Wellington was always going to be a bit of an experience. It was our first dip into the world of youth hostels, since our stays in motels along the way weren’t particularly favourable. When we rock up to ‘Lodge in the City’ – its huge and the reception area is full of late-teens, early-twenty-somethings, checking in with their backpacks and hangovers – all horrified to see us stood there with kids (like mum and dad might spoil their fun). I’m a bit horrified, thinking this place might just be ‘party central’ and what have we let ourselves in for?! However our family room, although well lived-in and a bit shabby, was clean, sunny and quiet. And only 2 minutes walk to the centre of Wellington!
Wellington was an enjoyable city. A dichotomy of being quite smart and cosmopolitan; but also funky too, with a great high street full of really unique shops, boutiques and independent coffee bars and restaurants. The ‘Te Papa’ museum was also fantastic. Recommended to us by many, it was well worth a visit and completely free! We spent hours there because there are 6 floors to explore. The kids favourite sections were the ‘X-ray room’ (lots of skeletons and bones of creatures big and small), the living world (lots of taxidermy!) and also the ‘Natural forces’ section, where you can experience a small-scale earthquake. We also enjoyed taking ‘selfies’ in the modern art section and writing poetry with the magnetic words.
Other things we enjoyed in Wellington, is the city cable car, that is tucked away in the shopping district of the city, but carries you far away, up into the lush, botanical garden, that graces the city and provides a beautiful sheltered walk through lush greenery, and even includes a brilliant play-park, suitable for kids of all ages and abilities.
We stopped for coffee at Midnight Expresso, 178 Cuba Street, in the boho district of the city. This was a little inconspicuous place from the outside, but inside sold fantastic cakes, specialising in vegan and gluten-free specialities. The kids enjoyed the pinball machine and watching the world go by outside.