Technically this is my second weekend in Wellington but I’m not counting the first weekend since I flew in, battled jet lag and got all settled into my new home. Not much of interest happened those couple days haha. Unless napping is of great interest; which come to think of it napping is probably my favorite hobby! lol
On Saturday I braved my first solo outing in New Zealand! The first trip is always the hardest right? And not that I’ve conquered that I’m looking forward to more adventures even if they are solo ones. I can’t ever remember using public transportation on my own before, I’ve always been grateful to have my own car or relied on my friends to figure out the public transportation when traveling haha. But finally at the age of 27 I used all those past experiences learning from friends to conquer the buses and trains all by myself! And it helps that Wellington has a pretty easy public transportation system too. 🙂
I started my day around 10:30am walking into town to grab the bus to the Wellington Station. It was about a 45 minute bus ride that wound through the city which I actually enjoyed as it was like a tour through the neighborhoods I haven’t seen yet. I mentally bookmarked some places I want to explore later. Of course the more I take this route I’m sure I will dread the 45 minute ride but for today it was good! Once at the train station I bought a one-way to Lower Hutt. I was only on the train for about 10 minutes but it was a beautiful ride along the coast. From there I took another short 10 minute bus ride to the Oakleigh Street entrance to Belmont Regional Park.
There wasn’t any particular reason I chose Belmont Regional Park aside from it is one of the closer parks in Hutt Valley and it had an easy hike to a waterfall/dam. I’m still working on getting in shape so I’m sticking with the easy hikes for now haha. It was a gorgeous sunny day and not too crowded but enough people to where I wasn’t totally alone on the trails. And 95% of the trail was shaded so that was very welcomed! The park is so densely forested that it felt like I was walking in a rainforest. The scenery was so green and vibrant that the sounds of cicaddas hardly bothered me lol! I know my pictures hardly do it justice but I hope they captured some of the breathtaking landscape for you.
I walked for about 20 leisurely minutes before arriving at Korokoro Dam and it was beautiful! There was nothing especially spectacular about the dam but it was so serene and I’m a sucker for cascading water. There was no one else around when I arrived so I took my time walking around the dam and climbing up to the top. Then I sat for awhile and enjoyed the relaxing views.
From here I could turn back and head home or continue on the trail and since it was still early I decided to continue on! It was about 1.5 hours before the trail ended and I wish I had known the distance or time beforehand because I probably would have worried less and enjoyed my hike more, but that’s part of the adventure of solo travelling I suppose. Learning as you go! But I am so glad I decided to continue on the trail because, though it was a much more strenuous hike it was a great exercise and came out to these breathtaking rolling hills and pastures! I was not expecting that! AND I finally saw some sheep and they were so cute and funny! Just staring at me while eating lol.
After I walked about a mile back to the street I caught my bus back to the train station and then another bus home. The ride back was much easier as I knew where I was going and what to do. My first solo outing was a success and I look forward to more trips exploring the breathtaking New Zealand landscape! Plus the day ended at Fork and Brewer with a yummy flight of beers and donuts and ice cream for desert so if that’s not the cherry on top to a wonderful Saturday I don’t know what is! 😉
The fun continued into Sunday too! We got up early to arrive at the Te Papa Museum before they opened to line up for the WWI exhibit, Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War, because they only let in a certain number of people per day. The exhibit is focused on the New Zealanders involvement in the Gallipoli campgain and it is an incredible and moving experience. The New Zealanders sacrificed so much in their first campaign in WWI, so I highly recommend anyone visiting Wellington to make time for this. The exhibitions are very informative and the detail is remarkable in the stories, models and larger than life sculptures.
We followed up that exhibit with the DreamWorks Animation exhibit and that was a lot of fun and cool to see all the processes and people it takes to create an animated movie. I’m a huge fan of Shrek so I enjoyed all the Shrek art! 🙂 Unfortunately our empty stomachs kept us from exploring the rest of Te Papa but it’s a free museum and I look forward to returning soon!