After a couple days exploring Wellington, I’ve started towards Tongariro by way of Wanganui.
Wellington was a nice change of pace from life in Christchurch. It was nice to have a dense CBD – central business district – to wander around, with people who were there to enjoy the city rather than to look at earthquake destruction. The YHA in town was my home base for a couple nights, where a couple friends who’re moving from Christchurch to Wellington were also staying.
Thursday was a pretty lazy day overall, with the first half occupied by the ferry ride and getting my bearings in town. Wandering through Te Papa – the big museum in Wellington – occupied most of Friday for me. It’s a very nice museum, mostly focused on natural history, but with a bit of everything New Zealand in the mix. We spent Friday night out on the town, and met some fun local folks at a Welsh themed bar over a few games of pool.
Saturday morning, I reluctantly headed out North from town. It would be nice to stay around, but I’m anticipating spending a few more days in Wellington on the way back south, and wanted to give myself plenty time to try hiking in Tongariro whenever weather allows.
An hour or so out of town, I stopped for a break from driving and realised that someone had attempted to break into my car in Wellington, and completely destroyed the drivers door lock in the process. Didn’t notice in Wellington, as I had unlocked the car through the passenger seat… Quite annoying, but least they didn’t get into the car!
The remainder of my drive to Wanganui was pretty uneventful. So far the North Island seems much more populated than the South Island. Stretches of road without farms or towns nearby seem quite rare, and there are many more roads to choose from!
One of the first things I found in Wanganui was this sculpture – a giant chrome ball bearing, with the outline of the Wanganui river cut into the surface.
Wanganui seemed quiet, but quite arty for it’s size. It was very humid and chilly when I was in town. Dreary weather combined with the relatively large art school in town being out on break made it felt a bit “dead”, but I got the impression that it’s probably a fun little town when school is in session.
The weather has been less than ideal, with lots of cloud and intermittent rain that is apparently falling as snow in the mountains. The Tongariro Northern Circuit might fit into a good weather window in a day or two, my plan is to wait and see what the weather does.