Day #10,290: After a chilly night in Hastings, we were up before sunset to drive across the North Island of New Zealand. Mr. M & I had a flight to the South Island to catch and wanted to leave plenty of time to make it to the airport.
Our morning wasn’t slated for mere transportation. The whole beauty of the road trip is being able to engage with the place through which you’re traveling- the journey is pretty much whatever you choose to make it.
Throughout our stay on the North Island, we kept seeing advertisements for something called Tui.
Turns out Tui is a beer, home-brewed in New Zealand. (This gem of knowledge only came when I finally saw Tui on a menu and realized that a side of chewing tobacco would be awfully unlikely.) When I realized our road trip was winding right past Tui Headquarters, I made a Last-Minute Executive Decision that the morning necessitated a stop.
Our spontaneous decision to visit Tui Central meant we arrived an hour before it even opened and had to camp out in the parking lot like drunks. Who shows up to a brewery at 9am?
One of the Tui employees even came out to check on us and make sure we were okay. I figured the employees drew straws and the shortest one had to come out and try to discern if we were drugged, already sauced, or dangerous, but she just wanted to offer us a seat inside by the fire since the morning was so cold. Kiwi are some of the nicest folk we’ve met anywhere. :)
At precisely 10am, Mr. M & I became the first boozers on the scene and decided to hit the small museum to lend legitimacy to our visit.
Tui is quite proud of its slogan: “Yeah, right.” Neither Mr. M nor I could figure out what business the phrase “yeah, right” had in trying to get people to drink more beer (or for that matter, what business it had being used in the year 2010), but some of the phrases Tui was ‘yeah right’-ing were pretty funny in a ridiculous, unapologetically chauvinistic way.
Assuming 10:30am was late enough to respectably ask for a drink at the bar (“Yeah, right”), Mr. M & I opted for a beer tasting.
If we’re being honest here, I think beer is quite disgusting. I wish I liked it because it seems satisfying to have a beer at a baseball game or perhaps after mowing the lawn. (If we had a mower. Or a lawn.) But alas, beer tastes like fermented yuck.
But when in Rome… or Tui Country, New Zealand…
Unable to come remotely close to finishing our tasting- a very good thing, considering we were in the middle of a road trip (safety disclaimer: Mr. M, at least, was a Very Responsible Designated Driver- as if you’d expect anything less from him), we continued on to Wellington.
There was actually no need to scream, as giant kiwi birds are happily everywhere when taking roadtrips through the North Island countryside.
In almost every town we drove through, we saw these wharenui– community meeting halls devoted to propagation of Maori culture.
By the time we made it to Wellington, Mr. M & I only had an hour or so before we had to skedaddle to the airport- sad, sad, sad, and one of the many reasons why I need to return to New Zealand. What’s a girl to do with only an hour? See the Wellington Botanical Gardens, of course! I love me a botanical garden.
The Wellington Botanical Gardens balance high atop one of the city’s beautiful hills. We found street parking, set our emergency brake, and got to wandering the green-laced paths.
And just like that- as quickly as Wellington came into our lives, so she left.
Because there’s so much of the world to experience and so little time to experience it, we’re generally pretty extensive in the depth of our traveling- we try to do it all because I figure I won’t have the luxury of returning. But from our first day in the country, Mr. M & I both felt like New Zealand was somewhere that we would need to revisit (in fact, it remains Mr. M’s favorite place we’ve ever been. Ever.). So it wasn’t goodbye to Wellington- it was till next time.
After our flight to the South Island, we only had a tiny bit of day left to explore Christchurch, wander the funky SoMo neighborhood, and enjoy some yummy Himalayan food on Columbo Street.
Although we were honorary Christchurchians (?) for only a few hours, we found it to be one of our favorite cities on this three-week trip through Australia and New Zealand. Our hearts go out to the people of the city who are still working to rebuild in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. With such a resilient spirit, I have no doubt that the city is just as beautiful as it was when we visited.
I do think I need to return soon anyway… just to make sure.
Details of the Day:
Accommodations: Thanks to the glory of tripadvisor, we had the good sense to stay at CentrePoint on Colombo Motel in Christchurch. The room had free wifi, a fridge & microwave, and a massage recliner in front of the tv! Score! The husband and wife owners, Jeff and Naomi, were unbelievably friendly. (Happy P.S.: Both owners and motel are okay, and Colombo is open post-quake!)
Visiting Christchurch: At this time, one of the best things you can do to help Christchurch rev back up to normal after the 2011 earthquake (which ended up being the 4th deadliest natural disaster in New Zealand’s history) is to go visit! Support local businesses! Just be sure to book your accommodations pretty far in advance, as not all hotels have re-opened and beds are at a premium.