Water, Wickets, Weta, and More!

Wow what wonderful Ws. It’s me again back from another three weeks of silence on this site. I never want to annoy you guys by posting too much! It’s been a while since I wrote and I have done a lot. I’ll jump right in with the au pair trip to Cathedral Cove.

You’ve probably seen it before, it’s been in a few movies. Most notable the Narnia Prince Caspian movie, which is where I saw it first. My friend Line and I met a bunch of other au pairs and program coordinators from the area in a town called Morinsville, and traveled up the Coromandel Peninsula in convoy. Probably a good thing we did it like that because I get lost easily! We arrived in the town of Hahei and began the long hike to the cove. No one told me it was going to be quite so hot or be all uphill to get there! Good thing we were able to jump right into the ocean because I was sweaty!  We stopped off for some snorkeling along the way, which was less than exciting. Apparently it’s a great snorkel spot, but because there were some storms the day before, the water was too cloudy to see anything.

After the snorkel fail we hiked to the actual Cove. It was such a beautiful beach, and wasn’t too crowded. There was a great big rock out a ways from the beach in the ocean that you could climb onto and jump off of. All in all it was a great day at the beach where I got to meet lots of new people! After our beach day we headed back into the town of Hahei for a fish and chips dinner (tastiest fish I’ve ever had) and then the au pair crew departed. Myself and Line stayed the night in Hahei, as did our friends Anna and Sarah. We had a great evening of wine on the beach at sunset and drinks in the pub! Line and I stayed in a random hostel we found online, which turned out to be the loveliest accommodations I’ve stayed in here in New Zealand. It wasn’t a hostel so much as a fancy holiday lodge with a backpacker room attached. It was hostel price and BnB facilities!

The next day Line and I drove around the Coromandel Peninusla to Whitianga and Coromandel town. Both lovely holiday towns, and we fully plan on going back!

The next weekend was a bit more chilled out. Saturday, Line and I went on a hike and were suppose to go to an outdoor food festival in our town, but it got canceled due to rain. Instead we had a lovely meal out in the local pub. Sunday was an exciting day! We went into Hamilton, the big city near where we live, to watch New Zealand vs South Africa in cricket! I taught myself the rules of cricket the night before on YouTube and hoped that would suffice. Sunday was a miserable and rainy day and while we planned to spend the morning before the match exploring Hamilton, we had to take cover in “the largest shopping mall in the north island.” We both agreed that if it was really the largest, all the others must be microscopic! The cricket was suppose to start at 2pm but due to rain delays we ended up sitting on a grass slope in raincoats felling pretty unhappy until 5pm. Then the rain magically lifted and the match got underway. It turned into such a lovely, blue sky, evening and we could enjoy the cricket without any afternoon sun beating right down on us. I was able to figure out the game pretty easily and absolutely loved it! Unfortunately because of the rain delays we only got to see the Black Caps bat. It was a 34-over game so waiting to see South Africa would have meant arriving home late. I won’t tell you the final score because it was not what we had hoped for.

 

Next up was this weekends trip to Wellington, the most Southernly capital city in the world! I hoped on a flight on Friday evening after work. Let me just say that domestic travel in New Zealand is the best thing ever. No security or passport checks and some people showed up fifteen minutes before departure! I arrived late in the evening and after checking into my hostel went out to Cuba Street, the quirky shopping and eating area. It was a great evening atmosphere and I felt pretty safe the whole time. Wellington is known for its food and coffee and it did not disappoint! Even though it’s embarrassing how much I ate, I’m going to tell you to make you jealous. I had doughnuts, waffles, crepes, muffins, coffee, milkshakes, cakes, wraps, pizza, and sausage to name a few. My stomach and wallet are hurting after this weekend.

Wellington is also a quirky hipster place and was super cool just to walk around in. I’ve been to plenty of cities and so far Toronto and Austin were the only ones I loved. Except for Wellington! Wow, I love it here. I’m not going to lie, I could see myself living here easily. Sorry mum I know that’s your worst nightmare! I don’t know why I love it here so much but I do. I may be the food, but I think that because it’s a smallish city it’s walk-able and doesn’t feel overwhelming, but because it’s a capital city there’s lots to do.

I’m going to jump to telling you about my Sunday for continuity purposes. Sunday was my day to explore most of Wellington. It started with a trip up the famous cable car which had been running for more than one hundred years I believe. At the top is the Wellington botanical gardens which were nice to walk around. After that I toured the Beehive, otherwise known as Parliament. You can look at the photo and find out how it got that nickname! New Zealand’s government is weird because it’s a Westminster parliamentary system, yet it is unicameral and runs on an MMP voting system. Essentially they took bits and pieces from other governments and made their own! After Parliament it was onto the free Wellington museum and the also free Te Papa museum. Te Papa is New Zealand’s national museum and one of the best museums I’ve ever seen! Then I went to an outdoor market and finished the day by walking around downtown shops and cafes. I went to the Embassy Theatre where all the Lord of the Rings movies movies premiered, and it was one of the coolest theatres I’ve ever seen! Even the bathrooms were beautiful! Exhausted, I headed back to the airport early to collapse and rest before the flight to Hamilton.

Jump back a day to my Saturday, which started bright and early with a full day tour of the Lord of the Rings filming locations around Wellington. It was an awesome tour and my brain is full of behind the scenes facts! Did you know Sean Bean hates planes so much he took a boat to New Zealand, or that Peter Jackson is frequently spotted in Wellington supermarkets buying frozen pies? Along with seeing tons of film locations we got a behind the scenes tour of Weta Workshops, the company that did all the props and special effects for the series. A weta is a gross looking New Zealand bug that grows to be massive. Peter Jackson actually helped start the company before LOTR. The tour was fascinating from a Rings super fan standpoint, and a movie making stance as a whole. Ask me anything from props design to makeup and prosthetics and I can tell you! The tour guide was really good because his parents actually worked for Weta on LOTR and he works for them now too! I’ll include lots of photos (although not from Weta because there was no photography allowed) of the scenes from the movies, and their real life locations. My Saturday ended with an awesome night market on Cuba Street and excellent live music and too much food!

The boys and life as an au pair are also going well. I think that the two have gotten used to and comfortable around me and I get hugs and cuddles now too! We spend a lot of time playing with tractors and running around outside. I have no complaints about either of those things!

Talk to you all again in another three weeks I suppose! Maybe next time we talk I’ll have bought a flat in Wellington?

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One thought on “Water, Wickets, Weta, and More!

  1. Very interesting, Charlotte! I think Alice will be interested to hear about the model design stuff, as that’s exactly what her uni course is about! Glad you’re enjoying it. Jo x

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