edge of zone 1 and walk the extra 10 minutes to the gym. Saves me $3 each practice. Anyway, the gym is pretty nice. Decent equipment if a little old. My workouts have been pretty good so far.
Normal Gym. There’s a big box gym around the corner from my hostel. I finagled a free 7 day pass there. Wohoo for lifting, even if I was the only female in their free weight area, the only one doing legit lifting and pointed out their power rack was facing the wrong direction (the pins were facing the wall, which made it impossible to use the bar outside of the rack, a problem when you want to press). They also don’t have chalk, which is baffling. I’m a gymnast, I love chalk, I need chalk. Lifting without it is like swimming laps without goggles; possible but frustrating, why would you subject yourself to that?
Fruit and Vegetable Market. On Sunday morning I went to a fruit and vegetable market near the national museum. It was awesome! So much cheaper than the grocery store and a lot more variety. I got carrots, cucumber, red peppers, cherries, avocados, red onion, yellow onion, cilantro and bananas for $15-ish. A bargain in NZ! Then I treated myself to a banana and greek yogurt smoothie. It was a stellar Sunday morning. Then it rained the rest of the day.
I’ve decided to stay in Wellington until next Sunday, 02 February, then I’m heading to Dunedin for a gymnastics competition.