Friday, January 2, 2009

Wellington Trip, Part 7 - Final Days

I had planned my Wellington trip so that I could do most of the touristy stuff during the week and then spend time with my friend Rebecca at the weekend when she was off work.

On Saturday we went to Otari Wilton's Bush for a nice walk in the sunshine. The reason I wanted to go there was because it had a canopy walkway, although to be honest it wasn't quite as impressive as I'd hoped. The Reserve itself though was beautiful.

Otari-Wilton's Bush Reserve consists of 100 hectares of native forest and 5 hectares of plant collections. The area has been protected since 1900 when a local landowner Job Wilton fenced it off, thus protecting it from being logged and farmed like the land around it.

One of the things I have really enjoyed about Wellington was its wealth of green spaces. I've visited Karori Reserve, the Botanical Gardens, Otari-Wilton's Bush and walked through the Town Belt - all these places are within minutes of the city centre. I barely felt like I was in a city at all. All these green spaces and the coastline as well - Wellington has so much beauty!

After our walk, Rebecca took me for a drive around the coastline of the peninsula. We had lunch in a cute little cafe courtyard in a little suburb (I can't remember the name exactly) and then continued our drive round to the Red Rocks Reserve.

In the distant I could just make out the Kaikoura Ranges of the South Island. We didn't go into the Red Rocks Reserve itself, as it required either driving a 4x4 (which we didn't have) or walking several kilometres. This area was really nice though, and there was an informative display in the visitor centre (really a big open shed-like building) about the history of the place.

During the evening Rebecca and I met up with a girl called Steph, who I had met at the hostel, and we went out for dinner at a really nice Asian restaurant called Monsoon Poon, then coffee at a funky cafe. None of us were particularly in the mood for a big night out, but the evening was fun nonetheless, and it was great to see the busy weekend nightlife of Wellington compared to Dunedin!

On Sunday, Rebecca and I were being particularly lazy and spent the morning watching the Shortland Street omnibus... but then we decided to make the most of the afternoon sunshine and took our books to the city beach to read and relax. It was really nice just to chill out like that. I really liked the beach, which had warm, safe swimming water, compared to the pretty rough beaches of Dunedin.

Finally it was time for me to fly back to Dunedin. I was actually pretty sad to leave, I'd had a great week exploring Wellington in beautiful, warm weather, which was completely unexpected (everyone warned me about the rubbish weather Wellington has, but apart from the first night I didn't see it at all!) I definitely recommend taking the time to see all Wellington has to offer, rather than just spending a night here, as so many backpackers seemed to do. There were still things I didn't have time to do - I wanted to go out to Matui/Somes Island and Kapiti Island, for example. Well, there is always next time!

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