If you all thought I gave up on New Zealand, I didn’t!
For those who haven’t visited in a long time, I hope you’re all liking the new layout and all. I’m still trying to figure out what I want but I’m slowly getting there. I’ve finally ditched the old logo even though I only had it for a year, and opted for something cleaner (my logo design tends to look like some raunchy mid-day drama soap series logo). I will be making more changes soon along the way. I think if I make my blog a place somewhere nice and make it feel “mine” then most likely I will be more inclined to update more often. I’m not finding much inspiration, so I can only hope to inspire myself. Well, here’s the rest of the New Zealand trip… fingers crossed I haven’t forgotten too much.
Day 3 was the execution of my crazy ambitious idea to climb to the peak of Mount Victoria. There are buses available FYI and you can drive to the top, but I thought that it would be fun – or rather, an accomplishment – to make it to the top by foot. It was more about the experience and conquering the low mountain (wikipedia calls it a hill and marks it at 196m tall) as well as the views from the top.
Probably the only thing I regret was not being able to see the view from the peak during night (that would have been nice), but there were so many people there during the day it probably would have been packed (and cold) at night. Well, there’s always next time?
Breakfast was at Sweet Mother’s Kitchen which is a pretty busy hotspot for brunch and is apparently famous for their curly fries. We had a bit of a problem as the curly fries menu is only available after 11:30am… so we literally waited for 11:30am to order the fries after finishing our breakfast.
This was my breakfast – a hot blackcurrant tea (read: heated Ribena in a mug) and fried chicken and waffles with maple syrup. Yes, that’s right. I had fried chicken for breakfast. Not the smartest idea in the world, because this (well actually it was probably the fries) completely screwed my stomach over the next few days. I don’t think I will ever have anything deep fried for breakfast ever again – it tasted really good while I had it, but for someone who eats clean, rarely eats fried food let alone sugar, this really messed me up.
The curly fries are
a bit of a let down – they were pretty crumbly and well, normal potato fries would be much better. I don’t really recommend these unless it’s for the novelty factor. We had a ton of jokes about the curly fries after trying them, so don’t do it! Unless you enjoy making lots of jokes about curly fries.
So the climb started. There were about 2 steep long streets, and the rest were medium, gentle slopes. We stopped midway at this sign because there were two girls hovering near it, and there was an arrow beckoning us to go up.
I took the wrong path (it was heading back down instead of up) because this was the only thing that looked like a path to me. There was a suspiciously roughed up path up a very steep hill that I passed and well, that was the actual route. A middle aged couple who were coming down suggested we go around and not go up the steep way… and well, we deliberated over it a little but decided we had time and went back to the road and take the gentler route up.
The two girls from before actually went up the super steep route and we saw them at the top… so I guess it wasn’t too terrible. Doesn’t hurt to play it safe, though.
The last stretch was pretty bad and steep D: There were like 2 long flights of stairs after a sharp steep hill, but it felt awesome after getting to the top! Even so this was still not the peak – though I must say I prefer this lookout more than the actual lookout because it was tranquil, had a roof over it, and had little to no people there to block the view. The view from the lookout was used as the cover image of this post (at the top if you missed it).
Here was the walk, broken down to the top. The views along the way were actually better than the views at the actual peak where the deck was and a million of other people were.
First image you see is top view of Oriental Beach which looks absolutely stunning.
We got a lift back down Mount Victoria via an easy drive down which would have otherwise taken us at least 30 minutes to walk down. My original plan was to walk back down and take a walkway down to Oriental Bay, but instead we headed off to Miramar and I was taken on a short drive along Karaka Bay and Massey Road, beach hopping along the eastern coast. It was amazing! The smell of the seaweed, the colour of the sky and the water and how clear the waters were against the dark rocks – and with sailing boats and green mountains in the distance all seemed so peaceful and surreal to me. I’m not a beach person – and most of the beaches we have here have nothing in the distance, which actually scares me a little. These beaches however do have something in the distance which adds that extra bit of layer to the scenery and I put my mind at ease.
We had a milkshake from Scorch-o-Rama at Scorching Bay Beach, and then ended up near the Wowington sign which was interesting as Hollywood has tried hard to get that down!
After that we were dropped off at Oriental Bay Beach to walk along its entire length. It wasn’t as long as I had anticipated, as it is quite a small beach, and a fabricated one at that. Overall though, the sand at Oriental wasn’t as nice as Scorching Bay Beach, and I must say, Oriental looked nice from the top, but not so nice on level.
This is the only panoramic shot I got of Oriental Bay (or any shot, rather, because my camera battery died and all I had was my phone).
There was this random guy that we saw several times along the way and I genuinely thought they were clones or wearing uniform – you know how you think that while you’re driving there is some guy running next to your car jumping over obstacles to match your pace? It was kind of like that in a weird way. But anyway, Oriental Bay is a must visit… from the top down. It’s not really worth spending too much time at. The only thing nicer about this than Bondi Beach is probably the water and the fact that you can see land in the distance (because I get freaked out if I can’t see anything in the horizon) otherwise Bondi wins hand down for sand, size and just everything else, really.
