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A Long Weekend in Windy Wellington

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In September this year, Singapore Airlines commenced flying direct from Canberra to New Zealand’s capital, Wellington.  This is big news for us Canberrans as even though we are the capital of Australia all our international flights depart from our other larger cities e.g. Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane etc.  So my friend Jane and I thought we would take advantage of a direct flight and half price fares and to travel to Wellington for a four day weekend.

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We departed Canberra on a Friday morning and enjoyed the wonderful service of the staff on Singapore Airlines.

After three hours we arrived in Wellington and took the shuttle bus to our hotel, which was the Soffitel, a new hotel in the city.

That evening we took a taxi into the city and went to the night markets which are located in a mall just off the main restaurant street in Wellington; Cuba Street.  The markets are open every Friday between 5pm and 10.30pm.

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We enjoyed some dumplings and decided to sit outside a little restaurant called ‘Satay Kingdom’ where I ordered a vegetable curry which came with rice and roti bread.  Pretty good but I was a bit full from the dumplings so didn’t eat that much.  We then relaxed for the next hour or so listening to a two-person band before we returned to our hotel for a nightcap before a good night’s sleep.

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Our next day, I took a cab down to the waterfront to where my friend Jane had booked a half-day tour of the city on electric bikes.  I must admit I was a bit nervous at first but once I got the hang of it, it was so much fun riding around the water front checking out the beautiful homes and stopping off for lunch at a quaint little restaurant called the ‘chocolate fish’. [clearly the people around this area are trustworthy as we didn’t have to lock our bikes and even left our helmets outside]

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After lunch we were due to return to the city but as there was only two of us, our lovely tour guide asked if we wanted to ride up Mount Victoria – I thought it was a nice idea as the bike was electric and I could just sit and it would take me up the mountain…how wrong I was…it was still very tough peddling uphill and I had to stop twice and walk a little with the bike.  Over three hours of peddling at this stage so that is my excuse…but I think I am a little unfit!!  Definitely worth the effort as the views were spectacular.

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Then it was time to ride down the mountain; riding down was easier but I used the brakes all the way as it really was very steep!!  Along the way we stopped by an unusual public sculpture.  It is three dimensional with an orange 26m long needle which sways to indicate the strength and direction of the wind. The needle pivots 22.5 degrees in any direction.

Our tour guide told us that the needle was damaged when it was struck by lightning during a hail storm in 2014 and was fully repaired the following year.  It was amazing to see as with Wellington known as the ‘windy city’, the needle was swaying considerably when I was there, and I already knew how windy the day was having to ride into the wind all morning on the bike.

Then back along the waterfront to the bike shop and along the way we saw another other sculpture of a man overlooking the water and got to check out the lovely waterfront apartments.

img_1383img_1350img_1360After returning the bike, I walked back to the hotel [got lost and had to take a cab] and took a little rest before we went out to dinner at a fabulous French restaurant called ‘Hippopotamus’ [more on that in another post].