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Heading for Windy Wellington – Day 37

13 September 2010 4 Comments

Tuesday 3rd May 2005

It was one of those not-much-to-talk-about days today, as there was not much to talk about. So I’m not going to talk about much. My destination for today was windy Wellington, the Capital of New Zealand, but would it prove to be a great place for me, or a place I would rather forget?

My stay in Palmerston North was never going to be a long one, as the intention was just to stay over night and move on the next day. Today being the next day, it was time to move on. I hadn’t liked it here at all really, and the general clientele about the place was a little less friendly than I had encountered so far in this journey.

So I set off with high hopes for Wellington, and the realisation that the south island was imminent. I was getting very excited. I have heard many stories of how different and how dramatic the south island is, and how picturesque yet unforgiving parts of the island are. I had an idea about what to expect, but experience tells me that seeing is believing, and what ever I am expecting, I am certainly going to be blown away. I couldn’t wait.

Upon leaving the dreary town of Palmerston North I immediately got lost, something that is beginning to be quite common with me. I ended up right back at the hostel some time after leaving, which was not my intention. After a while I managed to leave and it wasn’t long before I was out on the road, taking in the glorious feeling of being free. Free from the crazy man in Palmerston North, but more importantly, free to go wherever I pleased, and whenever I wanted. I love this feeling.

The moment didn’t last too long though, as half way into the trip I was stopped by traffic. A nasty accident meant I was stuck in slow-moving traffic for over an hour. I witnessed the remains of what I guessed was a car, being cut open to free the victims inside. Two lorries – a great deal less damaged – were also involved, and I felt a sinking feeling in my gut as I studied the mangled mess of knotted metal, crushed to an incomprehensible shape. I hope whoever is involved is OK.

As I passed the scene, the road ahead was clear, but cars queuing in the opposite direction had their drivers leaning out the window trying to ask us how far away the accident was, or indeed what has happened at all. I tried as best I could to mouth the words or to use pathetic hand gestures to try to relay the information across, but in the end I had to speed up and continue on my way.

I arrived at Wellington with that feeling I get when I really don’t like the look of a place. It is wrong for me to judge just by simply arriving at a place, but I am not a great lover of big towns or cities. They remind me too much of places I would rather forget. Lots of concrete and tall buildings, coupled with big roads and heavy congestion, all adds up to me not liking a place. Wellington seemed like this type of place, but I would reserve judgement until having a proper look around.

The hostel itself, (Webb Packers), was quite nice, although parking was a nightmare. All the vehicles had to be packed into a small place, bumper to bumper. If you are first in, you are last out. If you are last in, be prepared to have to move your vehicle when anybody else wants to leave. My room had just one other person inside.

Click Image For Larger ViewLater on I had a look around the big city, buying a few things as I went, and stopping up the hill for a few pictures overlooking the vast area of busyness. Some parts of the city were more impressive than others, but the vast majority of it is built up. It wasn’t long before I had seen all there was for me to see, and I returned to the hostel to do some much-needed washing.

Later on in the evening I had a microwave dinner, followed by a stint in front of the television watching some rubbish film with the other guests. The result of this was going to bed late, much later than I intended, but I had to see the film through. The film was so bad though, I can’t even remember what it was called.

>>Click here to view more pictures from today, and throughout my trip around New Zealand<<

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  • Kirstin said:

    It is a shame that you didn’t enjoy Wellington. I think that most tourists fall into the same trap as they don’t really give it a chance. They treat it as a depature gate for the South Island, dreaming of the wild fjords and isolation that they see in tourist brochures. By the time they get to Wellington they only want to be in the South Island. It is far from what I would describe as a ‘big and busy’ city, rather more laid-back and vibrant. There are many beautiful beaches and bushwalks within walking distance of the CBD, not to mention hundreds of small privately owned cafes, all serving delicious and reasonably priced food! The city itself is home to under 200,000 people, so for a capital city it is modest in numbers. The people themselves are interesting and friendly and weird – you’ll find a licorice all-sorts of quirky personalities out and about! Cuba street in the CBD and the nearby suburbs of Newtown, Island Bay, Lyall Bay and Miramar all have their own unique and wonderful personalities, and these are places that no tourists ever visit. To really appreciate what Wellington has to offer you have to venture beyond the CBD and out to the wild south coast, the rugged Orongorongo and Rimutaka ranges, the beautiful farm and forest parks which are dotted all over the region. Hiking, rock climbing, fishing, surfing, mountain biking, kayaking, windsurfing or any other activities associated with the outdoors are a way of life for the average Wellingtonian! People complain about the wind, but when you’re walking along the waterfront on a calm, sunny day you can’t fathom why anyone would ever have a bad word to say about the place. You can’t beat Wellington on a good day – and most Wellingtonians would tell you this!
    There is a secret to Wellington, and that is to give it a chance… I guess what it really boils down to is venturing away from the ‘tourist trail’ every now and then. The easiest way to do that is to make friends with the locals, and luckily for you… you now have! 😉

  • dan said:

    Wow, what an informative guide to Wellington indeed. You should be a travel agent, or better still, you should have your own blog 😉

    I must say, I am a little disappointed I didn’t give Wellington more of a chance. I just used it as a gateway, as you mentioned in your comment, and I didn’t see it for what it really is to the people who live there. My trip around New Zealand was the first time I properly travelled, and I would be the first to admit I went about things not always in the best way. If I knew then what I know now, I would have done many things differently, but this is all down to experience, and I know I have learned a lot over the years. I know that in order to see a place, and to experience a place properly, you have to spend time there, and to get to know the locals, however weird they may be 🙂 When I read past posts from past travells, I can’t help but wince at the views and opinions I carried at the time, but It has made me the person I am today. It must be frustrating for you to hear people refer to Wellington in the way that they do, as I know I would feel the same in your shoes.

    When I revisit Wellington, I shall be requesting the services of a cool guide, somebody with knowledge and enthusiasm, somebody like you. I would like to know what it is to be a true Wellingtonian, and not just a passer by. Lucky me for meeting you 😉

  • Kirstin said:

    He he that’s the beauty of keeping a diary, I feel exactly the same when I read back on some of my older stuff! I love travelling 🙂

    Sorry about my rant, I was at work at 2am and bored!

  • dan said:

    Feel free to rant on as much as you like. Comments help boost my site ranking, and its good to hear what you have to say 😉

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