Often the motels in NZ have laundry facilities and that is where I was a few hours before hitting the road for Wellington. The old washer/dryer were quite slow and a very friendly lady from Wellington stopped by with her wash. She was curious about our travels and when she heard that we were off to Wellington, suggested we cut over to the westcoast and drive south along the Tasman Sea to Wellington… which we did. At her suggestion we took a western route through Palmerston North and down the westcoast, with beautiful views of the Tasman Sea… stopping in Paraparaumu for a break and some ice cream.
We arrived in Wellington in late afternoon. The country driving of the past week was replaced with fast moving close quarters rush hour traffic. Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and the seat of government. My acquaintance from the laundry room had also suggested we enter the city by the ferry terminals and drive along the waterfront. Doing that we passed through the Parliament district and we saw some fine historic buildings which set the tone for the city.
We checked out two hotels and decided to stay at the Museum Hotel. The Museum Hotel was initially located on the other side of the road, moving to its present site in 1993. Facing demolition to make way for the new Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa, the 5 storey, 3500 ton structure seemed doomed, until Chris Parkin, the owner, began to investigate the possibility of relocating the entire structure. The hotel made a 120-metre journey down an inner city street on railway tracks.
Keeping with its museum past, wonderful art can be found throughout the hotel. Here’s a picture of the lobby reception area:
Wellington is a very walkable town. As we found through much of New Zealand, outdoor sculpture abounds.
During an evening stroll we came upon this gentleman walking his dog. The stairs behind lead to Boulcott Bistro.
We had a fine meal at Boulcott Bistro. The place is buzzing with locals. The food was fresh and simply delicious. We shared a Snapper on a smoked fish brandade, in a pool of red pepper puree decorated round the edges by a clam nage, accompanied by fresh green beens with basil butter and broccoli with lemon and toasted almonds. As we have at each evening meal, we tried wines from the region – tonight is was a Dogpoint Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough (just northeast from Wellington).
After an early dinner we took a stroll along the waterfront…
lots of action…
and a quote that sums up the spirit of the town…