Vlog by Ludivine (tour of the camper – before returning it): see below
We leave National Park quite late (10am). Nothing special on the road; I spent a lot of time on my phone, trying to figure out the things to do during our short stay in Wellington. We indeed stay only 2 nights since we canceled one to do the Tongariro Crossing yesterday.
We arrive a bit late (2:30pm) at the location of the campervan company, which is located 30’ outside Wellington. But the owner of the company, Maryann, is super cool (“no worries”). We did 1,250 km with this camper.
There is a shuttle waiting for us to drop us in Wellington city centre, at the YHA where we stay for 2 nights. It is super central. We have a room, with 2 bunk beds and 1 extra bed. We’re a bit cramped…
I go to the post office to get my ‘Petit Futé’ guidebook that DetourNZ sent to me.
I go to a photo shop but they cannot repair my camera. They gave me the contact details of a shop where I could send it for repair.
I go back to the hostel. Isabelle is busy with the laundry while the kids rest, enjoying the good Wi-Fi. By 7pm, their internet limit of the day (2 Gb!) is already finished.
We take a shower and go to eat in Cuba Street. Restaurants are busy. We end up at ‘El Matador’, a vibrant Argentinian eatery where we share a copious and very good steak plate (while Ludivine takes a vegetarian burger). Nice dinner.
We come back at the hostel around 10:30pm, all very much tired.
I work downstairs, till 1am.
A few pieces of info about Wellington: Wellington (300,000 inhabitants) is famous for being NZ’s constitutional and cultural capital. It is infamous for its weather. The average wind speed is 14 knots; it’s the windiest city in the world (it’s known as “Windy Welly”). Wellington is the world’s southernmost capital city and considered the most remote capital city in the world.
This morning I forgot to vlog so I am writing the day. So, this morning we woke up at 9:30-9:45. We got ready and left to go try to find food because we didn’t have anything left. We found a little bakery and we ate. I took a “pain au chocolat”. It was good. Then we went to see the Te Papa museum. It was really well explained and a bit interactive. I honestly didn’t really like it but I didn’t hate it. Mom and I then went to the hostel and stayed in our beds. We read and I almost fell asleep but I didn’t. When Ludivine, Jules and dad came home, dad prepared lunch and by the time we ate, it was 4! It was a kind of salad with chicken, rice, and a bunch of other vegetables. It was really good. After that we went to pack our luggage and that took a lot of time. It was hard to do because we were all in a small room all packing our luggage. When we were done we got ready to go to a concert. The concert is actually a guy that recreated shows like Michael Jackson, sings like Michael Jackson and stuff like that. It was AMAZING!!!! I loved it so much. Even at one point, he put Michael Jackson’s video at the back and he was doing the exact same moves. It was incredible. I loved it soooo much. When we were done we ate a quick sandwich and went to bed because we had to get up at 5 the next morning. Bye.
We wake up at 9:45am!
After a chocolate bread, I go to the post office with Isabelle (we leave the kids at the Te Papa museum). I send my camera to a repair shop in Palmerston North (a city by which we passed yesterday; a bit frustrating…). Let’s see.
We join the kids at the Te Papa museum, Wellington’s ‘must-see’ attraction. Isabelle and I take the one-hour ‘Introducing Te Papa’ tour, a guided tour showing the exhibition highlights.
I then see the Lego exhibition with Jules. It showcases 50 of the world’s most iconic landmarks made exclusively from LEGO bricks by someone who is one of only 14 LEGO Certified Professionals in the world. It’s quite impressive how they manage to build masterpieces such as the Taj Mahal, Michelangelo’s Statue of David, the Empire State Building, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Arc de Triomphe… Jules particularly likes the interactive aspect of the exhibition, trying to find LEGO mini-figure Eddie the Explorer, who is hidden in nearly all of the displays. We find 34 such figurine. It’s also great to see some of the sites that we visited during this world tour such a Saint Basil Cathedral, the map of Tokyo subway, the Himeji Castle, the Oriental Pearl Tower in Pudong (Shangai), the Great Wall of China… Wow, we’ve seen some much stuff already.
Then I visit the Gallipoli exhibition with Ludivine and Jules. To mark the centenary of World War One, Te Papa has joined forces with Weta Workshop (the company behind the special effects of the Lord of the Rings trilogy) to create an exhibition like no other. The groundbreaking exhibition tells the story of 8 ordinary New Zealanders who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances at Gallipoli. Gallipoli was New Zealand’s first campaign of World War I (against the Ottoman Empire). It’s an important chapter in New Zealand history. In total, 2,779 Kiwis lost their lives on this defining event.
I then go to New World to buy a roasted chicken, which I prepare with sautéed rice and (raw) vegetables for lunch. We eat at 4:30pm!
We prepare our luggage, separating what we’ll need for the upcoming 4-day trek in Abel Tasman NP.
I then go again to New World to buy groceries for the sandwiches of tonight and of tomorrow morning.
At 8pm we go to a concert! I indeed booked (yesterday) tickets for ‘Michael Jackson HIStory Show’. It’s a musical tribute and live concert experience that journeys through Michael Jackson’s career. This concert really celebrates the talent of the King of Pop. The Michael Jackson HIStory Show stays true to a real life Michael Jackson concert with only one solo artist taking the stage, mirroring Michael Jackson’s performances for an accurate experience. It showcases all of Michael Jackson’s greatest hits live on stage, complemented by the famous dance moves. Star of the show, Dantanio, is accompanied by a lively six-piece band, four groovy backup dancers (including an amazing girl). The show features 20 different authentic costumes for the MJ character alone. We all enjoy this concert. We sang and danced!
We eat our sandwiches in our room when we’re back at the hostel. Isabelle and I then go downstairs and work till 1:30am. And tomorrow we wake up at 5am since a shuttle is coming to pick us up to go to the ferry terminal (where we must be at 6am). I initially booked the ferry to go to the South Island (from Wellington to Picton) at 9am but I received a laconic text message yesterday, basically saying “Sickness has affected our ferry crew for 9am sailing. You have been transferred to 7am departure. Check in 6am.” Not a great news…
This stay in Wellington was much too quick but we managed to spend 2 excellent evenings and to visit the highlight of the city (the Te Papa museum). We would have liked to go to the Mount Victoria Lookout.