As I mentioned in my Auckland post, I decided to travel from Auckland by way of the Northern Explorer, a train that runs through the North Island countryside over the course of about 10 hours. The seats were comfortable, the food available on board was tasty (albeit not cheap), and the views were spectacular!
The views from the train’s viewing deck were absolutely phenomenal
The train pulled into town right around dinner time, so I hopped in an Uber to quickly check into my hostel (Trek Global Backpackers), and then went to grab a bite to eat on Cuba Street, which is known for its many restaurants.
The next day I was supposed to do a burger food tour as a part of Wellington on a Plate with some people from my hostel, but they bailed and didn’t tell me until 5 minutes before it started. So a bit of my day ended up being wasted on account of travel time. I made up for it by picking up a winter coat for my time on the South Island. I also visited the Te Papa Museum in downtown Wellington, which featured several unique exhibits on New Zealand culture, wildlife, and even war history.
The plaza outside of Te Papa Museum, the home to many fascinating exhibits
The next day was really fun! I started it off with a tour of The Weta Cave, the workshop where props and practical effects for dozens of films have been created for several decades, including those for The Lord of the Rings! Pictures weren’t allowed inside save for the final room, but the information imparted to us was incredibly cool, and it was amazing to see the real props that had been used in the films.
A cool sculpture of Gandalf, painted bronze
In the afternoon, I decided to head up the Wellington Cable Car to get a view of the city and to check out the botanic gardens. I found a piano at the top of the cable car and ended up playing for the first time in weeks! It felt good to get some music under my fingers again. Oh yeah, and the views were cool too I guess!
I got a great view of the city and the ocean from the top of Wellington’s cable car
Finally, I headed to the airport to catch a quick flight over to Christchurch! Of course, no flight through Wellington Airport would be complete without a picture of some more of The Weta Cave’s famous work, the giant statue of Smaug the Dragon from The Hobbit!
The Weta Cave’s work is everywhere, even at the airport!
It’s amazing how time flies - only two cities left on this whole trip, and Christchurch was the penultimate one!
Want more? Check out an overview of my New Zealand trip here!