After a full day’s train journey through glorious countryside, we get to Wellington in the evening and wander through the city to find our hostel – which turns out to be a bit dodgy and suddenly makes the very cheap price make a lot of sense. As we’re waiting to check in, some guy in the foyer overhears our accents and asks us if we’re from Coventry, which I find confusing because Coventry’s accent is completely different to ours and also because someone outside of the UK has heard of Coventry. When we get to our room the dodgy vibe is still there so, like true British millennials, we decide the best thing to do is to go for a Nando’s and hope that will sort everything out. (We also go to watch Wonder Woman afterwards, and it leaves us feeling so EMPOWERED and STRONG that we don’t care about the dodgy vibe or our Midlands-sounding accents anymore.)
The next day we grab some breakfast by the harbour before going to our first stop of the day: Weta Workshop, a place that made models and props and other cool stuff for something called The Lord of the Rings. Suzy is a LOTR superfan and I’ve seen all three of the films, so we were both really excited to go. (You’re not allowed to take any photos inside for some scary boring legal reason that I can’t remember, but it’s lots of fun and you get to see stuff like this guy):
After that we go to the famous Wellington night market on Cuba Street which is full of my favourite things, food and live music. We stop and watch a street performer, who gives me minor heart palpitations with his act that involves a small child, a unicycle, and fire juggling. (I look over to see what the mum’s reaction is but she looks completely chilled out, which I don’t really understand because the act involves her small child, a unicycle, and fire juggling.)
Over the next couple of days we take the cable car up to the top of the city to wander round the botanic gardens, walk around some markets, find some cool street art, and drink gin on a boat. We did some more stuff too but I can’t quite remember because of all the gin we had on a boat.
We’re now on a 6 hour bus ride to Taupo, travelling through yet more countryside and then, after a while, Mount Doom, which suddenly casually pops up on the horizon. We take photo after photo but the rest of the people on the bus look completely unfazed, most of them staring blankly at the road ahead. I suppose they’ve all seen it loads of times already. This is probably just like driving past an Asda for them.