Sunday, October 8, 2023

WOW23 - Wellington Weekend Trip

WOW... what a weekend! (Pun intended) 😊

Top Highlights:
✅ First trip out of CHC in over 3 years!
✅ Finally got to have lunch at Grand Century again (+ got hands on a whole bunch of coconut buns 😋). Discovered a bunch of new favs there too this time 😋 🤤
✅ Finally actually visited the Botanic Gardens. A surprising birding heaven! Saw multiple tui, pair of keruru, a kaka (!!!), and a bunch of fantails.  Possibly heard bellbirds too?
✅ Attended WOW again (+ got to stay in closest hotel this time)

(Trip notes cross-posted from a Mastodon thread for posterity)

Other Neat Stuff:
* Found a place with some of the best Fish and Chips I've had in a long time.

* Got some nice shots from the flight up and back. Particular highlights included:
- A bunch of interesting cloud-wave patterns in the sky near Banks Peninsula
- Flying over an Interislander

* Seeing a sail-boat regatta happening in the harbour up close. Wow, those things moved fast (despite little wind + not foiling)




* Realised for first time that waka are held together by using ropes to tie the wood together using several knot patterns (was cool seeing these called out and shown)

Had always thought they just "slotted together... somehow" 🤣

* Maori have Totem Poles too?!  Thing seemed to glare at you where ever you stood under it!

(EDIT: Apparently those were "Pou" (sp?))

* Mataaho Collective's woven mat was quite interesting. Staff member helpfully pointed out that camera flash reveals a hidden pattern 


Unexpected Fun Moment:

Listening to a teen / student animatedly showing off her supermarket loot/haul to her friend. She was apparently treating herself to a bunch of stuff after finally landing a job at some vegan-Indian restaurant 😂

(The awkward part of this exchange though is that it was all happening on the cable car, and they were sitting directly opposite us in the crowded cabin LOL 🤣)


There were a few downsides of the trip though:

* Had raging insomnia for both nights. First night got about 5.5 hrs (broken + split by a 2hr awake period). Second night got maybe 3-4 hrs (+ even more fitful), coupled with early start to catch return flight. Ended up totally crashing this afternoon!

* Brought wrong jacket with me! Ended up leaving all 3 of my lovely winter jackets well suited for these conditions, and only having lightest of my warmer weather ones (suited for mid-teens+)


Perhaps the other downside:
Realising I need to plan a few more trips back up here in future 😂 Among other itinerary items currently:

* More dedicated + frequent trips up just for Dim Sum lunches (and/or visits to other stuff)

* Need to make a dedicated day/short trip with bird lens, then visit some combination of Botanic Gardens / Zealandia again.  (Both visits to these, I only had my standard zoom lens)

* Figure out easier way to get to the Begonia House (+ when it has stuff to see)

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