So another wealth of information on our time within the Wellington region. Yes there is more to Wellington than just the capital city.
Masterton for us was a unique experience as we had friends to show us around their life on the farm that they work on. So although I will tell you about our time, I am sure you could have a similar experience of sorts if you did a ‘farm stay’ that I have seen advertised. It was also very nice to be able to get out of the van for a couple of nights. Our weekend started with us arriving, having followed maps.me to a place in the middle of nowhere and praying that it was the correct address. On arrival we found the door ajar the music pumping through the house – what a way to start the weekend! Surrounded by rolling hills and with dogs running around the garden wanting to round up the neighbouring sheep that were relaxing in the afternoon sunshine, it couldn’t have been a more stereotypical New Zealand scene.
The weekend of country fun included going to see the single most New Zealand competition I could even imagine, Sheep sheering. We went to a country fair on the Saturday that held a series of events that included; sheep sheering, herding sheep and show jumping. I mean I couldn’t make it up even if I tried. It’s just too good! The sheep sheering was the one that made me laugh though. I have never seen something that was so funny in my view, a competition as to who could sheer the most sheep the fastest. It isn’t as easy at it looks though I was informed.
I mean, from what I could understand of what was happening – the commentator gave his running commentary throughout the event that helped immensely, it was all very impressive.
I have to say going around the farm on quad bike to see the animals and how they go about their routine was really interesting for us. Even though it was trying to rain towards the end of our little tour. It also allowed us to see what we consider the ‘real New Zealand’. The less tourist filled areas that make up the majority of the country, with its large number of farms dotted around both the north and south island. All in all, our time in Masterton was made so much fun due to both the wonderful hospitality and being able to get out of the van for a couple of nights. It was very welcome to have a bed that wasn’t on wheels for a change!
So we were passing through on our way to Wellington and we started driving down this road that we thought was one of the highways. It turned out that the road was actually between two national forests and so was ridiculously twisty and extremely narrow. Truly it was less than ideal. Making our way in Jeanine along this maze of a road was a bit of a challenge due to it being a two way single track road with some enormous drop offs along one side for most of the way. It has to be said; I was pleased that Will was driving rather than me on this particular occasion. We stayed the night, before heading into the Taraua forest park to go find the set of Rivendell from Lord of the Rings. Although the forest has reclaimed the spaces used in the making of the films, it is still a beautiful place to see. This makes it a worthwhile spot to visit even if like me you don’t fully appreciate the significance of the location in reference to The Lord of the Rings.
By the time we reached Wellington we had been living out of a van for almost a month, and were starting to show the signs of tiring. We arrived on a Friday night and went for a little Friday night bowling. To be honest I had forgotten how terrible I was at bowling which is not an exaggeration. The first game we played I hadn’t even hit double figures. Yes that is embarrassing, but there was nothing I could do. However, I did manage to redeem myself in the second game. I don’t know what changed but something finally clicked into place. One of the places that we really loved in Wellington was Cuba street. This fun little street is filled with quirky restaurants and bars that were so much fun to have a browse around.
Whilst in the capital we also visited the museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa) to seek out some culture. Although some of the art in there was a little strange, most of it was interesting and the information that they provide is very stimulating. Overall it is well worth a gander.
It was very strange being back in a city environment, especially a city that we could easily walk across relatively quickly. This is the one thing that I cannot seem to wrap my head around out here. The cities are all so small that they don’t even compare to the ones back home. I am pretty sure that if their cities were back home they would fit within the boundaries of most UK towns.