Connections in Windy Wellington
The theme of our visit to Wellington could have been summed up with the words rain, wind, and sleeping in a tent. But what really sticks out to us about Wellington is the connections we made with Family.
After weeks of contacting potential HelpX and CouchSurfing hosts, we still had yet to find someone willing or able to host us near Wellington. But we set out on the road to Windy Wellington anyway, trusting that God would provide a place for us.
I found a very basic (but free!) campsite about an hour outside of the city, so we decided to head there for our first night and check on other potential hosts, campsites, or hostels online at the public library the next day. (Thank you Public Library in Paraparaumu for free Wi-Fi!)
Still no bites on a free place to stay when we checked our email, but we decided we could tough it out and camp for a few more nights. I managed to find a very affordable holiday park of sorts in Porirua–just a 20 minute drive outside the city.
We found the park, pitched our tent, then made use of the camp’s communal kitchen to cook up some quinoa and beans (with ample dark chocolate for dessert).
The next morning we were all set to take the train into Wellington for a walking tour. Armed with our boots and raincoats (since it rained–ALL DAY), we walked to the train station (which was definitely NOT just a ten minute walk like the camp director told us) and made our way into the city.
The $7 we shelled out for a ride on the famous cable car may not have been $7 well spent, but the museum at the top was incredibly interesting!
We bypassed the botanical gardens (since it was raining and all) and walked down the hill into the Central Business District. We found the library, but no free Internet, so we moved on in search of a cafe on Cuba Street for lunch.
We indulged in some delicious pumpkin and spinach lasagna, a blackberry muffin, and some fresh vegetable juice for lunch. Then we broke out our deck of cards and played at least ten games of Speed (after which we realized we really need to learn some new two player card games!)
We ducked into various vintage and recycled clothing shops on our way to the Te Papa regional museum. We were surprised by how massive the place was (especially for having free admission)! An exhibit on New Zealand photojournalist Brian Brake really intrigued us, and we went back the next day to make sure we were able to see it all properly.
We drove into the city for church the next morning. Not only was the sun peeking out from behind the clouds, but we met some amazing people (who we now consider friends)! Jenn is a NZ sign language interpreter who was able to teach us more NZ Sign. Jess, who is getting her Master’s degree, invited us over for lunch at her flat with a big group of friends (where we also met Jono & Emma and Reese & Joy). And once Alistair heard we had been camping for the past 3 nights, he invited us to stay at his flat since 2 of his flatmates were out of town.
Talk about the Church in action!
It was so refreshing to hang out with like-minded people and talk about the Spirit while we strolled to Island Bay. You can just make out the mountains of the South Island in the distance.
We arrived at Alistair’s flat the next morning, where he fixed us eggs and toast for breakfast. He headed off to meet up with a friend from out of town while we went to explore the Weta Cave.
Weta Workshop is the production company responsible for many of the props, costumes, and special effects in the Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia movies. They’ve opened a small museum and retail shop next to their workshop where they also show a behind-the-scenes video detailing the work they do next door.
You might know that while I do like Lord of the Rings, it’s Drew who is the avid fan. I’m mostly just along for the ride for these sorts of things, but I have to admit, this place fascinated me! My jaw was on the floor through the whole video. The people that work there are incredible artists who devote tons of time and energy to creating authentic pieces for these movies. Many of them also make an intentional effort to take time to create their own personal art, much of which was also displayed.
On our way back to Alistair’s place, we stopped by the Mt. Victoria lookout for an incredibly gusty look at the city below. Windy Wellington definitely lived up to its famed nickname–at times we couldn’t even stand up straight the wind was so powerful!
The next morning, after a fun night of pizza and games with new friends, we were off to the South Island, but we are already looking forward to connecting with everyone we’ve met again when we come back through Wellington!
Check out more pictures of our experience on Facebook!