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We are in the lovely city of Wellington, we have a room with our own bathroom and… a TV. wooohooo. shallow I know – but we’ve had tv for only 2 nights in fiji (with only 3 channels) since leaving at the beginning of december. I’ve missed it. I like that brain dead feeling. I welcome it back. Even if the TV signal is a bit dodge and is anything but clear, in fact all channels are like they were when you had an upstairs tv in the 80s with it’s own ariel – it is still TV!!!
Anyhow, so since my last blog my mood has improved, mainly due to having some time in dullsville mountain lodge to get online and sort out a ton of stuff. I have also come to the conclusion that I am going to do things my way. The main bit of advice that I saw and got over and over again before going travelling was to just book a few days somewhere and then decide what you’ll do and where you’ll go from then. The idea being that everything is flexible and you can just live a wonderful, impromptu life going where ever the wind takes you. Well, let me tell you, that has not worked and has not only caused stress it has cost money! I am by nature a bit of a control freak so I normally like to have things in order when it comes to accommodation etc. But, I’d realised that I had to change. I was prepared to let the fear go and go with these travel gurus. Well, it worked fairly well in Fiji. It’s a laid back place and you could pretty much do things on the fly. But in New Zealand, it is not working. I have since learned that in New Zealand and Australia, these days, that demand outweighs availability. So, having not booked things even 3 or 4 weeks in advance, all the best and cheaper options are getting snapped up, leaving you with lack of choice and costlier options. I think this is even more so for booking the private rooms, there probably is much more flexibility with the dorms. So, I’m going ahead and booking the rest of New Zealand and a fair chunk of Australia – and boy do I feel happier with that decision. Of course it’ll backfire at times, but we’ve already experienced not being able to stay places we like as long as we’d like and being stuck longer than we liked in places we thought sucked – that’s just the nature of the travel. You can’t avoid it – not least because in most countries you need to show an onward ticket to prove you’re not going to stay in their country longer than they want. And inflexible flights are cheaper. Oh it’s a vicious cycle is it not?
Anyhow – turning back into an early ‘booker’ has cheered me up, as has finding some solutions to my Australia dilemma. The hostels in Australia are all hideously expensive and to add insult to injury they all sound awful. I don’t want to spend 60 quid a night on places that are dirty and noisy. Barely a decent review for any hostel in Adelaide, Melbourne or Sydney. So, I decided to have a look on ‘airbnb’. This is a site I joined a few months before we went away but never really looked into properly. It’s a basically people renting out rooms in their homes, or sometimes the whole home, to people who are members of airbnb. They don’t have to accept your booking if they don’t like the look of you. You can get recommendations from people who know you (thanks Lucy n Rach!) and also when you have stayed with people they can review you.
Anyhow, there are some fab properties out there. Mark thought it would be a bit weird to stay in peoples homes and share their kitchens or whatever, but then I pointed out that every time we went to a new hostel we felt awkward and had to share with multiple strangers who can change everyday. We’ve also decided to slow down our travel and booking places on a weekly rate can be a fair bit cheaper than nightly.
To cut a long and I’m sure by now you’re finding, boring, story short. We have booked some fantastic places to stay in Australia for same price or cheaper than a scummy hostel. The first place in Adelaide is in a gorgeous house, converted from part of a 1970s juice factory, about 20 mins from city centre. Colour me happy!!!
So, we left the lodge place to drive down to Wellington and as we were leaving and we were glad to be leaving the cold. I found the landscape fairly boring and thought could see the same anywhere, until Mark pointed out that one of the mountains was in fact a volcano, which we don’t see everyday. Oops – oh yeah! Still, the first 3 hours of our journey to Wellington was pretty boring. Fields of cows and sheep and trees and mountains and winding roads. For HOURS! As we got a couple of hours away from Wellington, it got much more appealing. Lots of cute little towns. There was even a vintage car event in one of the towns, so for miles we passed an interesting array of lush vehicles (I lurve vintage cars). The towns of Bull and Foxton (although that made me think of the scumbag estate agents) were particularly charming. I so wished we’d travelled a couple of hours further than the lodge and stayed in one of these places. The sun came out and we followed the coast with the sea sparkling and made Wellington in really great time.
Our first delight was our hostel – which is a gorgeous converted art deco hotel so our room was like a normal hotel one. As mentioned above, we were super excited about the TV and having our own bathroom for the first time since Fiji. The first floor is the old restaurant and bar and we have the old hotel kitchen available to cook in which is cool. It has one of the big walk in fridges and tons of work stations. Proper Masterchef I thought!!