Dinner was at a New York influenced um, bistro (?) called Five Boroughs. We were lucky to get seats somewhat quickly but there was a long wait on food. I didn’t mention lunch, and that’s because I skipped it, so basically my stomach was dying at this point. Ordered an off the menu chilli dog (which isn’t all that chilli by the way) and a cream spinach which kind of tastes like soggy spinach in warm milk. Kinda weird, but it was alright. For $6 and like 3 mouthfuls though – maybe a salad would have been a bit better.
I would consider myself pretty lucky as Wellington hardly has fireworks, and I managed to strike it lucky with the fireworks/ Sky Show. Unfortunately due to crazy stomach pain (skipped lunch, and dinner was pretty late) I could not make it and spent the rest of my night in my hotel room. The fireworks sounded pretty lively from my room, but I heard it was pretty crowded with people – maybe a good idea for me to not be out there in the open or I would have crumbled over in pain lol.
This is one of the worst things about travelling (for me anyway). I have a pretty weak stomach and my stomach hurts when I am anxious, or if I don’t eat my meals on time. I usually experience problems from a week before I am set to fly, and that is pretty bad. This time I somehow managed a combination of both – same as the Hong Kong case – only this time I actually made an effort to eat meals on time, rather than avoid eating meals. I don’t recall a single trip where I have gone without worrying about my stomach, be it a short or long trip I was never really interested in travelling until now though, so I must figure out a way to overcome this problem and somehow make myself eat meals on time and avoid this problem.
I think another problem I have is that I underestimate the number of calories I need because I forget to weigh in the amount of activity I do in the equation. We did a lot of walking in New Zealand, and I probably did not consume enough calories to make up for the energy used. Sucks.
This was my breakfast. From day 2 I realised I walked past heaps of cafes without noticing that they were cafes… so I stopped somewhere closer to where I was. This was a nice cafe that was cozier then the previous morning – I preferred this place much more as it made me feel more at home.
I headed to this place called Capital Markets which is opposite my hotel. There is a place called SJUICE which has a few different juice variations – I ordered 2 juices – oxygenator (beetroot, ginger, apple… or carrot – I forgot) and I forgot the name of the other, which was a blend of apple, celery and orange (possibly carrot). This is nothing like Boost. This is like 100% juice, and more natural than New Zealand Natural (which by the way does not actually exist in New Zealand). The juice was hands down the best juice I have had not produced by the juice machine we have at home. Highly recommended.
We had a very curvy, winding and pretty heart attack inducing drive to Makara Beach (New Zealanders pronounce this “Makra” whilst I clearly said this “Mak-ah-ra” the first time round), which is at the north eastern coast of the Wellington area. It was super curved and basically the road was chiseled out of a mountain edge. I am so lucky that I was not the one driving or else I would be going at like 20km/h. Basically if you sit at Makara and look out you see nothing in the horizon – and you are actually looking in the direction of Tasmania/ Australia.
It was the first time I have seen/ been to a beach made out of just rocks. It was a pretty cold beach – a bit depressing even, but the sides where the hill/ cliffs were are covered in lush green plantation and it just looks so different since the contrast is so big – cold and bare, versus green and happyland. I don’t know why but it is quite comforting and I can understand why it would be a great place to have a campfire or to just sit and think about life. I think we saw an albatross or two, which is crazy because I have never seen albatrosses in person before.
After that we headed for the Wind Turbine, which was another heart attack inducing winding drive. For the first time on my trip I saw sheep! We all keep hearing all these sheep jokes and New Zealand, but I only managed to see a few sheep, and horses too. Then the drive up the mountain to the wind turbine was hectic… it was a narrow road with no line drawn (and no fence/ barrier so you could actually drive off the edge…..) but it was a 2-way. CRA-ZY.
I have never been so close to a turbine before… it wasn’t as windy as I expected – probably because they weren’t spinning at full turbo (yeah my puns are getting lame here). Still mesmerising though *_*
And this is the view from the top. The best part was being able to see the clouds so low and watching it cast the slightest shadows with their movements… and the snowy peaks of the south island in the distance. It was too bad that I couldn’t capture that on camera, but it was awesome. I noticed that there were trails through the distance… now that would be some pretty hardcore trail walking. Not sure if they were actually trails or roads… but crazy anyway. This was probably my favourite view on this trip, but I must say all the views so far have been amazing.
Stopped by at Long Island Bay… and had a quick lunch before I was dropped off at Zealandia Ecosanctuary, which marks my first and only solo activity throughout the trip.
I wanted to sum everything up in one post and then call it quits, but Zealandia will take a bit of space so I better save it for another day. I took so many photos and walked around the long way so I will write about it another time.
Hope everyone is enjoying life right now – Sydney’s coldest weather in 5 years. What weather was 5 years ago anyway? I don’t even remember. I will be back with the next part (eventually) and hopefully squeeze in something interesting – later.