A WEEKEND IN WELLINGTON, NZ (A MONEY DIARY)

July 6, 2017

Occupation: Au Pair

Industry: Childcare

Age: 30 (Fun fact: 30 is not too old to be eligible for such an arrangement.)

 

About Me: Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I’ve lived in Wellington, New Zealand--in the coastal suburb of Island Bay--for five months working as an au pair. My background is in School Counseling, and live-in childcare work proved to be my best choice in New Zealand, a country where I wanted to afford traveling like a true local for a while. For 25 hours of work each week, I’m compensated with room and board and weekly spending money, which has allowed me to enjoy this unique, vibrant (and very windy) city. You can read about my adventures HERE!

 

 

Here’s what a typical weekend looks like for me:

 

FRIDAY

 

9:00AM - The kids are off to school and I’m off-duty. Food can be expensive in Wellington, and since I’ll be out and about for meals over the weekend, I pack a lunch.

 

10:00AM - The city bus is convenient and affordable--for $3, it’ll get me to the CBD in a half-hour. Since today’s weather is nice (but can change on a dime), I take advantage of the sun and stroll the stunning Queens Wharf (free) Soaking in the view of the magnificent hills on the coastline, beyond the sparkling water, is easily my favorite thing to do.

 

 

11:30AM - After eating my lunch outside, I walk over to Power Living Yoga. (I’ve scored a one-month Groupon deal that breaks down to $1.50/class with my regular attendance at this wonderful sanctuary of a studio.)

 

 

1:30PM - Feeling centered, I head to my favorite coffee shop, Aramo, and do some writing until they close. (Long black + scone = $6)

 

 

6:00PM - Ready for a break, I stroll down Cuba Street to hit up the Night Markets for a food truck meal: maybe Thai food, or a burrito, or...yep, definitely banana fritters with ice cream. ($5)

 

 

7:00PM - Tummy full, I hop back on the bus ($3), swing home to pick up my ukulele, and head over to a friend’s to play music with some mates (free)

 

 

DAILY TOTAL: $18.50

 

 

SATURDAY

 

11:00AM - After a nice sleep-in, I make breakfast at home (free) and practice yoga outside on the back patio (also free).

 

 

1:00PM - Feeling motivated, I walk the 3 miles to town (free) to get more writing done (and when I’m not motivated, I spend time social media-ing and Skyping) at a NZ coffee chain with awesome fair trade roasts, Mojo Cafe. ($5 for a mini-pot of writing fuel.)

 

 

5:00PM - To get up and moving, I walk around the wharf again, catch some street musicians, and pop in NZ’s massive national museum, Te Papa, to learn more about the country’s incredible history and culture. (Donation encouraged.)

 

 

7:00PM - Ready to be social, I meet friends at Chow on Courtenay Place for Asian fusion appetizers and yummy cocktails. ($20)

 

 

9:00PM - The best local band is playing tonight: the Wellington City Shake-Em-On-Downers, so friends and I watch the contemporary jazz group rock the accordion, sax, clarinet, trombone, and banjo. (Door cover: $5; drinks: $15.) After a night of 1920s-style dancing, I catch a ride home from the designated driver of our group (free)

 

 

DAILY TOTAL: $45

 

SUNDAY

 

10:00AM - There’s a brunch organized by one of my Meetup groups, so after a French press coffee at home (free) I bus into the city ($3) to Flight Coffee Hangar and devour chocolate chip banana bread French toast ($12) in excellent company.

 

 

12:30PM - I spend some quality solo time wandering up and down lively Cuba Street, dotted with coffee shops and boutiques, pausing to listen to street musicians and taking advantage of the free wifi to chat with faraway friends.

 

 

3:00PM - I want to (finally) see Moonlight, so I stop at Light House Cinema on Cuba Street for a matinee and slouch into the sofa seats at the cozy theatre. ($11.)

 

 

5:30PM - Since the weather is behaving itself (they don’t call it Windy Wellington for nothing), I can walk 30 minutes from the CBD to open mic night in neighboring Newtown. My musical friend is meeting me there, so she brings a guitar and uke, we play some songs, and I get a lift home (free)

 

 

8:30PM - After a full weekend, I tuck myself into bed with a cup of tea and catch some zzz’s.

 

 

DAILY TOTAL: $26

 

 

WEEKEND TOTAL: $89.50

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