It was quite a challenge to reign in the possibilities for our USA stop on the way home.
When we originally booked our round the world flights many moons ago, we allowed for just a week’s stop in San Francisco. Flash forward to May and planning our final 3 months, I was also tempted by Portland, Reno, Seattle and Vancouver.
Unfortunately those destinations didn’t make the final itinerary but I think we’ve found somewhere in the middle! Our current plan consists of…
Last weekend we wrapped ourselves up for the Skyline Ridge walk in Wellington’s hills.
We parked in Johnsonville and tackled Mount Kaukau at the start. The ascension took us above the suburban houses, which continued throughout the walk, on our left with rolling hills to our right. City on one side and country on the other. At the top we were rewarded with a 360 viewing platform, from which we could see across to the south island.
This week, the ‘W’ in the Wellington’s Hollywood-esque sign became a ‘V’ in preparation for the release of What We Do in The Shadows.
After a positive festival reception, the ‘vampire mocumentary’ from Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi promises to be a successful Kiwi movie export.
This has prompted me to think about other NZ films that we’ve seen recently, aside from those set in middle earth. By no means a definitive list, but a selection that capture elements of this country’s rich culture.
On Saturday we took a walk from our accommodation in South Yarra to the suburb of St Kilda. It was a pretty long walk that took us through Albert Park as we dodged the droves of weekend joggers.
Once in St Kilda we rested our feet and enjoyed cake on Acland Street, which was once lined with cake shops but now only a handful remain. Those that are still there have huge display windows full of an array of tasty cakes.
We also visited Luna Park, an amusement park opened in 1912. Wandering around the traditional carousel, rollercoaster and arcades felt like being in a time warp. There were some great family photos on display from locals’ parents and grandparents that had come to the park as children.
One of our trip highlights was dining on the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. I’d booked for their ‘early dinner’ sitting well in advance as I read it was pretty popular.
We approached the stop behind a young couple dressed to the nines, the woman in sky-high stilettos. We were seated in a carriage with them and three other couples but our booth felt quite private. The experience was everything I’d hoped; we had a delicious 3 courses with fillet of beef, a double dessert and unlimited booze! The soft burgundy surroundings felt authentic and it was a novel way to see the city at night.
We almost didn’t make it to Melbourne. As I attempted to check on my newly-installed Air NZ app a message told me to check that my passport/visa was valid for my journey. Oh f*ck.
When we were booking our flights we’d thought to check that our NZ working holiday visa would also grant us access to Aussie and then completely forgotten about it. All non Australians/Kiwis need a visitor visa even for a short stay. Luckily, I frantically filled in a form online for our eVisitor visa that afternoon and the approvals came through the next day – Rob’s only arrived at Wellington airport!
Now I haven’t done a lot of shopping since I left the UK, but these are some of my thoughts on what to pack & what you can buy when you’re out here.
There’s no getting away from the fact that clothes and shoe shopping is more expensive in New Zealand – the products have got much further to be shipped! I also think that, in the majority of high street stores, the quality is not as good.
As expected, our trip has flown by in many ways and we only have approx 3 months to go. I should probably add a disclaimer to the name of this blog, as it’ll actually only be 10 months we spend in New Zealand, book-ended by other travel.
We’ve got some decisions to make about what we want to do before we leave and how to stretch the budget!
These are a few things we have in mind…
Return to Queenstown
We packed in as much as we could to our 2 day stop in Queenstown during our south island tour, but it just wasn’t long enough. If money was no object we’d love to spend a fortnight on the slopes, as the region’s ski season starts in June. Unfortunately as beginners the cost just seems to rack up too quickly.
After a 3 day working week, we were lucky enough to have another long weekend to commemorate ANZAC day.
Our weekend was a bit of a Plan B thrown together at the last minute and we traveled North East up the country from Wellington, with New Plymouth as our final destination.