We arrived in Wellington from Turangi later in the day and parked in the fantastic Plimmerton NZMCA park which was pretty busy. While we were enjoying a nice glass of wine, more Motorhomes and Caravans rocked in until it was pretty much a full house!
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Our neighbours were doing fish and chips from the Plimmerton fish and chip shop so we joined them and later ate them together down at the Plimmerton beach. Very pleasant!
Fiona’s cousin Shona and her other half Mark live right opposite the Fish shop so we tried knocking on their door for a surprise visit. It was fantastic to see them and they were bowled over by our appearance at their door.
The next morning, we caught the train into Wellington Central from the Plimmerton station and one thing I’ve always liked about Wellington station is its amazing design.
After having a coffee at Fiona’s favourite French Café, we walked down towards the Macs bar by Te Papa for lunch. Very civilised I thought 🙂
On the way there, I couldn’t believe the dearth of people in central Wellington streets. Wellington is usually alive and kicking but not today ( mid monday morning in Covid red zone).. very sad for the retailers.
I did a shot down one of the main streets, Featherston street, and there were no people or cars for blocks. Hopefully this comes back after Covid settings ease.
The sky started to look a bit threatening and I didn’t have any wet weather gear with me so I started to head back to the train station leaving Fiona to come back later.
A fun day in Wellington. The next morning we were on the Bluebridge ferry.
Yep it was really sunny. I was a bit anxious coming into Wellington as the city is not famous for its abundance of parking for Motorhomes at a sensible price.
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As we came over the Rimutaka’s, I thought we’d give the Petone Workingman Clubs parking a shot and see if we could fluke a powered site. When we arrived, we were in luck!
They have recently increased the price to $20 with or without power but with power, I think that is pretty reasonable and the food and facilities are just the best. The parking area is quite big with room for about 15-20 off Caravans and Motorhomes with a gap. There are only 4 powered sites all bunched together around a corner fence. You have to be quick to get a powered site 🙂
I went to sign in and we went in to have a drink and some tea. We’re members of a club in the south island so were able to use that for the bar. Great food at great prices. Nice to see the dancing on the floor too while people waited for their dinner.
The next day we walked around to the Ava train station and caught a train into Wellington.
The train system in Wellington is so slick. Why can Wellington do this and Auckland can’t!
15 minutes or so from Petone and we’re in the center of Wellington enjoying lunch at a French café not far from the railway station. We walked downtown to the waterfront area which is really nicely done with cafes everywhere and plenty of seating and relaxing space for the office workers. Lots of runners and people exercising in their lunch breaks, its great to see.
Fiona indicated shopping was on the agenda so it was time for me to slowly walk back to the train and head back to Rafe. Fiona arrived about an hour later and it was time to head back into the club for dinner.
The next morning, Fiona wanted to catch up with an old friend from Devonport now living in Upper Hutt so she caught the train up there and I went for a walk around Petone, just a block away.
Its a neat place Wellington and it was nice that over the 3 nights we were there, we didn’t have anything but sunshine and sometimes a little cloud.
I love what the clubs are doing with them making their parking available to us to stay and its a great place to have a meal or a drink too and at great prices.
Wellington beckoned with some photographic work for some ads and a manual for a client I’ve worked with for nearly 20 years. The plan was to drive down in Rafe, take my gear and photograph some people in and around Wellington doing their thing.
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So off we went checking in with our old friends Dianne and Gary along the way in Taupo, and the next day, checking in to the Wellington Top 10 in Petone.
They were doing an off season deal where if we stayed for more than 5 days, we’d get an extra two nights for free. That worked perfectly for us as the work was finished in 5 days and we’d get to catch up with some of Fiona’s cousins for the last days.
The client also arranged for a small rental car so I could get around to all their sites and get the piccies done which was magic.
Once the work was done, we had a half day where we could have a bit of a look around with the car to see my old school in Clifton Terrace in the city in Wellington. Its now called a model school. I’m not sure what that means but it was two classrooms and went from the primers all the way to standard 6. I was about standard 2 or thereabouts and occasionally used to catch the Cable Car to school 🙂
The house we lived in then has now gone and is roughly where the motorway is by the Aurora Tce bridge.
