Today looks to be a good day. Yet there is a cruel truth that the beautiful days of Summer are coming to a close (what few there were). This week, the temperature has dropped and I've put the heater on even. But last Friday we were treated to the most glorious humid sunset over in Waitangi Park at the Wellington Wine, Food + Craft Beer Festival which made my lip wobble a little (in a goo way) in its golden gloriousness.
The evening started with a burst as I clambered out of the office after work, grabbing Matt along the way. We headed down the waterfront to Waitangi Park where the Wellington Wine, Food and Craft Beer Festival was being held, getting out cash at New World Chaffers Dock. On arrival, we were given wristbands and a cup for our wine. We surveyed the circus ring like set up that had taken over the park, transformed into a food and wine tasting playground. We were ready to play!
"We surveyed the circus ring like set up that had taken over the park, transformed into a food and wine tasting playground. We were ready to play!"
The Wine & Food Festival brought together some of Wellington's best local restaurants, winemakers and craft beer experts. From food from The Crab Shack (those crab tacos haunt my dreams) to the delicious Luna Estate Pinot Gris to Funk Estate sour beer, we were spoilt for choice. Wine could be bought as a taste, glass or bottle. A massive bonus was that there was plenty of seating, so we could nestle in, feel the sun on our necks and listen to the rather jazzy music playing on the stage across the park.
You know you're no longer in your early twenties when you breathe a sigh of relief that the event you go to is full of older folk. I was very much embarrassed to find myself saying "Ah, no younger people!!" By which I meant no drunk teens. But there has to be a moment from time to time when the event is more about tasting the goods on offer than a massive party. This is what the Wine & Food + Craft Beer festival delivers. I also still managed to bump into half of Wellington, from the lovely girls from Capital Eats (shout out) and Wellingnoms to catching a glimpse in the distance of photographer Jeff McEwan who I interviewed for The Residents in December 2016 (and my friend Anna who was looking incredible and cavorting with her gal pals).
"I was very much embarrassed to find myself saying "Ah, no younger people!! By which I meant no drunk teens"
As we milled through the crowd, crab taco and calamari still stuck to our chins, we looked up at the hills of Mount Victoria and across over the tents to Oriental Parade. It was impossible not to feel #blessed (*mini mouth vom - sorry y'all) to live in Wellington and to enjoy the best of the city all in one spot.
As the night wore on, the little string of lights popped into life, one by one. People lay around like cats stretched out in the heat. The vibe was mellow and happy, as the good weather teased us thinking it would linger for more than a day.
"People lay around like cats stretched out in the heat"
The next three days were miserable and wet so sadly the rest of the festival was cancelled. It such a shame because having organised events myself, such as TEDxWelly, I know the incredible amount of hard work that goes into getting something like this up and running. Think of all the contractors, the event planning and resource consent/liquor licences that have to be organised!!
Today has all the signs of being another beautiful Friday. At last, the good weather has finally strolled into town this Summer, the cheeky bastard. Before the temperature drops and autumn finally sets in, here is what you need to do to make the most of it in Wellington:
1. Organise a picnic with friends
Whether it is to the beach or, indeed, at Waitangi Park, don't underestimate the memories you'll make being outide and enjoying good food and good wine. With New World across the road from Waitangi Park and Moore Wilsons down the hill from Mount Victoria, there are no excuses. Don't put off the thing you have always said you'll do, but never get around to. Book out a Saturday or Sunday, grab your besties and a big basket of amazing food and wine. You'll have the best time, soaking up a little bit of Vitamin D. Like opening a bottle of Summer strawberry jam in the middle of Winter, this memory will keep you warm all through the cold months ahead.
2. Walk along a beach barefoot
I always forget that we have an inner city beach right on our doorstep. Make sure, even if the day isn't perfect, you take the chance to kick off your work shoes and walk along the beach. Walking barefoot is supposed to be very good for you (aligning joints and resting your arch) and if nothing else is a lovely free exfoliator for your tootsies. Make the effort to go down to Oriental Parade and enjoy the simple pleasure of grains of sand in between your toes.
3. Find those outdoor rooftop bars in Wellington before the chill sets in
From Basque on Courtenay Place to Dirty Little Secret on the corner of Taranaki Street, The Hop Garden in Mount Victoria to The Arborist on Willis Street, Wellington has had a couple of hidden gems show up in the last few years that capitalise on already existing roof tops. While the weather is warm, go and have a quick tipple at one of these spots and get catch some rays. I love that we have embraced an international trend (thank you Melbourne) which makes the city sparkle and creates a new perspective (literally).