Places to Fill Your Belly in Welly.

We ate in some pretty super fantastic places in Wellington (New Zealand) so here are our two big recommendations. The first was a southern style restaurant called Sweet Mothers Kitchen – based on southern american cuisine. It was a local style place, and was busy from the moment we arrived to the moment we left – which was a pretty sure sign that this place is a big favourite amongst the locals.

The food was really home-made and lovely – with loads of fun options I’ve never tried or even heard of before. My favourite thing by far that we had here was the Swamp Dip – a cheesy dip mixed with Spinach  (you can see it above left in the image). It was seriously yummy – and I’m kind of sad I didn’t get the recipe from them because I’d love to try and make it myself. I would fail of course – but I could try! The Swamp Dip came with some toasted baguette pieces too for dipping. Oh man I am getting hungry just thinking about it.

For mains, I had southern fried chicken – which was really nice – but didn’t quite live up to my expectation after the amazing Swamp dip starters! Pad had BBQ chicken which looked equally as good. Pictures below!

The best bit about Sweet Mother’s Kitchen in Wellington, was actually probably (besides the amazing swamp dip) the decor. The place was done out like a little busy bustling neighbourhood restaurant and had all those little tidbits and toys and memo’s – you might find in a real kitchen. If you’re the kind of person who loves having things to look at whilst they eat (you know who I mean – the kind of person who reads the cereal box as they eat breakfast) then this place wouldn’t disappoint. You could spend hours looking through all the stuff they’ve collected here.

 The other place we visited which really blew us away was The Flying Burrito Brothers on Cuba Street. We are massive Mexican fans, so would never pass up the chance of trying out a new mexican place. I’d read a few reviews for The Flying Burrito Brothers online before we flew out to Wellington, so I knew it was somewhere we had to find! It completely blew us away! Here is was we tried whilst there:

– Cheesy Breaded Jalepenos (These were AMAZING)

– Pork Scratchings with Salsa Dip

– Cheesy Fondue with Nachos for dipping (again – the fondue was beyond amazing)

– Beef Fajitas (full of awesome)

– Chicken Burrito (full of awesome also)

Pad was also a big fan of the range of chilli sauce offered. Brave boy. 

Also. Can anyone help us with this?? I thought it was a mexican frying an egg – but I don’t think that’s right. HELP. It’s been frustrating me all week. 

Wellington: More Hipster than Shoreditch

This week I turned 23.

Not that I act it.

23 whole years. That’s old. Not as old as 27 (Pad) but still pretty old.

To offset my age (and take my mind off the incoming side-effects of old age) we headed over to Wellington for the week. Neither of us had ever been to Wellington before – and had no idea what to expect – so it was all very exciting. I was expecting the city to be a little like Auckland to be honest, so thought I might be a bit under-whelmed (as I was with Auckland) but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

My main concern with Auckland was it’s lack of identity. Whilst it’s a great city and I enjoyed spending time there – I didn’t feel the city had much character and usually, when I visit somewhere it’s the character and the personality of a place that makes me fall head over heels for it. I love the history of London, I love the variety of Brighton, I love the beauty of Queenstown and I love (more than any other city) the charm, festivity and epicness of New York. Auckland felt like, to me anyway – that it lacked any one defining quality.

Wellington though – was full of character and were we not living in the beautiful Queenstown – I felt I could have more than happily lived there.

Wellington Skyline at Night

And Again.

Aside from the fact that the city has a gorgeous waterfront and marina area (always top of my list for ‘whether I’m going to like a place or not’) it also has a great vibe to it. I found that the sheer variety of people in Wellington, and the variety of neighbourhoods and places – was really appealing. It actually reminded me a little of an american city – Pad likened it to Seattle several times. I’ve never been to Seattle so can’t vouch for this – but Wellington did give off a very american vibe – in a really endearing way.

The city centre is packed full of shops, cafes, restaurants and bars – we read somewhere that Wellington actually has more eateries per-capita than NYC. I found that ridiculous at first and made a “ho ho tour book – you are so wrong” face – but actually I think it might be right. There are more cafes and restaurants and bars you can shake a stick at here. Speaking of which – we sampled a few – but more about that later.

Gorgeous waterside cafe (with bean bags!!)

Anyway, going back to what I was saying about defining features – Wellington’s character is definitely it’s quirkiness and ‘hipsterness’. Any of our friends from London will know what I mean by Hipster, if you don’t – it’s the kind of of person who is so damn trendy that fashion and quirkiness just poors out of their ears. This is not me. But – saying that – I really really loved Wellington. Because even though it is super Hipster – it is Hipster in a “come join us in our hipsterness” kind of way. Not in a “you’re not cool enough to be here” kind of way. Does that make sense?

Probably not. Never mind.

The jist of my point is – Wellington is super nice. You should go there. 

From the really quirky Cuba Street, with all the lovely independent restaurants and bars, to the night-time markets and live music – to the bean bags near the water front and random art installations on bridges this city is just gorgeous and so full of loveliness.

I think (besides Cuba Street) one of my favourite places we visited in Wellington was the Botanical Gardens. To get up to the Botanical Gardens (just above the city) you can either walk – it’s a long walk all uphill – or you can get the Wellington Cable Car. We did the latter. The cable car is $6 return (oh hello, bargain) and it whizzes you up to the top of the hill and drops you off. From there you can either have a stroll around and then get the cable car back down, or you can walk down to the city back through the gardens.

The view from the Botanical Gardens are amazing…. I think one of my favourite sights I’ve seen since coming to New Zealand. Aside from our balcony view back home in Queenstown of course. You can see the whole city from up here and it’s just beautiful – we couldn’t have got luckier with weather either, it was blue skies all the way.

Stunning view from the top of the Botanical Gardens

The incredible view!

My next favourite thing we did in Wellington was the zoo. It’s a little bus ride out of the city (number 23 – good memory points for me) and it’s just lovely! Kinda small (especially if you’re comparing it to zoo’s like Singapore or Australia) but it’s very cute and it has baby monkeys and also baby ducks. So if you like baby animals – you will love it here.

Oh, they also have real animals too. Like Giraffes and Lions and Tigers. And Bears. 

Oh – and on one last note, we stayed in a cute little double room in the YHA in the city centre. As far as hostels go – it was awesome. Great staff, great atmosphere and awesome facilities too. I even got a birthday poster….

Birthday Poster!

Also. I have tried to align these photos for the past hour. But Crazy Stupid Love is on Sky Movies and quite frankly I’m distrasted. I call it the Gosling effect. They will never be aligned. Sorry for this. Never mind.

Another Also: Here are some photos from the Wellington plane flight – some of the most gorgeous views I ever saw.