Birthdays, Hobbits and a DeLorean

We’ve tried our first Cambodian food, trying out Yeay’s House in Tawa, one of Wellington’s suburbs. Very tasty. There is a bigger variety of chicken options available on a regular supermarket shelf for us here. We have found some amazingly colourful yams and buddha’s hand citron’s in a shop called Moore Wilsons here. Local lingo update: sweets here are all called ‘lollies’. There are many different names to get your head around and pronounce correctly. The letters ‘wh’ at the beginning of a place name (e.g. whangerei and whakatane) this usually denotes an f sound. Mastering quite a few train lines with all this suburb moving, I look forward to a pub quiz in a few years time that asks the names of train stations in Wellington :-). My fun Wellington fact – apparently 90% of Wellington’s residents live within 400m of a bus stop or train station… I feel for the 10%! There are some very steep, winding roads!

So what have we been up to? Well amongst the madness of job seeking and understanding visas, we’ve been doing our best to try out a few new places. With certain Belgian’s celebrating 28th birthdays we tried out Goldings Free Dive, on a list of Wellington craft beer haunts to be visited. Trying their pilsner, and old faithful maker’s mark, their food offerings are from Pizza Pomodoro next door. Highly recommended pizza! Very tasty, cool vibe, it is one of the only non smoking beer gardens in Wellington.

Trundling our way to another recommended craft beer bar – Little Beer Quarter – it seemed to have a better range of beer, especially that of the Belgian variety with Ben choosing a Birthday blue Chimay. A little bit off the Main Street, not quite as much atmosphere as Goldings, it was perhaps just the time of day we were there. Happy to revisit :-). There’s quite a big craft beer scene in Wellington. You can read more about it here. We’ll see how many we get through!

Heading north out of Wellington, chosen by Ben, the Southward Car Museum was a Saturday exploring choice. Many cars and bikes, my favourites were the Ed Roth creations, Diane Keaton and Woody Allen’s car and the Dodge brothers’ copper car. Very cool. Learning the troubled history of the DeLorean, a short video told me that they were going to use a fridge as the time travel device in the Back to the Future Movies – an item that was apparently very easy for kids to crawl into and lock themselves inside, so it was decided that a car would be a more appropriate and safer choice. Enter the DeLorean. Wasn’t enough to save it though. Finding the ‘Black Beast’, the largest motorcycle licensed for use on New Zealand roads, I also learnt the story of Thomas Edward Lawrence. Known as Lawrence of Arabia, and immortalised in the 1962 movie of the same name, he had a motorbike accident in 1935 and died. His neurosurgeon, Hugh Cairns, began research which ultimately led to the use of crash helmets and saved the lives of many motorcyclists as a result of treating him. Ben particularly taken with a 1913 24 litre Mercedes Benz, it was built by Count Zborowski whose cars became known due to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and claims to possibly be the only car ever built with water cooled brakes. Quite pricey at $18 admission but definitely worth a look. It was cool to learn of these stories :-).

To the South, we’ve made it to the Southernmost point of North Island – Cape Palliser. A lighthouse overlooking this southernmost point, there are 251 steps leading to it. The best part of Cape Palliser? The seals that were having a rest near the side of the road! Amazing! Very cute and snappable up close, I managed to capture quite a few pictures :-).

Doing a step challenge at work, it has inspired some lovely walks – getting a different perspective of the city from Mt Kaukau (a steep walk up, the steps don’t do your effort justice!).

Round the pebbles of Makara beach, finding a very bright reassuring rainbow, to Pukerua Bay where the road winds out of Wellington along the coast and also to Castlepoint on the east coast with crashing waves and another lighthouse. Very nice locations to achieve steps :-).

Managing even further afield, top of the bucket list, on Easter weekend we took a trip north to Matamata, not far from Rotorua, where Hobbiton is. I had had a woman warn me the traffic out of Wellington would be bad but nothing prepared me for what eventuated! One slow, narrow route out along the beautiful coast, it took us 2 hours just to get out the city…! Took us 7 in total to reach Matamata, stopping off in Taupo for some food. The furthest we’ve been in New Zealand so far, it was great to road trip and see New Zealand’s roads and surrounding countryside. And play 500 miles, in the middle of nowhere, loudly of course :-).

Also doing my best to appreciate the culture and environment we’re living in, I went with work colleagues to see ‘Meat‘ at the movies, a glimpse into NZ farming and a very interesting view of haggis! If you’re interested the trailer is here. Also got a glimpse into chicken showing with the movie Pecking Order, following the Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club in the lead up to the National Show. Trailer here. Both worth a look, it’s good to broaden our film horizons.

Until next time… x

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