We headed out late last night and found a nearby Thai place to have dinner. Very nice. At about 10 we started walking the freezing city streets, looking for somewhere to spend NYE. We began our walk in the trendy Cuba Street, which had some really cool shops which we’d like to go back to to check out in day time. We also found the synthetic drug shop that Liz Hayes thoroughly disapproved of on A Current Affair. We found a main street and were thrilled that all the bars had free entry. On a normal night in Melbourne, you’d be expected to pay an entry fee of up to $15, let alone on NYE. Most bars were very empty, which was crazy as it was 11pm on NYE in the country’s capital city. We ended up finding a place a little bit more full at about 11.30pm and celebrated the coming of the New Year there. After midnight the place was packed, and so were the streets. We assumed that maybe the people celebrated midnight at the city street party and then headed to the bars once it was over. We were pretty tired and cold so we decided to head home.
We woke up nice and late this morning and it was wonderful. We have since decided that this is indeed the most revolting hostel in the world and that we should try to spend as much time out of it as we could.
The rain had finally stopped! Although cloudy, the short periods of sun that shone through to the city were so toasty. Our first stop would be for breakfast. Not much was open on New Year’s Day but we were able to find a Dairy (Milk Bar) and our first meal of 2012 was a box of Barbecue Shapes. A good start to the new year.
We continued on to Mount Victoria, which is the highest point in Wellington, and it provided a thorough, albeit chilly view of the city. The airport here is amazing as it extends from one shore to another on a really skinny piece of land. There is also a pedestrian walkway under the runway which I have an urge to hang out under.
We decided to go back to the hostel to leave the car and explore the city on foot. We went to Te Papa museum, which we heard was the best in New Zealand. It was indeed impressive. The museum houses a giant squid which was revolting but like a car accident, we had to have a good look. There were also a lot of stuffed animals. We finally got to see a kiwi, which are actually quite big and we wonder if they actually were the roadkill that we have been seeing. There was also a model of the extinct moa, an absolutely humongous bird (bigger than the ostrich). I also enjoyed seeing some of the animals that our beloved British ancestors thought a good idea to bring. The most amusing was the zebra. Some man bought a male and female to New Zealand to breed them and create wild zebras. But they didn’t like each other and they died. Also the weasel, which they bought to kill the rabbits, which killed a lot of native creatures like the kakapo flightless parrot, which is currently endangered. Another species of weasel common here is the stoat, which Alex and I are 99% sure we saw yesterday running across the road. Also the Brits brought hedgehogs here, so probably the echidna/kiwi roadkill we keep seeing are actually hedgehogs.
The museum was very interesting and it was amazing to see the damage that earthquakes have caused this country over the years. We learnt more about Gondwanaland. I personally enjoyed reading the beautiful quotes made by refugees to New Zealand. It was very heartwarming and it made me feel proud to know how far these people have come and the challenges they’ve endured.
We spent a few good hours at the museum and then we decided it was time to eat. We wandered around the dock and saw some sting rays in the ocean-cum-lake. We browsed the city some more and picked up a small lunch and some dinner for later. The rest of the afternoon was spent in our room in our disgusting hostel. I won’t go into details but it’s just really dirty and seedy. Our next hostels are more highly rated so at least it will only get better.