Hi friends, I hope you’re having a wonderful and relaxing Easter weekend!
Last weekend, my fiancé and I went on a little weekend getaway to my favourite city and second home: our capital, Wellington, New Zealand. We stayed two and a half days, which while short was plenty of time for us to see an incredible exhibition, eat delicious food, rest and recharge, and simply enjoy each other’s company. The purpose of our trip was to see the Terracotta Warriors at Te Papa Museum and celebrate my fiancé’s birthday. Happy Birthday, my love!
Our trip began with our arrival on Friday evening, when we landed and took a shuttle to our hotel. (Just a heads up – the shuttles outside the airport cost less than the Airport Flyer!) The hotel was Travelodge Wellington, at which we’d treated ourselves to a Harbour View King Room. We’ve always stayed at Travelodge every time we go on holiday – so far in and Melbourne and Wellington (twice) – because it’s inexpensive yet super cosy, modern, and comfortable. The staff are friendly, the amenities always have everything we need, and housekeeping is fantastic! The locations are convenient, too – the Wellington one, located close to Lambton Quay, is very central. One of my highlights of the trip was simply overlooking the view of Wellington City from above and pretending I lived in an apartment again (as I did in Wellington).
I took my love to my favourite pâtisserie parlour, a gorgeous and luxurious French high tea restaurant called Louis Sergeant Sweet Couture. Their restaurant features an enormous framed painting of Marie Antoinette, and their beautiful pâtisserie creations are displayed along with colourful macarons. We had a wonderful brunch including their croque monsieur, the best ham & cheese sandwich we have ever had; City of Lights tea, a softly sweet, warm vanilla & citrus black tea; and a very creamy, decadent coconut hot chocolate.
My highlight was a dessert named after Queen Marie Antoinette herself: vanilla mousse with hints of crème brûlée, Veuve Clicquot Champagne Rosé berry jelly centre on a rose-water lady finger biscuit, topped with a rose macaron. I absolutely loved the femininity and opulence captured in the design of the pâtisserie as well as the touches of rose gold flakes & roses. A work of gastronomic art!
After brunch, we walked along the waterfront to Te Papa Museum for the exhibition we’d come for: the magnificent Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality. The terracotta army of China secretly guarded the tomb of the first emperor of China Qin Shi Huang for more than 2000 years before their discovery in 1974. The exhibition featured eight of these warriors and two full-size horses.
All I can say is, they were absolutely incredible. The amount of care and detail taken in creating every single lifelike warrior, noting that each is unique, was breathtaking. They each had different roles, from standing or kneeling archers to armoured or unarmoured generals, and were very tall at almost 2m! The exhibition taught me a lot about Emperor Qin’s legacy of creating a unified China and ensuring protection (and pleasure) in the afterlife, and gave me a newfound appreciation for the richness in Chinese history and culture.
We spent a leisurely afternoon resting and relaxing in our hotel room. Well, most of it, at least. We took care of something very important: signing our contract and paying the deposit for our dream wedding venue, which we’d left til the weekend to do. All is now confirmed – how exciting!
We enjoyed our free time by watching TV, brewing fresh, hot tea, reading and writing. I read my favourite wedding magazine, Together Journal, while my fiancé worked on creating a board game in a personalised journal I’d gifted him. We caught some z’s before heading out to meet up with friends at Wellington’s board game cafe, Counter Culture.
Counter Culture was so much fun. We spent 6 hours there, and in that time, managed to play four board games: Rick & Morty: Total Rickall Card Game, Code Names: Deep Undercover, What Do You Meme, and Articulate. It was a perfect night of board games, both old favourites and new discoveries (I loved Code Names!) and catching up with old friends.
Our Sunday highlight was brunch at Olive cafe. It’s located on Cuba St, where I worked when I first moved to Wellington six years ago before moving back to Auckland two wonderful years later. Olive was the cosiest place to spend our morning, enjoying wholesome food in the rustic chic courtyard that makes you feel like you are in the backyard of an old friend’s home. With outdoor heating, natural greenery, and speakers playing Alina Baraz, it couldn’t be more warm and welcoming.
Our breakfast consisted of Olive works – poached eggs on sourdough toast, bacon, sausage, housemade hash brown, slow roasted tomato, mushrooms, spinach, and hollandaise. A delicious and hearty meal, complemented by lemon, lime & bitters and fragrant Earl Grey tea. My favourite, as you may have guessed from the photos, was the ‘waffles of the day’ – poached pear, salted caramel, and chantilly cream on waffles. I especially enjoyed the chantilly cream on this sweet, fruity treat.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my recollection of our little weekend getaway, and even picked up some great recommendations if you’re thinking of heading to Wellington soon! There is nothing like our beloved capital city, and immersing yourself in its busy and vibrant, yet calm, cosy and peaceful vibes. Thoughts of walking to Louis Sergeant on Lambton Quay from our hotel, and along the waterfront, come back to mind – everyone seemed so happy, so content with the simple joys in life; whether they were jogging with friends, enjoying the live music from buskers, walking their dogs, or riding tandem bikes alongside the deep blue ocean. If you’re looking to experience a city thriving with the best food and culture, Wellington is definitely worth a visit.