12 Mar 2016

Over The Mtn's & Thru The Woods - NZL by valeriepeltier

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For the morning Lauren and I took a little extra time so we could relax and ease into the day instead of getting a jump start on the city. Instead we stayed in until lunch time, heading out just after we had eaten. Our main attraction we were headed for was the Te Papa Museum, which we had been told you need at least 3 hours to complete. Along the way there were several things that had caught our eye and we may have ended up getting distracted for an extra hour or so before heading to the museum.
We first walked by a pride festival happening in the courtyard of the building next door, continuing around the harbor side of the museum towards a jumping hole in the dock. People surrounding it, some standing others sitting a few brave people jumping. The spiral staircase leading up over a cutout in the boardwalk leading into the water below. I watched others in awe as they did their back flips and cannonballs into the water below as they breached the surface again after submerging into the sea. If I would of had my bathing suit on, I definitely would of jumped as that afternoon it was actually warm enough.
We had eventually found our way to the entrance of the Te Papa museum and beginning our exploration on the first floor through the discovery center and the sea and forest creatures. The first level also brought you out to a forest walk, where they had replicated a limestone cave and the features and plants you would find within a typical forest growing on top of limestone. The second floor led you inside some of the traditional Maori homes and gathering huts that would be found within their villages.
After four floors of copious amounts of interesting facts and knowledge about New Zealand we were exhausted mentally and ready for a snack break. During our walk to the museum we had wandered by a real fruit ice cream truck, so we decided to head back there. Just outside of the museum there were some entertainers performing with a crowd surrounding them, so we quickly went and got our ice cream and returned to watch their show. They performed various tricks with hats, juggling balls, hula hoops, and a unicycle while engaging and utilizing the audience in their tricks. When they completed their show, everyone scattered and continued on their way.
Our next destination was Frank Kitts Park where the Playground Art Festival was taking place. This festival/ carnival was a rather special one due to the fact that it is built and run by the arts community of Wellington using various items and parts in order to construct the rides. They had built a Ferris wheel, a fanning station, a swing set, a bike race and a carousel. They were all really neat and it was very interesting to see which components they had used to create the rides to make each one special.
Since the night market didn't start until 5:30 we figured we could sit for a little bit instead of wandering, so we sat in Civic Square on a patch of Astro turf surrounded by large buildings protecting us from the wind while still allowing the sun to pass through and warm us. While we sat there we watched many people pass by some stopping to do the same but the majority passing through and continuing on to their destinations. Shortly after we sat down a couple guys on the other side of the grass in an corner began playing some hip hop music and practicing their break-dancing moves. It was quite entertaining to watch but we only sat for so long because it was getting close to dinner time and the night market was almost in full swing.
The market lined the whole lower half of Cuba street with food trucks and booths, each one specializing in a different cultural flavor. For dinner Lauren and I each purchased a burrito and for dessert we split some churros, and a cherry chocolate waffle. By the time we finished we were both pretty full and ready to retire for the evening.