We checked our old house in Eastbourne and later, my grandparents old house in Melrose over the hill from the Zoo. The house was huge with a massive garden up the hill behind which was almost vertical.
I remember watching the old Bristol Freighters taking off from Wellington Airport across the other side of Lyall Bay. My bedroom when we stayed there (we were living in Christchurch then) was on the top floor and used to get the lighthouse flicking through the window every now and then on the wall… amazing.
He also had an amazing workshop and showed me how to make string puppets and a lot of other things. All sorts of things came out of that small workshop. He made some trolleys for us (younger brother and sisters) to play with on the terrace outside above the garages.
He was a really clever guy and I could never work out why my mothers nick name for him was foolie 🙂
A house with lots of memories.
After returning the rental car, we caught the bus into the city with the idea that we would visit Te Papa and see what had been updated but that was first day of lockdown and it was closed, so we settled for a nice lunch at Mac’s with a glass of wine.. very civilised !
We’ve stayed at the Top 10 before and it is really the only Motorcamp in Wellington for bigger vehicles. It is well equipped with everything and being quiet, we pretty much had a whole section of 6 parks to ourselves for the first part of the week.
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Wellington top 10 reception !
Amazing reception area!
The BBQ area at the top 10
One of the best games / entertainment spaces I’ve seen in a Holiday Park.
More of that amazing games room
Plenty of room
Fiona up on Mt Victoria
I had to get this.. everyone else has taken it 🙂
One of the old Cable car trams
Outside Te Papa
I had to photograph some people (formal business portraits) using a portable studio and they were very obliging in letting me use a corner of their conference room for an hour.
They are about to install a heated pool which sounds huge. That will be great as it is a little bit removed from anywhere but the bus stop to the city is only a 10 minute walk away.
They have the best TV / Games room I’ve ever seen in a campground and everything else is tip top. A nice park with everything you would expect from a Top 10 park.
Earlier in the week, we checked in with Fiona’s Cousins, Shona and Bruce and their partners in Plimmerton.
After stopping at their local supermarket which has the best parking for Motorhomes I’ve ever seen, we stayed in Fiona’s other cousin Malcolm and Michelle’s driveway before heading back up to Taupo.
It’s always nice to catch up with Dianne and Gary in Taupo. Their house is on the market so it might be our last night at their old house. We enjoyed a fun night with a glass of wine or two and lots of laughs.
A week of fun in Wellington with a bit of work thrown in but lots of great memories and nice to catch up with people we haven’t seen for a while too.
One of the things that winds me up or stresses me for some strange reason, is catching ferries with Rafe (or like the Chunnel with Ralph). I think its just having to be somewhere at a certain time and usually involves waking up to an alarm early too but its always fun and interesting.
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The check in time for our Bluebridge ferry was 7am and we were there at 06:30. We were first!
Around 7.30, we were pointed towards the ferry and parked up with some other Motorhomes and went upstairs. As I left Rafe, I clicked on the handbrake but thought later, possibly not as hard as I could have but I needn’t have worried. It was in gear and the sea was calm.
Upstairs in the lounge, we sat down and I ordered Bacon and Eggs for us both, which was good as getting up early, we hadn’t had any breakfast. It was one of those superb Wellington days as we left the harbour.
As we got around and into Cook Strait, the wind was blowing nearly 30 knots from the North West. The sea was still calm. Yep, the handbrake thingy did cross my mind but then the sea was flat as a pancake.
I went for a walk around the ship as we nearing the Tory Channel and there were a couple of girls up on the Observation deck trying to get pictures of each other in the wind. It was hilarious.
Getting into the Tory Channel and everyone came out on the observation deck as the wind had dropped right off.
We were in Picton early and when I got back to Rafe, I found that I had in fact put the handbrake on properly and had no need to even think about it 🙂 just my imagination ! Its like putting the keys somewhere daft and how often do we all do that.
With the usual Bluebridge efficiency, we were off the ferry with ease and on our way to Blenheim.
