Wellington

The trip from Nelson to Wellington was rather nice, with a few hours in the cute harbour town Picton, where the ferry across the Cook strait left from. The ferry trip, lasting almost 4 hours, was very much like the ones we have from Helsinki to Tallinn, the only differences being that on this route the water was distractingly clear blue, there was no drunk people and no tax free. Winner winner! We arrived in the capital city of NZ, population 204,000 just in time for the night market. Shuttle bus from the ferry to the train station, another bus to the hostel, and I was hungry for some street food.

Cruisin' to the North.
Cruisin’ to the North.

I read somewhere that Wellington is like the Melbourne of New Zealand, and I did see some similarities: loads of culture, events, street art, hip cool cafes, trendy restaurants. I enjoyed the night market vibes and a waterfront walk before heading to bed in another noisy snoring dorm.

Laneway with hip Soda shop and artisanal chocolate factory. Melbourne vibes!
Laneway with hip Soda shop and artisanal chocolate factory. Melbourne vibes!
Kids skipping.
Kids skipping.

Good thing about cool cities on the weekends is the markets. In the morning I ventured to 2, walking pretty much across town on this quest. Not really knowing what to do, I decided to invest in Weta Workshop tour, giving me more insight in the movie industry and the opportunity to see how the hell they made Lord of the Rings. The tour was very inspiring and interesting, and the temptation to take pictures was almost unbearable! I learned a lot about behind the scenes in such a short time, and seeing Sauron’s costume and weapon, as well as the other weaponry right there in front of me was pretty incredible. The old fangirl in me woke up instantly.

Trolls greeting at the door of Weta Cave.
Trolls greeting at the door of Weta Cave.
King Theodore's armour.
King Theodore’s armour.

After the tour and driving around Miramar and the lovely bay (and stalking Peter Jackson’s house by the sea), I decided to go to the Museum of New Zealand. 4 floors of exhibitions, I was exhausted and overfilled with information afterwards. There was another night market on, and the Chinese New Year fireworks and celebrations. I desperately
needed to charge all my electronics. Next morning, off to Rotorua.

Wellingwood, the heart of New Zealand's movie productions.
Wellingwood, the heart of New Zealand’s movie productions.
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Healthy fare Melbourne

After hitting all the cafes I mentioned here, one should definitely check out the following clean eating spots while in the mecca of all things food, aka Melbourne.

Clean Eats and Treats (non cafe)

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The best airport snacks I didn’t get to enjoy; the glass bottle smashed on the floor. Sadness.

Green Press, Little Collins Stret, CBD

This little shop offers cold pressed organic juices, raw treats, smoothies and clean lunch options. They’ve created their own version of a donut, made with pumpkin and almond meal. My favorite juice: Captain Planet with blue green algae, coconut water and grapefruit.

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Ex salad master of Laneway Greens waiting for her smoothie.

Laneway Greens, Flinders Lane, CBD

This small salad bar on Flinders Lane should make the cut to any list of salad bars, great lunches, healthy food, smoothies, and value for money joints. I might be a bit biased to talk about this place since I was part of the team from day 1, but at least I can say that they really ARE what they preach. No cutting corners, all clean and hearty fare, big enough portions to save some for later, and smoothies that are the best money can buy. I can’t recommend any one salad, since all of them are to die for, but the Miso Salmon would probably be my favourite, along with the Seared Tuna. All dressings are made in house, with no extra sugars or additives. You can also get your smoothie bowl and chia pudding fix at LG, or grab a fresh pressed juice to go. 

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Glass box of pure goodness at Pana.

Pana Chocolate, Church Street, Richmond

This little chocolate shop on Church Street sells the most delicious handcrafted raw treats you can find. In addition to their chocolate bars, Pana sells different slices, pops (think ice cream pops but made from chocolate, coated with nut crumble), truffles and such. Guilt-free indulgence at its’ best! 

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Guilt-free lamingtons. Nom.

Terra Madre, High Street, Northcote

Not a cafe or a quirky small independent artisan shop, but the best shop for all things organic, natural and eco-friendly. Fresh veggies, breads and eggs, huge bulk section full of nuts, seeds, flours, spices and dry cooking things, and everything you could imagine buying for your kitchen (and bathroom). Cheap cheap, too!

