Well, it's windy. But it's actually a lovely place, where you're pretty much surrounded by water and the bay. The city itself is quite small, but the surrounding areas are very reminiscent of the hills up in northern California, like Marin County near San Francisco and the Bay Area climate and some of the architecture. Kind of a cross between that and Hawaii.
Any place you regularly frequent in the city?
Yeah, the Chocolate Fish, which is a great outdoor/indoor cafe.They have great breakfast fare, including bacon-and-banana pancakes, which are basically a tower of pancakes with a layer of sliced banana in between a layer of bacon, a layer of pancake, another layer of banana, another layer of pancake, etc. They have bacon-and-banana pancakes everywhere in New Zealand.
What about other restaurants? Where have you eaten?
Chow is a good Asian restaurant. It's simple as far as interior and just your basic Asian fusion dishes. The same owners run a bar called Motel that operates later on at night. You basically go through the restaurant and up the stairs and you're in an area that's kind of hidden and has dim lights and a cool bar and lounge area. Another cool place to eat and drink is the Matterhorn. It's a happening weekend night spot. There's another great restaurant down the block from me called The White House. It's more upscale and romantic.
What kind of food do they serve?
I don't know how to describe it. It isn't necessarily Italian and isn't necessarily mainstream. They have fantastic mushroom risotto and lamb dishes. New Zealand is known for great lamb. There are a lot of them here, that's for sure. New Zealand has a lot of space, and I guess the lamb is fresher because there's so much land. The Logan Brown is another pretty cool restaurant. They have a bar with an aquarium built into it, so when you're sitting at the bar, you're looking into an aquarium. There are a lot of cool cafes in Wellington. Cuba Street is the main street in the center of town, and a lot of young people go there to hang out. It's pretty much a walking street. It's kind of closed off, so it has cafes and little stores on both sides.
What other landmarks have you come to know in Wellington?
There's a fault line nearby. I believe Miramar was born from a major earthquake in the 1800s. The edge of town where we're at, and where the studio is, was basically a swamp and where a new land was born some 100 years ago. They actually had an earthquake while we were here, but it wasn't very noticeable.
Are there any sights you always go to when you're visiting a new place?
I always like to check out the museums and get a sense of the culture. I know they usually have things about the indigenous people. In Wellington, there's Te Papa, The Museum of New Zealand. It's a lovely place. They have a lot of stuff about the local culture, and a natural history section as well. I've also been to the zoo here. I'm not normally a fan of zoos, because the animal soften don't have enough space. But for the most part, the animals here are happy and have space to roam around. They've got an especially good chimp section that I've been checking out.
That makes sense, considering the movie you're doing.
Yeah. Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, is King Kong in this movie. Andy's gone to Rwanda to study the gorillas in the wild, but I was recently in Sydney, and I got a pass to go in the morning before the zoo opened, when they fed the silverback gorilla there. The Wellington Zoo doesn't have a gorilla population, but they do have a decent array of animals. It's just a nice, kind of meandering zoo.