I Fell In Love

Before you all spaz out, no- it’s not with a local guy who will keep me here forever.

It’s with WELLINGTON! Obviously.

There are so many outdoor and indoor activities in Wellington, along with about 18 million coffee shops and restaurants so I wanted to share some of those things here to help explain why I am so in love with “The Coolest Little Capital.” This post would start to bore you if I wrote it all in one so I’ll break it up into a few posts. For now I’ll stick to nature related things!

1) Mount Victoria

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Sunrise, daytime, sunset…it doesn’t matter, the view never disappoints. I really enjoy spending time here and love the view from the second viewpoint which doesn’t seem to be as popular to tourists. Just walk down the road from the main one and bam! You got a slightly different vantage point and less people! I don’t think there’s a better spot to sit and stare at this amazing little city. I like walking up the trail to the top, then walking down the road which takes longer but offers some more sweet as vantage points.

2) Makara DSC_0227

Makara is about a 25 minute drive from the city center, but only due to winding skinny roads. It feels like your so far out of the city so it’s a great day escape. You can spend the whole day out there hiking or mountain biking.

3) Mount KauKau

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KauKau is the highest peak in Wellington and opposite of Mount Victoria. You have to drive the the suburb of Khandallah and it’s less that 40 minutes walk to the top. The Sound of Music 2 was filmed up here!

4) The Brooklyn Wind Turbine1888927_10155559999210370_6382465988752026730_o

This is the view from the Brooklyn Wind Turbine. There is a solo turbine just hanging out right here and this is the view from the base of it. This is one of the first places I visited in Wellington when I studied abroad because Liam brought a group of us up there. I have ran up there a few times because Esteban showed me the mountain biking trails that start in Aro Valley and lead up to it. It’s about three miles/5k uphill on the trails, so quite challenging but worth the view every time.

5) Wellington Waterfront DSC_0340DSC_0758

You can walk from Queens Wharf and out past Oriental Bay, or I suppose you could just keep walking around the bays until you’ve walked yourself silly. This is my most frequented running spot because I love the giant trees decorated with lights that line Oriental Bay. They look fake, like those little plastic lego trees but on a giant scale. I still don’t know what they’re called.

6) Botanic Gardens & Cable CarFullSizeRender

Walking through the Botanic Gardens gives you some awesome views of the harbor and city. If you go at night you can even find glow worms! There are many pathways and stunning flowers to check out and it’s also where the iconic cable car finishes its’ journey. Lucky for me the gardens are right next to my office so I snapped this photo on my lunch break!

7) The Bays

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There’s Lyall bay and there’s Island Bay, then there’s Evan’s Bay and Owhiro Bay. There’s also Oriental Bay and Shark Bay and Scorching Bay and a zillion other bays I have yet to venture out to. They’re pretty and make you feel like you’re really far out of the city. I’m excited to visit more of them.

8) Red Rocks Reserve

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Red Rocks is a marine reserve and coastal walk in Wellington. Many fur seals hang out here and breed in certain times of the year. This is a nice half day walk not far from the inner city. And yes, some of the rocks are a vibrant red color which is neat. I won’t bother with a geology lesson today…

9) Day Walks & Mountain Biking

There are all sorts of day walks in the hills surrounding the city, including the Skyline Track, Southern Walkway, and City to Sea Walkway. You can also go out to Somes Island for a day trip which is beautiful, or go to Zealandia, a nature reserve. There are also heaps of mountain biking trails which would be really cool to try out if I had a a bike. It’s good to know the opportunity is there. Maybe the bikers won’t be mad at me if I run on them?

10) Close to Tararua Forest Park and Rimutuka Forest Park

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Did someone say tramping?! Yep, there are some amazing hikes to do in these two forests.  I haven’t done any tramping in the Rimutukas but Fran and I drove through them a few weeks ago. I’m stoked to get out there and camp. Just waiting on a nice weekend to pop up!

That’s the nature side of Wellington.

Cheers:)

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Laos

To get to Laos we took a five hour van ride and then took a two day boat ride down the Mekong River to get to Luang Prabang. I REALLY enjoyed the boat ride. I didn’t expect to, but it was so leisurely and beautiful. We sat on the edge of the open windows with our feet out and beers in our hands as the mountains passed by. This boat is one of the highlights of my trip so far. We met a ton of cool travelers on the boat who we ended up hanging out with in Luang Prabang. Many people here travel alone then end up in a big pack. Eventually the group breaks up because people head to their next destination. It always feels like you’ve known the group for so long. There were some characters that’s for sure! The people you meet along the way are half the reason travel is so wonderful. We stayed in the city of Luang Prabang for four days. Favorite city thus far. It’s so laid back, I can’t really describe it. It’s less commercialized than Chiang Mai and Bangkok, and there are less people in your face to buy things.

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We nailed that day:

One day in Luang Prabang we did every possible thing we could, but not on purpose, it just happened. First we woke up at 5am to watch the monks gives alms on the streets, a daily tradition. After a nap we went to Kuang Si waterfall for about 4 hours. This waterfall is the most amazing waterfall I have ever seen. You start at the bottom and there are incredible blue pools with little waterfalls and as you keep walking the path there are more and more until you reach the big waterfall. You can then climb to the top of the giant waterfall, where there is yet another series of waterfalls that you can jump off! Off the main one, you can sit on the edge and overlook the whole valley. I’m doing a poor job of explaining but we’ll make a gopro video of it so you can see ☺ After the waterfall, we climbed the hill in the city center to overlook the mountains and river. That view though….. THEN we got fish massages! You stick your feet in a pool of fish that eat your skin cells away and it tickles so much! Hilarious! Next, we got dinner at the market (all you can fit in your bowl for $1.50) and went out with everyone to the bar Utopia. Bars close at like 11:30 here, but the bowling alley stays open until about 3 so naturally we did that. WHEW big day! We absolutely loved Laos and I’m kind of sad we left so soon but it was a good choice and I’ll explain why in the next post!

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