12.05.2012 - 13.05.2012
After a cold night we woke to clear skies and the first sunshine we have had for days giving us some stunning views over Malborough Sounds. We headed to board the ferry and enjoyed a scenic, slightly choppy, crossing watching the clouds over Wellington getting closer and closer! Aboard the ferry we bumped into some of the only people we know in New Zealand (Lou and Mike - some friends from Christchurch) which was extremely random but very welcome!
Windy Wellington lived up to it’s name – it was blowing a hoolie on arrival! However we set off for a small explore to get our bearings around the city, stopping to listen to a random percussion band who were very good and then managed to find ourselves some free tastings of Fair Trade Coffee – excellent! (Joe has a unique ability to hunt out free tastings of any sort of food or drink!) We drove up a very steep and windy road through a very pleasant area of Wellington to reach the Mount Victoria Lookout. Residents of this area where clearly more accustomed to the hairpin bends and single lane roads which meant they were allowed to drive like loonies – this made it even an even more exciting journey! We passed some huge houses seemingly perched on the hills, with car ports literally hanging over the edge. With Wellington being on a huge fault line, and after spending time in Christchurch it does make you wonder how all these areas would hold up in an earthquake – quite literally! Anyway, the views from Mount Victoria over the city and the sea were great – we could see for miles – well worth the little trip!
From here we headed out of the city towards Porirua where we had planned to camp for the night. We made a huge error of doing our shopping on a Saturday afternoon and found the busiest supermarket filled with a huge number of trolley-bashing chavs! As we have every other day of the week free to do shopping we are unsure why we picked this day and we vowed never to go shopping on a Saturday again! Our campsite was adequate for powering up Queenie and doing the weekly washing (of clothes and us!)
We planned an early start to head back into Wellington to see the sites. We visited the huge Te Papa museum which was a mix of all the big museums in London filled with NZ history – very good! We also managed to sample some Wellington Coffee which was very pleasing and then did a rather intellectual tour around the Parliament Buildings. This was really interesting although we had a rather stern guide who stopped talking if anyone made any noise and stared at them until they stopped which lead to some awkward moments of Joe and I stifling giggles! It was really informative though and great to see inside the Lower House, which is pretty much the same as the Lower House in the London Houses of Parliament, where all the debates take place. Wellington appeared to be a really nice city – although very windy indeed!
Driving out of Wellington to our free campsite near Featherston we drove a very exciting road! Not only was it steep and windy, but the winds were blowing at such a strength Queenie almost flirted off the edge – the edge being the edge to a huge drop / gorge! We did an excellent job of being annoying Campervan Drivers and built up a substantial trail of cars behind us as Queenie struggled up the hills! We arrived at our middle-of-nowhere campsite to find most of the camping area inaccessible due to enormous puddles and muddiness – but it is free! Not wanting to risk taking Queenie through any mud we have perched ourselves on the edge of the track, and are enjoying the tranquillity after two days of people and traffic in Wellington!