Surf Route 45 was the route we took down towards Wellington on leaving Stratford. We took a detour on leaving to go to Mount Egmont to make the short walk down to Dawson Falls which, although nice, were slightly disappointing. The Egmont National Park however, is home to 140km of walks taking from 30 minutes to four days so even if we weren´t overly impressed by the Falls themselves, there are plenty of other things in the area to occupy you. Unfortunately, with the clock ticking, we felt that it was time to move on so that we could head to the South island in a couple of days.
The journey took us on the coastal road known for its surfing spots and through a mind-blowing amount of fields full of cows! This area of the North island is renowned for its dairy industry so back to back farmland didn´t come as too much of surprise, cows to the left and ocean to the right
We had phoned ahead to book a room at the Apollo Lodge Motel which we had found in one of our guide books so we didn´t need to waste time driving around aimlessly looking for somewhere to stay. A bit more expensive that we have been used to paying, but the accommodation is modern, spacious, clean and very central.
Considering that Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand, it has a much smaller feel to it that Auckland, almost like a small town as opposed to a city. On our first evening, we walked down the hill onto Courtney Place, a street that runs through the centre of the city edged with numerous bars and restaurants. This, teamed with Cuba Street another busy thoroughfare, make up the ´socializing area´. It was busy and buzzing with Friday night revelers, music was pumping out of bar entrances and the streets were comfortably full. It, however, is not a place where you feel unsafe.
During the day, there are so many things to see and do. Being pushed for time, we headed to the waterfront, where you can watch the small boats come and go and see the sightseeing helicopter take off and land. This stretch of waterfront is paved and great for cycling, rollerblading and jogging. With waterfront cafes you can sit and watch the world go by. One of the major attractions in this area is the Te Papa Museum of New Zealand which is one of the biggest tourist attractions of the city. The interior is amazing with heavy emphasis on Maori history along with exhibits such as ´Awesome Forces´showing the geological forces that have swept the country´s landscape, ´Blood Earth and Fire´packed full of information showing the changing landscapes to the amazing underwater marine life here around the country. You could easily spend at least half a day there! But once we had explored , we took a walk around the rest of the city before heading back to dump our stuff ready for dinner at The New Genghis Khan restaurant close to where were are staying.
Afterwards, we went to the cinema to see a 3D movie, as neither of us had watched one before. Clash of the Titans was an OK film, more Titans could have been available but, even in the third row from the front, the effect was still no less impressive. Wellington is definitely a city/ town that you could spend some serious time exploring, but alas, as usual, we had to move onwards………and so now……we make the crossing to the South island