Road Trip Day 16 – Wandering around Whanganui (or Wanganui)

First off – yes, the city name is spelled two different ways! I had to look it up, because I kept getting confuzzled. http://www.visitwhanganui.nz/ explains it this way:

‘WHANGANUI’ AND ‘WANGANUI’

You may notice two different spellings of ‘Whanganui’, or ‘Wanganui’. Since the mid-1800s there have been two different spellings in use for the name of our area. The different spellings arose from the way in which local iwi pronounce the word ‘Whanganui’ (the ‘wh’ creating a barely aspirated sound), and the way in which European settlers wrote down the word as they heard it – ‘Wanganui’.

More recently, the name of our district was deemed by the Government to be ‘Whanganui’. This is why you will see the name of our city spelt with and without an H as you travel around. Either way – it is still the same place, Whanganui or Wanganui!

I will also own the fact that I totally took advantage of a very lazy Sunday morning here at Rose Cottage – but I did shower before noon – if barely. 🙂

A little on this lovely Air Bnb – I got it for 2 nights for less than $50 total and that is in NZ dollars, so about 37.00 – what a bargain. I have my own room with a lovely sitting area, and an ensuite bathroom with a fantastic rain shower – and MY OWN kitchen – like full totally stocked kitchen. That NEVER happens! My host, the lovely Kay is adorable, and just lovely to chat with as well – so triple bonus!

Once I shook off my laziness, I headed out to wander around. Being Sunday, and the winter,  the downtown area was dead – there was a bargain store and a few restaurants open, but that was it.

I decided to start hitting the scenic route, starting with Virginia Lake, which I had passed coming into town, and was struck by the Gazebo. I wandered around the lake and the meandering paths – enjoying the swans, ducks, and the very cool, and very blue Pukekos – which are just fascinating bright blue birds. The lake was peaceful and the trails were the perfect place to just get lost. I could, and did, spend several hours just wandering around.

After wandering around the lake trails, I decided to check out the Winter Gardens, a little building up the hill – I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was so impressed. The flowers, the colors and the garden art just made me smile – and it was 100% free – always a good little treat. (and I might have gone overboard with the flower pictures, but the colors made me happy!)

 

After hitting the garden, I stopped in the little cafe – for my daily “what am I going to do without NZ flat whites” fix – and took a picture of the quintessential Kiwi cafe selection. There are some pretty unique kiwi cafe treats in there!

I sat outside as it got dark watching the people and the birds, until I was just too chilled, then headed back to my air bnb to plan my route for tomorrow – I have a short drive and no deadline for arrival in my next stop, quaint little Levin, so I am planning some stops and wanders.

 

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Wednesday Travels ~ Sydney to Cairns

Wednesday was a less exciting day, as it was mostly a travel day – I was up at 5:30 to head to the Sydney Airport to catch my flight to Cairns. Getting to the airport, checking in a getting through security were easy and painless, and I was happy with the simplicity. I hung out at the gate, reading papers, playing games and just chilling – oh and fantastic people watching, as usual – airports are the best!

The flight was minimally turbulent, but all was well, and we landed in Cairns early. I got off the plane, grabbed by bags and caught the shuttle to my hotel, where I found I couldn’t check in for a little under 2 hours, so I secured my bags, and decided to grab a quick lunch and come back to check in. As soon as I stepped off the plane I knew I had arrived in the tropics – it was hot and muggy and felt like a nice Atlanta summer.

Once I was able to check in, I got to my room, and was pleasantly surprised. I booked a cheap room online, and did not have high expectations, but this room is great! I even have my own little porch area. #winning

Once settled in, I took a stroll through Cairns – to the waterfront area (mostly so I know where to go in the morning for my snorkeling tour).

Check out the loud birds in the trees walking home:

The waterfront was fun and lively – and since the beach is closed because of crocodiles and jellies, people were enjoying the free waterfront pool. It was a fun stroll, complete with birds, rainbows and sculptures. Moving along the Wharf, I stumbled upon The Prawn Star Restaurant – serving sea food on a boat – and thought “why not” so I had oysters for dinner on the boat before heading back to rest up for my exciting day in the Great Barrier Reef tomorrow!

 

 

Final Day in Sydney

After the action packed day that was Monday, I was thankful not to have much planned for Tuesday, other than just enjoying this beautiful city.

I spent some time this morning updating my blog, then I set out to explore. I decided that I would head to the Sydney Fish Market, which is the 3rd largest fish market in the world, and the largest working fish market in the southern hemisphere. As one would expect, the market had a quite distinctive odor, but it was so neat to experience the sights, the people, and yes, the smells. . .

 

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After I explored, I settled on some sushi and an avocado stuffed lobster, and ate it outside on the harbor, a little bit away from the smells! Yum!

After I finished my yummy lunch, I headed to Circular Quay to take the ferry over to Manly – It came highly recommended, and I had Opal transport money to burn.

I arrived in Manly and enjoyed the seashore and boardwalk area, well until some creepy old guy said “you know I could hook you up with a visa – a pretty girl like you shouldn’t be traveling alone” UGH!  – you all will be glad to know I did not punch him, or call him names (even though I thought about both), but I did decline his advances and headed back to the ferry.

The ride was gorgeous there and back to Sydney, but I did add several pages to my tourists behaving badly book, in addition to creepy local guy.

I am really not kidding – I could write that book. On a more positive note, I also got one last look at the Sydney Opera House. 🙂

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I had to be back at the hostel before 7 to collect my key deposit, as I have to leave in the morning before the office opens to catch my plane, so I headed back to the hostel – collected my deposit, then packed a little before I decided I was hungry. I pulled up Yelp to see what was close, and settled on a little bitty Thai restaurant. The Pad Thai was fantastic, and was just perfect for dinner, then I went back to the hostel, finished packing for Cairns and headed to bed.