After the long and first of several lockdowns in Auckland, Heidi and I decided we needed to plan something to look forward to, and after the fun Xmas Eve and Day we had last Xmas we decided (after much research of prices and locations etc) on Wellington for 5 days. We started out thinking Sydney would be good, but the uncertainty of another lockdown and the frequent promotion of “stay local”, we decided it would be cool to be in Wellington for fun rather than work for a change – we know where everything is and we both have friends down there.
Thursday 24 December – Day one
Heidi picked me up and we headed for the airport early afternoon, giving us plenty of time for a bit of shopping and a drink before boarding the plane wearing facemasks.
After arriving in Wellington we realised we would need to rush to the supermarket to get alcohol supplies before going out for dinner as the shops might close early, so we decided to get the taxi to stop and wait for us while we bought beers etc on the way to the hotel. I said to Heidi I was a bit unsure about this plan because the taxi driver could drive off with all our worldly possessions, but Heidi assured me we’d be fine. Guess what – as we walked out of the liquor store fully laden with at least a week’s worth of alcohol we discovered the taxi was gone!!! I thought to myself that this was not a good time to be right. Turns out he had parked over the driveway and had to move a little bit up the road ha ha.
Because our suitcases combined were too big for the taxi boot my suitcase was in the front seat and we were surrounded by all the alcohol and bags which looked hilarious when we pulled up to the hotel and the doorman kindly opened the taxi door for me and I kinda fell out of the taxi surrounded by booze! It did seem an excessive amount of stuff for just two people for a few days in a hotel. It’s not like we were going camping and needed a whole lot of equipment. Still – the doorman graciously placed all our bags and alcohol on one of those flash suitcase things and wheeled it away while we checked in.
The hotel was so pleased to see me back after staying with the Intercontinental in Sydney for my birthday back in February, that they upgraded us to the newly refurbished rooms on the top floor – thank you Intercontinental.
Dinner was at Charley Noble which was just across the road from the hotel and very very popular. The service was awesome and the food was amazing. Poor Heidi is not a fan of Oysters but I can’t help myself, if they are on the menu then that’s what I’m having (turned out I had a lot of Oysters on this holiday – sorry Heidi).
After dinner and a few beers I decided it was time to decorate my room for Xmas and build a Lego Xmas tree in time for the big day.
Xmas Day 25 December 2020 – Day two
We planned to have our special Xmas Breakfast delivered to our rooms around 8:30 and knowing everybody in the hotel would probably be doing the same thing, we knew we had plenty of time for showers and get ready. So… hilariously when our breakfasts arrived early we were both in our showers and the poor room service guy was running backwards and forwards knocking on our doors trying to get one of us to let him in. We both opened our doors very wet and grappling with a towel at the exact same time – poor guy did not know where to look or what to do!
After that very eventful start to our hotel style Xmas Day we settled in for a wonderful day or relaxation, much more food, presents, endless Xmas music videos and of course alcohol.
By late afternoon we were over the Xmas videos (well I was still good, but Heidi was over them after the first two I’m sure), so we switched channels and discovered there was a whole channel dedicated to Winter Olympics and that’s how we learnt you could in fact ski uphill.
Xmas Dinner was a flash affair with 5 courses of amazing food and the cutest puddings ever.
Boxing Day 26 December – Day three
Today we got to enjoy the Boxing Day sales without all the stress usually associated with this day. We could just walk out the front door of the hotel (no parking issues), walk a few steps to all the best shops on Lambton Quay, make the most of the great prices available and drop off the shopping back in our rooms once our hands were full and head back out again for more. Best buy of the day for me was from JB Hi Fi (which had moved and proved quite hard to find the entrance), the Bose wireless noise cancelling headphones – beautiful sound and so comfortable unlike the things I bought from Apple that were definitely not designed for ears like mine.
After all that shopping we changed for dinner and headed out to the restaurant at the Rydges Hotel – The Portlander. The food was amazing and we spotted someone drinking a fabulous looking cocktail called a Neopolitan which looked so good we had to have one (or maybe two I don’t remember). It tasted just like Neapolitan ice cream.
A friend met us at the hotel for dinner and came back to one of our rooms to finish off the night with a rather large glass of Baileys Red Velvet Cup Cake liqueur.
Sunday 27 December – Day four
I think the Baileys may have been a mistake! Or perhaps it was the sheer size of the tumblers we were drinking out of. Or could it have been the Neapolitan cocktails or beers? I’ll never know but let’s just say neither of us felt much like a big day trip north when we headed out for the train station.
Today we went to Cape Palliser Lighthouse which is at the very bottom of the North Island. The plan was to catch a train to Featherstone where a friend of Heidi’s would pick us up from and drive us to the lighthouse. BUT thanks to some renovations at the train station we had to catch a bus!!! Travelling on a bumpy lurchy bus was not ideal in our state. Luckily we only had to catch the bus as far as Upper Hutt and then transfer to the train for the rest of the journey. The train journey was not too bad but it did travel through what must be the longest tunnel in the world – it went on and on forever.
To get to the lighthouse we drove past a few spots where the Lord of the Rings was filmed which was cool and then finally we made it to the lighthouse. Only problem was… it was at the top of a million steps.
I’m very proud to say I made it. The photo doesn’t really do a good job of showing how steep the stairs were or how many there were, but hopefully you get the idea from the fact there is a special resting platform a third of the way up.
Once at the top I had a huge sense of achievement, and am very grateful that I still have a certain level of fitness that enabled me to make it all the way to the top.
On the way back to Featherstone we stopped at a Seal colony and the Lake Ferry Hotel for a well earnt drink. Apparently the Lake Ferry hotel is very famous, but I’m not convinced.
After that we stopped at a few vineyards to try some famous Martinborough wine.
It was a big day out so we had a very quiet dinner back at the Portlander restaurant which just wasn’t as much fun as it was the night before.
Monday 28 December – Day five
Our very last day was tidy up time and a bit of relaxing before heading home for Auckland.