Winter is not the best time of year to visit windy Wellington, and I happened to have my first trip to Wellington booked for mid-July, which I knew was going to be cold. What wasn’t anticipated was the frontal system that arrived the day that we flew. This brought with it gale-force winds, cold temperatures and lots of rain.
We anxiously waited at the airport for our flight to board, while constantly seeing every second flight to Wellington being cancelled, and each alternate one being delayed. It was not a good sign and we weren’t sure if we were actually going to get there, due to the bad weather.
Our 7pm flight finally boarded after being delayed twice, and off we went. The hour-long flight from Auckland wasn’t nearly as turbulent as I’d expected and the landing went pretty smoothly, considering the howling wind outside. Being nighttime, we couldn’t see anything out of the windows during the flight or landing, which was probably just as well. The worst part of getting to Wellington was sitting in the plane, on the tarmac, waiting for the doors to be opened, with the plane being buffeted from side-to-side in the wind. It felt like we were sitting in a boat and not on an aeroplane!
Nothing prepared me for the strong, chill-you-to-the-bone, icy wind that greeted us when we climbed out the car at the apartment we were staying in. It was 10.45pm and bitterly cold, but we were just glad that we’d arrived safely.
The following morning, hubby went off to his work conference and I was left to explore some of the city on my own. It was 9am, six degrees and raining, so I dressed in four layers of clothing, as well as a beanie, gloves, scarf and rain jacket and off I went. What I hadn’t thought about was how I was going to keep my backpack dry. It didn’t fit under my rain jacket and by the end of the day, all my belongings were damp.
We were staying in the Quest Atrium on The Terrace, self-catering apartments just a short walk to the CBD, if you use the pedestrian access through the James Cook Hotel and the elevator at the back of the foyer that takes you down onto Lambton Quay.
Lambton Quay is in the heart of Wellington CBD and I walked this street on a daily basis. It’s one of the older streets in Wellington and has been around since the early 1800’s. Obviously, it looked very different back then. Tucked away between shops along Lambton Quay is a little side lane called Plimmers Steps, and a bronze sculpture of John Plimmer and his little dog, Fritz, can be found here. John Plimmer (1812 – 1905) was a builder, businessman and civic leader, and has been called the Father of Wellington. To read more about the history of John Plimmer, click on this link.
On my way back to Quest Atrium, I got caught in a downpour and popped into the nearest coffee shop to escape the rain. It’s not easy keeping warm and dry when you’re exploring on foot! There are many coffee shops and cafes in and around the city, this one happened to be on the top level of Whitcoulls. While riding up the escalator, something caught my eye and I went to have a look on my way out. It was a ginger cat-shaped door stop that looked exactly like my kitty back home.
I met up with hubby and a few of his work colleagues that evening, at a restaurant called Tequila Joes for the Thursday taco special. All-you-can-eat tacos with Baja Fries and a drink for $25. The tacos were freshly made and really delicious. Each taco that was brought out was a different flavour, for example, the first tacos that were brought to the table were beef, followed by pork, then fish, then chicken, etc. You get to eat as many as you like and then just notify the waitress when you’ve had your fill, so that the chef knows to reduce the number that he makes for the next round.
There’s so much to see and do in and around Wellington. During my four day stay, I walked through the city, sightseeing and doing a little shopping, as well as visiting Te Papa and Wellington museums, the waterfront, going up the cable car to the Botanic Gardens, before walking back down to the waterfront. There’s a lot that I didn’t get to see, as it was further out of town (not within walking distance) or had an entrance fee attached.