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Bulk goodies at Terra Madre.

Yo-Chi, several locations

Froxzen yoghurt to the win! They usually have one soy option and one coconut-based option for vegans, otherwise the flavours speak for themselves: how about rose, matcha or mango? The various toppings seal the deal. Other great sweet tooth fix: Frozen froyo on Chapel street and Melbourne Central. 

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Nordic Food Co. selling homey goodies in Alma Park on Saturdays at the Hank Marvin Markets.

Markets: Queen Victoria, South Melbourne, Prahran – and pop-up markets such as Hank Marvin

Fresh seasonal veggies and fruit, delicatessen and anything you might need for a picnic in the park, the markets are my go-to place when it comes to weekly shopping or being ingredients for a dinner with friends. Best hummus in the world: South Melbourne market, Steve’s Deli. You can also find coconut cheese from South Melbourne market! 

A Week in Melbourne

This week is not by any means like every other week, but it definitely has many similarities to others. It seems like the less I plan things, the more fun I end up having!

Friday
It is a public holiday, since it’s the Grand Final of Aussie rules football (AFL) the following day. Wait, what? So no work on Friday, and everything has weird opening hours. I am lucky enough to have a friend lend me his bike since he bought a new one, so I need to learn how to a) ride a road racer and b) learn how to obey the rules. Luckily enough there are heaps of bike lanes in the city.

I go to South Melbourne market, have a bike ride, and spend the evening with a friend in a huge artists’ market browsing through all the wonderful things that would be cool to have but I cannot afford. It’s about 30 degrees warm during the day, so I can easily walk home at night with just one shirt.

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Saturday
The Big Game Day, and I have no clue what to do. A nice bike ride in the morning sun, Southbank-Albert Park-Saint Kilda-Prahran-South Melbourne-Southbank. I do stop at Prahran market as well as stock up on Questbars in the awesome hidden gem, Prahran convenience. Afterwards I decide to join a friend to a pub in Richmond to “watch the game”, more like observe all the interesting Aussie spectacle sports behavior. During the game we come up with plans for the next steps, and decide to head to a random house party in Fitzroy. We take a pitstop in Little Saigon to fill ourselves for the ride and the night. The party turns out to be in a massive dream house that has a sweet sweet pool, and we leave only when we can’t keep our eyes open anymore at 2am. First bikeride in the dark, empty city feels good, probably because it’s again t-shirt weather.

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Sunday
Picnic day. I spend the morning baking stuff (not smart to keep the oven on in the heat), and head to the Carlton Gardens around 2. All other people are pretty much late, so I get pretty frustrated with all the lying down and not doing anything. All in all I end up spending 5 hours at the park, hanging out with friends and meeting new ones. Afterwards we go to St. Kilda to a funky party with singers walking in the crowd while singing. Decent end for the long weekend. And I didn’t even burn in the sun!

Monday
After work I have a dreaded dentists’ appointment, and they suggest they take my wisdom tooth out. Half an hour later I walk out to the heat with one less tooth that they refused to give back me due to Australian law (wtf), and stitches in my swollen mouth. I have banana ice cream for dinner, and wonder if the numbness wears out by the next day.

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Tuesday
After work I go to a bar to work for a few hours, after which I spend the evening with a friend who always makes me want to improve myself in many ways. I miss my wisdom tooth, physically. It hurts.

Wednesday
Free coffee in the park after work, yay! I feel sluggish after not working out for 3 days, so I decide to go to a TRX class. I love the sneaky burn with no jumping and running around.

Thursday
I work 10 hours and find out my F45 class I was looking forward to is cancelled. I get frustrated, go to pilates instead, and don’t feel like I’ve done anything. I take a “little” detour on my way home and decide to bike trough South Yarra and Prahran to Southbank.

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Friday
I have a PT appointment after work and have to ride on some scary roads and a bridge to get there. Worth it, though! I rush to the city to go the Asian food truck festival in Queen Victoria market. What a summery night – warm, good music, loads of people, food!

 

And this was just the beginning of the weekend! (Ok fair enough I worked on Saturday so weekend was just Sunday for me, but I did manage to have a swim, dinner date, and go to a Japanese festival where I wore a kimono and did tea ceremony. Success.)