Taranaki Hardcore

Our trip to Taranaki was exceptionally bittersweet. While a week away with your best mates in a beautiful beach region should be nothing but perfect, we all had extremely mixed emotions. This week way would perhaps be the last time that all of us were together before 2017 played out.

My friends are like no other young people you’ll ever meet. All so different, yet all so similar. I wish I had words for how much they’ve meant to be, but I’m yet to stumble across a way to explain it. While some of them have been my friends for 5,6,7 years, a number had also just come into my life within the past year, interestingly it didn’t seem that way. These are the sorts of friends you ready about in cliche John Green novels. The kind that use metaphors to express themselves, write poetry and live life through vintage Instagram filters – the most extroverted introverts you’ll ever meet. After graduating high school side by side, it was time to spend out last summer together before we all headed different directions. Some off to Victoria, some heading down to Otago, Canterbury, up to Waikato and of course myself off to Massey Manawatu.

Taranaki it was. A beautiful place to spend New Years and have a blast before we all headed in our different directions. A cheap (yet excruciatingly long) ride on the Intercity bus service saw us right to the holiday home we rented out, just a short walk from both town and the beach. All the couples reserved their rooms, friends bunked up and we were set – a week to relax, explore and reminisce.  As well as partake in the must dos of Taranaki, such as head to the beach, eat out and visit the Festival of Lights at Pukekura Park, our week in New Plymouth was exceptionally lazy, on the contrary to Taranaki’s hardcore brand.

Every night was a different version of the previous – all of us confessing our drunken love to the others, usually ending up in tears, laughs or a combination of both. But these nights were held in a euphoric fashion, the kind where you share memories, play drinking games that result in bonding and only become closer, despite the fact you’re about to drift apart. A little bit of teenage angst was also welcome though, making out under the moonlight at 12.01am on the 1st of January, playing with sparklers, getting piercings and taking shots until you can’t stand, but the trip was nothing but beautiful.

At the back of our minds though, we knew this was it. Perhaps our last set of drunken antics, our last meals together and our last time laughing as a group with no cares in the world. I wish I could put into words how incredible the week was, but a short blog post will have to do for now. Without a doubt it was the best way to end the most amazing year, and hopefully start another exceptional one.

 

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Secret Something Soda

It should be no surprise that Wellington has some super dedicated foodies. It’s inspiring. I adore that locals appreciate certain joints enough to be frequent visitors, and trust me, I know the feeling. When you finally find the perfect brew, or meet the barista that knows exactly how much milk you like on your macchiato, it feels like some odd love connection. With that being said, sometimes the vibes of even the most pumping cafes are totally overwritten by large crowds of people, massive lines, and an overwhelming environment. That’s exactly what puts this week’s featured Wellington spot at the top of my must return list. Six Barrel Soda Factory may as well be dubbed Wellington’s best kept secret.

While located on Courtenay Place, arguably one of the most commonly prowled streets by bearded coffee addicts, nobody seems to know about this little hide out. You have to be looking very hard to come across the signage, or enjoy walks down small alley ways to come across the entrance, making it somewhat exclusive, or underground. At the end of Eva Street, there’s a small door that leads you towards a tight stairwell, at this point you don’t really know what you’re in for. It’s not until you reach the top of the stairs that you realise you have just walked into the one of the coolest little spots in Wellington.

As the name suggests, the team at Six Barrel are masters of all things soda. I couldn’t believe this place existed, it’s almost too good to be true. The flavours are creative on another level, and while some may sound slightly odd or too adventurous to try, I promise you that they are all somehow exceptionally delicious. Not yet having tried all flavours, my favourites would have to be both the hibiscus, a taste made up of combining plums and flowers, as well as the celery tonic, which has a unique flavour received by mixing, apple, cucumber, and of course celery. There is an extensive list of unique flavours, but to name some of the stars would be root beer, mint, cola, liquorice, berries and cinnamon.

If you can’t make your mind up on just one (totally understandable),they offer tasting platters where you are able to decide on three flavours and pay just $5-00 for sample sizes of each chosen soda. Also equipped with great baristas, their gorgeous coffee machine creates high quality cups of silky espresso available at a great price. Fuelled by Supreme, the coffee is top notch – the kind of cup that you never want to end. You can even add on a small sample soda with your coffee and walk away for just $5-00, the options are endless at Six Barrel Soda.

Aesthetically this joint would be one of my favourite places in Wellington. The size of the shop and seating area is extremely small for an inner city cafe, but their exclusive and down low profile means this is never a problem. I wouldn’t bring a large group here for a coffee, instead it is a place to come with one friend for an intimate catch up, or arrive solo with a book in hand. In some ways, I wish more people would flow through the doors here to support this fabulous company, but I would be upset to see it lose the relaxing atmosphere, which is what keeps the existing customers coming back time and time again. The colour scheme seems to be a pastel montage, focusing on green tones that work beautifully with the wooden tables, benches and decorations. It’s a very vintage feeling area with decals on the walls, old games of scrabble to have a soda over, and relaxing music. They have created a flawless atmosphere – calm, relaxing and eclectic.

As well as treating this space as a cafe, it is also the location of their factory and packaging site. The staff members are consistently lovely, and take so much care while constructing your fresh masterpiece of a drink. Every single box I can possibly think of is ticked when it comes to Six Barrel Soda Company, and I urge all of you to head along, and show some support to this beautifully branded business.

Beginning

Kia Ora, Aloha, Bonjour and Konnichiwa. Whatever you speak, or wherever you are reading this from, I wanted to say hello, just one more time.

I’ve been writing under this exact blog, orbitsoftaylor, for over 2 years now. Throughout that period of time I’ve gone through many phases, explored dozens of passions, and learnt a lot, which is exactly why I am sitting here once again, with a blank canvas infront of me. I’ve once again decided to clear my content, and give this blog a revamp. A fresh start as I like to think of it. The timing of this couldn’t be more perfect either, my college career is officially over, and in a matter of months my life as a university student will have begun. Continue reading “Beginning”