I checked out of my horrendous hostel on Monday and don’t think I’ve ever felt the same level of euphoria when I’ve left other places.
I booked into somewhere around the corner with similarly bad reviews. The main reason is that I have an ensuite and don’t have to share it with 30 other people.
It could easily pass for decent student digs. While it’s not exactly perfect and the kitchen between eight rooms doesn’t have any saucepans, it’s pretty much five-star compared with the last place.
Also on Monday, I went to a place called Zealandia. It’s a nature reserve covering 225 hectare of forest, all on the outskirts of Wellington.
They’re using it to increase populations of endangered birds and native trees. So it’s surrounded by a high perimeter fence to keep out rats, ferrets, cats and other mammals brought here from overseas that might be partial to eating a bird or two.
As a result of this high fence and all the greenery, it has a Jurassic Park feel to it. Thankfully, there’s nothing in there that eats people or anything that will spawn mediocre sequels.
I really enjoyed walking around there for most of the day and discovering stuff.
It was established in the early 1990s and despite this being my third visit to Wellington, I don’t know how I wasn’t aware of it previously. I’ve explored a lot more of Wellington than I have before this time. Staying in a horrible hostel was certainly motivation enough to get out and about, and it also helped that I’ve not been hungover all the time.
Bagpiper update. In my fifth separate city on this trip, I heard the bagpipes. This time, I tracked down the bagpiper. He claims he hasn’t been following me around on my trip, but I’m not sure I believe him.
I’m writing this on my phone as I hear his music. There is a something I find oddly soothing in bagpipes.
I suspect the Fringe Gods dispatched him here after I got my show application sorted for another Edinburgh. I did it in an internet cafe, using a customised version of Word that had been set up for Chinese speakers. Editing wasn’t the easiest thing to do when the computer kept wanting to add Chinese characters. But I eventually got it done.
Tomorrow I head to Invercargill for a night, then over to Stewart Island. It will be the furthest it’s possible to get from home, excluding Antarctica.