As we mentioned in our last post, we were lucky enough to begin our New Zealand adventure in Wellington, hosted by our delightful friends Hollie and Tom. We spent a week exploring the urban wonderland, as well as it’s gorgeous greenbelt and beautiful botanic gardens. We fell in love with this city that’s too cool for school, and we’ll definitely be back soon.
Without further ado, here’s our Wellington Top 5:
Te Papa – The museum that everyone’s talking about. Really, they are. Why? Because it’s flipping amazing. We acquainted ourselves with this strange new land and its history in the Blood, Earth, Fire exhibition, a well illustrated narrative explaining the origins of New Zealand, from the arrival of the Maori to the exploits of the Europeans, some of them good, most of them not so good in hindsight – let’s leave it there. The Gallipoli exhibition is also well worth a look. Larger-than-life models of service men and women, rendered in eye-watering detail, tell the sad story of the Anzac attempt to take Gallipoli from the Turks in the first world war. Lives were lost, not much was gained, but with an exhibition like this, hopefully lessons will be learned.
Goldings Free Dive– Okay, so the beer might be $12 a pint (that’s about £7 with the abysmal Brexit related exchange rate right now), but when you can sip a delicious craft beer – we can recommend Brew Moon’s The Fuzz – while admiring the star wars bric-a-brac dotted about the place, and eavesdrop on the creme de la creme of Wellington’s hipster crowd, we say it’s worth every cent. Indeed, when the beer’s this good, just have another and you’ll soon stop caring about the hole slowly burning through your wallet.
Pour and Twist – We love espresso. One of the things that Nick misses most from the UK is the espresso machine he trained on at The Gather and making all those delicious flat whites. But Pour and Twist is a coffee shop without an espresso machine and all the better for it. There’s no noise from the hot jets of steam whistling into milk, just peace and quiet and easy conversation. It’s a radical stance to take in Wellington, where cafes can rise and fall on the quality of their latte art, yet it works. A neat menu of speciality drip coffees, where you can choose your bean, your accompaniment and brew method, from the trusty aeropress to old-school drip systems reminiscent of GCSE chemistry lessons, make ordering a coffee an existential crisis. We suggest trying an aeropress brew served up with tonic water. Honestly, the lightness and bitterness of the tonic water works wonders with the coffee, and it’s so refreshing on a hot day. Word on the street is that their cold brew is second to none. We’ll just have to go back and find out.
Shepherd – There’s always an awkward moment when our friends in employment suggest going out for a meal and we cautiously check the menu in case it’s too expensive. At first glance, Shepherd’s menu sent shivers down our spine. We could potentially blow all of our savings in one decadent feast there. But then it gave us shivers of a different kind – what’s this? Home brewed water kefir flavoured with peach and elderflower? A medley of heritage tomatoes served on sourdough bruschetta? Pan-seared asparagus in garlic butter with a slow cooked egg? We were in, no looking back. The meal was made particularly special as we were offered a table in the garden room, surrounded by shrubs and succulents, ferns and vines trailing all around us. Perfection.
Lashings – Just up the road from Goldings, in our favourite alleyway in Wellington, Lashings occupies the first floor of a corner block on Dixon Street, giving a great view of Te Aro Park and the hustle of the city. But the view isn’t important. The brownies are the issue here. Delicious, home baked slabs of wonder-joy, you can choose between a classic chocolate affair, a sticky PBJ romance or the seductive and ever changing brownie of the day. And then you can cover that warm brownie in whatever you want, as long as it’s from the selection of homemade toppings which include candied pecans, marshmallows, cookie pieces, pretzel shards, salted caramel fudge and more. And then you can get even messier with sticky chocolate or salted caramel sauce and a dollop of homemade pretzel or cereal milk ice cream on the side and stick your spoon in and enjoy. Dessert isn’t a third course here. It’s THE course. Just go.
We could go on and on about how much we love Wellington, but life must go on. We had to say goodbye to this beautiful city, to Hollie and Tom and sail away to the South Island for summer. And here we are, living in a campervan called Bear, exploring this spectacular land. We’ll keep you posted.