North Island New Zealand: Wellington

On our way to Wellington, we made a few stops. The first was at an antique shop, where Mark found some coins. Then, we got some of our favorite food in New Zealand: meat pies! After that, we saw a sign that said, “Crafts,” so we had to stop! We found some neat gifts for family, and tried the cafes famous “cheese gems.” They were pretty good and I got the recipe to try at home!

One last stop before Wellington was to a LOTRs filming site. It was a pretty, scenic dive but it ended up only being a bunch of trees. Mark really wanted more out of it and even ignored the “keep out” and “caution poison” signs to try to see more, but it really was just trees. He was bummed and confessed that he would have been much more satisfied if there had been a sign that said, “LOTRs filming site.” He’s pretty easy to please. Poor guy!

We made it to Wellington about 3:00 pm and started driving around the southern coastline, which is beautiful! We stopped at a sheepskin outlet with hopes of finding a big, plush blanket. Instead we bought a little stuffed sheep for Baby C.


After the outlet we made our way to Weta Caves and Weta Workshop. It’s the end-all, be-all when it comes to movie production, in my opinion! Every major movie since LOTRs has the Weta stamp on it. We got a tour of the actual workshop and were able to see some “once in a lifetime” props and designs. 
We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside because they have projects for upcoming movies and don’t want any spoilers. How cool is that?! Hobbitan was great, but seeing how everything was made was really my cup of tea. We bought some gifts here, too, and realized that we would soon have gifts for everyone in the family. Christmas presents were officially in the works!

When we left Weta Caves, it was dinnertime and we decided to cheap it out. We parked on one of the main roads in the city, turned on the gas, and cooked ourselves some grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. It was pretty comical to smell the gourmet food coming from the fancy restaurant we were parked outside of! I made a trip to the grocery store for wine and we were all set! Mark said to me, “I’m so glad you’re the type of woman that will do stuff like this with me.” 

After dinner, the search for somewhere to sleep began. We didn’t need power, just a parking place and we hoped for a bathroom nearby. I won’t dwell on the negative - lets just say it wasn’t easy to find a place and I quickly started hating Wellington. Looking back, I think it was the city environment that I started to hate. Especially during this trip, we weren’t looking for “fancy” places to park, but that’s all we were finding throughout our search ($50/night). Bummer!
Picture from here
During said search, we were able to go to Mt. Victoria Lookout and enjoy the nighttime view of the city. We even saw planes landing, which was pretty cool. The city looked beautiful from all the way up there!

Our last ditch effort was stopping at a hostel to see if they knew of a cheap place. They didn’t so I said we were going to park in the $12 parking lot across the street. He wouldn't let us use their bathrooms (which were in the lobby and open 24 hrs) and asked that we refrain from peeing on the sidewalk. Seriously?! I know they have issues with freedom campers taking it upon themselves to do whatever they want, but I assured him that I would not be peeing on any sidewalk in the middle of Wellington!

We parked next to trash cans and were awakened by the dump truck. Awesome… said no one ever! After contemplating peeing in the camper van sink, Mark peed on the sidewalk (jk, but he peed in the back corner of the parking lot... shh don't tell) and drove me to the gas station.

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