After an overnight bus right from Rotorua to Wellington, we were super pumped for a comfy hotel room with a king-sized bed. Bonus? We got a free upgrade to one of their largest rooms in the hotel! To be honest, I think the boys at the Reception were crushing on Avery. I don’t think I was their type at all.
Upon checking in, we were told that the city was going to be quite empty due to the holiday. In my mind, I was jumping for joy. Quiet is my thing. You know what sucks? A crowded city with tourists slowing things down. (And that’s where you can tell I’m a New Yorker). We arrived early in the morning and even with Avery’s good looks, we weren’t able to check-in until 2PM, so we had some time to kill.
As you might’ve read from my Japan blogs, I am a huge fan of botanical gardens. I don’t know if it’s the quiet paths and all the succulents and flowers, but I find it to always be peaceful. (And that’s where you can understand why I left New York). Luckily, we were staying at the Park Hotel which was just a few steps from the Cable Car that takes you right to the top of the hill, bringing you right to the entrance of the Botanical Gardens. We strolled our way down the windy paths, passing the prettiest nooks and a pond with ducks and their kiddos. S’cute. Once you get to the bottom, keep walking and you’ll hit the Lady Norwood Rose Garden. I thought the rose garden in San Francisco was stunning but this was really killer.
We still had some time to kill and headed over towards the water. You can do any type of activity here - sailing, kayaking, roller blading, indoor climbing. They really have it all. Before any activities, we needed to eat and stopped by The Crab Shack. I’m a sucker for a good aesthetic so I was immediately attracted to the spot. I’m also an endless pit when it comes to seafood. Seriously, I think there’s something actually wrong with me. Anyway, order the soft shell crab. You won’t be disappointed. P.S.,I also enjoyed their clam chowder but everyone and their mother has their own specifics when it comes to chowder. Their version was lighter, more soupy than uber thick. Throw a splash of hot sauce and you’re good to go.
Sometimes, the best nights are the ones that surprise you. And that night was a surprise. We went out on Cuba Street to a very cool bar and restaurant, Materhorn. We primarily ordered drinks but ended up getting the sashimi dish and it was effing fantastic. They used a rice crisp and some scallions for this amazing blend of flavors and texture. So smart. By this point, we had two drinks each already and were feeling sassy and just the right amount of tipsy. Avery and I get this look on our face and we’ll say, “Yeah, let’s go out.” And so we did.
From there, our server, Neal, suggested Courtney Place for the rest of the evening. We shimmied over there, bought a slice of pizza and walked around. It reminded me a lot of Bowery Street in NYC, or Polk Street in SF - bar after another, after another. We actually tried to go into a bar called Mish Mosh but they wouldn’t let me in because I was wearing “jandals” aka flip flops. Excuse me? People here are walking around without shoes and you won’t let me in with my $3 flip flops? How dare you! It’s fine, I’ll just go next door.
We popped into a few “clubs” on the street but it was more amusing than fun. Stick to the bars - the clubs attract the strangest mix of people from teenagers making out in corners to 40-year-old adults trying too hard. After a few too many drinks, we made the very basic decision to eat some kebab wraps. We actually took them to-go so we could nom while watching Netflix so we could be even more basic. Then we debated about what to watch for 30 minutes. Just joking. We didn’t. We’re not THAT basic.