It was over 300km to get to Wellington and it was a hell of a windy drive! The van was literally swerving and being pulled, it was scary! It wasn't far off sunset when we got to Wellington and we couldn't be bothered cooking after the drive so we went to McDs and got the hunger buster meals. They don't just do normal fatty meals here, they do hunger buster meals- a burger, a Georgie pie, chips, drink and an ice cream sundae! A whole lot of fatness-yum! We parked at a free car park for the night, about a 10 minute drive from the centre. It was in the car park of Evans Bay Marina and it was ridiculously windy!! We heard there was a storm coming in, but the wind was crazy! The rain got really bad through the night as well and was banging off the van! It didn't help that we were right next to the marina so we were very exposed. Apparently it's called windy Welli though so that explains a lot! Wellington looked lovely on the way in so we are looking forward to exploring!
On the 13th we went to try and park at an overnight car park that was $20 but there were no spaces left so after driving aimlessly around town we opted for a $50 a night car park with hook up, toilets and showers right at the waterfront- Wellington Waterfront Motorhome Park. It was ideal to be in the city centre so we thought it would be worth the money whilst we were here. After exploring the city we went to Te Papa Museum, which was free and fantastic! It was so big that we couldn't get round it all before it shut! We were planning on having a drink in the town on the night but it seemed dead and not very exciting nightlife so we had a walk around and went to the cinema instead to see Get Hard. It wasn't exactly how you imagined the capital to be. It was a lovely place though with harbours, an airport right next to the water and lovely arty stuff everywhere!
On the 14th we managed to get parking at the $20 a night car park- Cuba Street Motorhome Park, which had hook up so we were in the city centre again for the day and night. We went one way on the legendary cable car to the top of the hill (120m in 5mins) and got good views over the whole of Wellington. We went to the cable car museum, walked to Kelburn village, what the cable car was built for, and got some fish and chips in the village. We found out and were amazed that a lot of people in Wellington have private cable cars to get up the hills to their houses and we saw a few of them! We walked back down the hill to the city through Wellington Botanic Gardens which was nice. We spent another couple of hours at Te Papa museum trying to see it all but we still didn't manage to as I got a little ill with toilet issues. We decided to make the most of a city and had another walk around again at night and as there was nothing else going on again we went to the cinema again to see Insurgent: Divergent, which was good!
On the 15th we drove to Weta Cave which is the museum and shop of Weta Workshop who produce costumes and special effects for films. We saw some original items there from the Narnia films and from the Lord of the Rings films. We got to watch a behind the scenes film about the workshop, formed by Sir Peter Jackson and friends and see the films it has done, which was really interesting! It has provided costumes, effects and digital effects for many big films like Tin Tin, Planet of the apes, Avatar, King Kong. We drove around the city for ages getting lost trying to find a road leading to Mount Victoria. When we eventually drove to the top we had lunch up there and then had a walk around looking at the 360 views of the city. We nearly got blew away it was that windy- the windiest city in NZ! We know why now! It had seriously crazy winds! We then drove around aimlessly again trying to find a big shopping centre which didn't seem to exist even though it was the capital! We ended up driving to Porirua to a shopping centre for the shops to be closed, so we settled for a KFC instead! We parked back at Evans Bay Marina for the last night to enjoy the crazy winds shaking our van by the water!
On the 16th we prepared to leave north island! A sad day! 4 weeks to the day we spent in north island. 4 more to go! We found out that all the ferries the day before had been cancelled due to bad weather at sea. Our ferry was delayed by over an hour because of the weather too. There was a 5m swell and the boat was a bit rocky going through the Cook Strait but fine after. We got talking to a retired couple who live in their Motorhome (which is actually the size of a big bus) now and they told us loads of interesting stuff about Wellington and New Zealand. We managed to see dolphins on the ferry over for a couple of seconds which was good.