For our last night in Wellington before the ferry, we thought it would be sensible to get a bit closer to avoid the weekday traffic with our early check in being 7am at the Bluebridge terminal.
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The NZMCA App screamed out the Petone Club as a good place to be and we cruised in the late morning to this massive park.
There’s plenty of room to park and they’re very obliging and helpful. They have a Buffet going for lunch and dinner and you’re very welcome in the bar. Just remember to take your NZMCA card with you.
The parking area is huge and all sealed. The power is a bit awkward as it is all in a bunch of 4 plugs right next to the entrance to the Motorhome parking area so its throw your leads over the fence.
Our lead was just long enough to reach but it all works and for $10 a night, a fantastic place to stop. There are also toilets and a shower that can be used too.
We went for walk down to the local Pak N Save for some basics, which is about 20 minutes walk away.
Later in the day, we invited our next door neighbours over for a drink. John and Margaret hail from Masterton and were staying in Wellington. After a pleasant hour with them, we went into the Petone club for a spectacular tea for $9.50 each and a Sticky Date pudding.. Yum! All washed down with a huge $7 glass of chardy.. also Yum!
Some of our china plates that we bought a few years ago in Oamaru that we use in Rafe, had deteriorated. Fiona had managed to find some new ones the same sort and colour on Trade Me so on the way south, we had to pick these up in Porirua.
This time she got a Teapot, 6 of each, cups and saucers, small side plates, bigger side plates, bowls and dinner plates all for $190 !! ..
After getting the China, we headed straight for the new Plimmerton NZMCA park and it looks fantastic. There had been a working bee on ealier and it was pretty busy. I counted over 40 Buses and Motorhomes there.
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The new Dump Station looks great in the middle and its really handy to the Railway Station. A great spot.
We called our son Alex who is currently working in Wellington amnd he popped out for tea. The next morning, we got up early and caught the train into Wellington City. Its an easy walk from the park and only takes 25 minutes and then we walked around to a French cafe for brunch.
The shed and the Iron maiden
View from over by the Railway Station
Wellington Railway Station
Inside the station
Alex met us at the cafe, then we went for a walk around the city. Very pleasant.,
Alex later dropped us off at Rafe in Plimmerton and stopped for a cup of coffee and then headed home.
I’m impressed with this park and have to say, the crew here have done a great job with it. Fiona was keen to stay a third night but as I’d booked an early ferry during the week, I thought we might be better closer in for our last night with the early morning weekday traffic.
A nice park and I’m sure it is going to be well used and enjoyed by many.
In Wellington, I received a message from my old friend (and work colleague and Motorhomer) Grant suggesting that we should go and check out the Roxy Theatre in Miramar.
Click on the images to see Hi Res or a slideshow As it was only a few K’s away from our base at Evans Bay, we set out to check it out and it’s a thing of beauty.
Owned jointly by Richard Taylor and Jamie Selkirk of Weta Workshop fame, it is simply stunning. They’ve owned it for quite a long time but due to their work commitments with the movie industry, they had to put the renovation job on hold until a few years ago.
It was once a shopping centre so it has been a big do up job.
Some of the art
Upstairs with the ceiling
The Cafe and Shop
There is a really nice cafe on the ground floor but the decor and attention to detail with old movie cameras, the art and a huge ceiling mural is just stunning.
In the middle of Miramar shops, it’s something you must check out.
The Weta cave is at the other end of Park ave, which is also worth visiting too. There is easy Motorhome parking in the surrounding streets so easy to get there. Thanks Grant for telling us about it.
On Sunday morning a chap from Wellington City popped around in the Evans Bay Marina car park, with his clipboard. He was checking the CSC stickers for parking compliance. For those offshore, this is the self containment with black and grey water.
Gary had a natter to him and he mentioned that the parking area was being reviewed. They’re thinking of moving it “up the “coast” which to me sounds like ‘out of town’.
One if the nice things about Evans Bay is its location and closeness to Wellington City.
There is also a dump station, toilets and water and a fantastic view.
I have to say though, Wellington definitely have more than their share of boy racers and people with sirens.
All in all though, it’s a great spot and it would be a real shame to lose it.