We planned for 2 nights in Wellington at the advice of a few people who had traveled there previously. It’s a foodie city that’s fun to meander through and not to be rushed. Also, I needed a night off re-packing our 3 suitcases.
Mount Victoria (Mt. “Vik” per locals) is a 360-degree overlook atop a 30-minute hike within city limits. It would have been a quick trip, had we not taken 2 wrong turns on the side streets leading up to the hike’s entrance and circled the block like scared tourists. The streets along Wellington’s outskirts feel a lot like San Francisco, with steep inclines and blustery wind. We began our trek up Mt. Vik after passing a group of kids coming down who were out of breath and talking about how they fell so hard that their knees were bleeding. My paper-thin Keds sneakers were a bad choice.
After having a clumsy go at swinging on a random rope swing we found along the path and almost falling on my face, we trekked up the rest of the way to the peak. I went from hot to cold and back to hot again as we weaved in and out of the path of the wind. According to an older woman at the summit, Wellington is one of the windiest places in New Zealand due to its proximity between two mountain regions. It was enough to knock you off your feet.
After taking a short detour to the Wellington Museum (I was too hungry for a long trip), we went for an early-bird dinner special at Logan Brown. Normally a pricey spot, we got a good deal on a 4-course loaded with fork-tender steak and crispy-edged white fish. Of course, we were one of only 2 tables in the restaurant eating at 5:30pm, so I can’t say much for atmosphere. We wandered the car-free stretch of Cuba Street afterward, past a night market loaded with food stands that had us regretting that third course.
Wellington had a heavy Malaysian and Cuban presence, and most signs read in both English and Chinese. I needed another day to fully immerse myself in the culinary diversity of those streets. After encountering the Peruvian National Soccer Team raging at an outdoor bar (our 2nd such encounter with this traveling team following a rowdy welcome at the Auckland Airport) we got a cocktail at a speakeasy-style bar called The Library. Order the “How I Met Your Father” served in a champagne flute from the exceedingly friendly servers.
The city felt small as the sun set and a twinkling of lights began to emerge from hillside houses. The persistent tickle I’d had in the back of my throat for days (due to the dryness in the air) was tempered by my bubbly cocktails. I will miss the food and booze, but not that biting wind.