This will go down as the coldest day of my whole year in New Zealand, so far, although I don’t want to experience cold like it again until I’m back in Britain and it can be excused. Andreas and I decided to head into Wellington, the weekend after my birthday, for some belated celebrations. It had been a pretty chilly week and we’d both made the conscious decision that we were going to have to buy scarves if we were to survive a winter of Wellington’s freezing wind, or the “bloody Southerly” as we would refer to it forever more.
Scarf shopping was a complete success and now, with our nice toasty necks, we could face the day. It was crisp and sunny, but bitterly cold. Seeking hot liquids to warm our bones, we ducked into a cafe on Cuba Street, Aramo. Immediately we were faced with an extremely well stocked cakes cabinet, from which we chose the plum cake. Let me just say, this plum cake has to be one of the most moist and delicious cakes I’ve ever tasted, if you find yourselves in Wellington you have to try it.
Stuffed with coffee and cake, we decided that we’d do a bit of touring. Having both been in Wellington several times before, we decided on a new activity. Neither of us had taken the famous cable car before so it was the obvious choice really. It’s been running since 1902 and it takes you between Lambton Quay (one of, if not the, city’s main shopping streets) and Kelburn, a suburb up in the hills above it. It’s a lovely five minute ride in the funicular up to Kelburn, which is also the topside of Wellington’s botanic gardens. I’m a sucker for a botanic garden and I frequently tell people about how much I love Dublin’s one, so I was in my element. Of course I have to mention the view up at the top because wow! It was beautiful, the perfect day for it. Y’know what else I loved about the cable car? I didn’t have to walk up a hill for an amazing view, for once.
As we zig zagged down the hillside, back towards the city, we took in the sights and smells of the gardens. If it’s one thing that can be said for Wellington, apart from the fact that it’s windy, is that there are lots of lovely green spots to stop and take a break. The gardens were brimming with lush green ferns and the sun was almost glittering as it shone through the thick canopy of trees overhead. Towards the bottom end of the walk we passed through the rose garden, which I was surprised to see was sort of in bloom, despite the chilly weather. Is that normal? I know nothing about gardening but it seemed bizarre to me.. We also found a nice little pond where we could stand and admire the ducks. Seriously, who doesn’t like ducks? After crossing the footbridge over the urban highway, we reached the Bolton St. Cemetery. My friend Cathy and I openly love a bleak ol’ walk through a cemetery or a graveyard so I was pleasantly surprised. Andreas looked on, bemused by my admitted liking for depressing things.
Upon reaching the city centre again, we decided it was time for some more liquid refreshment, although I was clear that I didn’t think coffee would cut it this time. With this in mind, we jumped in the lift up to Dirty Little Secret, a rooftop bar overlooking Courtenay Place. Mulled wine was on the menu!
As we watched the sky over the city turn pink we sipped the last of our mulled wine and set out towards the Westpac Stadium. I really wish I could convey to you just how bloody cold it was out on the streets, with the southerly wind battering us.
It was bone achingly cold. In the stadium, though sheltered from the wind, the cold didn’t let up much. I was thankful for my scarf at least but still very envious of all the clearly seasoned fans who’d brought blankets.
The Rugby game itself was the Hurricanes (home) vs. the Cheetahs (away). As such, Rock You Like A Hurricane echoed around the stadium speakers about 10 times whilst we were there. It was Andreas’ first ever rugby game and only my second. I like rugby but not enough to support a team or anything. I’d be lying if I said we paid complete attention to the game, I was very distracted by hunger (which Andreas did manage to quell slightly when he magically appeared with mini, hot sugar donuts). The Hurricanes won the game, and we hurried out of the stadium, back towards the city in search of FOOD.
Thoroughly ravenous, we finally made it to Monsoon Poon (or moon-poon-soon as Andreas would mistakenly call it) an Asian restaurant down in Te Aro. It’s a really cool place, great decor and good vibes, so I was relieved that they were still serving food when we rocked up at like 10PM. We quickly ordered the most delicious sounding things we could find on the menu, including a fruity rum drink for me. That coconut mojito was simply the most delicious cocktail I’ve ever had. The food was good too, I had some incredible duck noodles (which the Swede was jealous of because his Singapore noodles were a bit too spicy to fully enjoy) ..
Full, and finally warm, it was time to head home. With our scarves tightly wrapped, we braved the chilly night air once more and prayed we would never be that freezing again! Thank goodness for electric blankets.
Thanks to Andreas for the photos!