Living in the Southern Hemisphere has enabled me to also enrich the knowledge of those living in the north. I mean, I get remarks like "how come it's summer there? it's winter here." Duh, I'm in the south, in the antipodean. So everything is in the opposite. Even the way water swirls before escaping through the hole in the sink!
OK...so I'm not going to teach Geography today. It's more of Travel and Leisure a la Angelina.
Everybody knows New Zealand? Remember....earthquake...Christchurch? But of course New Zealand is more than that. I've been to other parts of the country besides Christchurch. Today, we'll go visit Wellington, New Zealand's capital city.
As any good netizen would do, I googled the weather, temperature et cetera before the impending journey. It was in summer, clear skies, temperature 25oC. OK, that's similar to an average day in Sydney so not too cold, not too hot either, just nice. Hmm...I sound like Goldilocks here.
Anyway, as the flight was in wee hours in the morning, put on a thin shawl for a little warmth. That shawl saved my life.
Three hours and we touched down at the Wellington International Airport, which is like wedged between the sea and the mountain. The Air New Zealand pilot was good! Didn't ruffle my fur at all. And the stewardesses....aaahhh....genuine smiles all round.
In Māori, Wellington goes by three names:
1. Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara (refers to Wellington Harbour and means "the great harbour of Tara".)
2. Pōneke (a transliteration of Port Nick, short for Port Nicholson - the city's central marae, the community supporting it and its kapa haka have the pseudo-tribal name of Ngāti Pōneke).
3. Te Upoko-o-te-Ika-a-Māui (meaning The Head of the Fish of Māui - often shortened to Te Upoko-o-te-Ika - a traditional name for the southernmost part of the North Island, derives from the legend of the fishing up of the island by the demi-god Māui.)
Immigration was a breeze, make sure you show them the return ticket, or else you won't be allowed in. Oh, and no funny food items too. The New Zealand customs and quarantine authorities are the second strictest after Australia, I think.
Anyway, first order of the day was Mama's meeting with some people. I stayed in the background (nodding off under the boardroom table). Then woke up in time for lunch.
The excitement all happened after lunch. It's going to be pictorial from hereon.
|A must visit - Te Papa Tongarewa (Museum of New Zealand). It has an awesome gift shop. Mama bought heaps of paua shell thingy here. Don't know what a paua is? Google it!|
|We looooove this esplanade next to the museum and port. Imagine ladies of Victorian era wearing those gorgeous gowns and gentlemen in tuxedos and umbrellas.....|
|Circa Theatre on Taranaki St. It's actually just opposite the museum.|
|Downtown Wellington. Seriously, didn't see many humans in this city. Population circa 400,000 I was told. Hmmm....compared to Sydney's four million!|
|Affectionately called The Beehive - New Zealand Parliament building. We arrived when visiting hours were over. Oh well....next time perhaps. Wellington replaced Auckland as capital city in 1864. It only had population of 4,900 then.|
|The Beehive and its predecessor. The building to the right is the old Parliament.|
|View from Kelburn, the top most station of a funicular railway linking the hilly suburb with Lambton Quay. The cable car project started in 1898 and was launched in 1902, mostly used by students attending Victoria University.|
|The building on the left is the Skyline Restaurant at the Kelburn Station. It was opened in 1984.|
|The best part of the garden is the Rose Garden. Beautiful orange rose.....|
|....and yellow (complete with edible insect snack)....|
|...and purple....I especially like this one but Mama didn't allow me to pick any. Beautiful smell too.|
|....and red (these ones are humongous)....|
|Then we went to Mt Victoria, Wellington's highest peak, on the opposite side of Kelburn to look at this view.|
|Mountain climbing anyone? No steep terrain, just steps, to the peak of Mt Victoria.|
|Some sort of monument on the peak of Mt Victoria.|
|What's this cannon doing here? It's an old one though.|
|Nice suburb where the motel we stayed in was. I think it's called Hataitai.|
|Mama was drooling at the sight of these waterfront properties.....at NZ$400,000 a piece?|
|The building on the left (orange roof) is Bella Vista Motel on Evans Bay Parade, where we stayed. The grey boxes on the left, were on sale at NZ$250,000 each.|
|Mascot of the motel. This marmalade tabby belongs to the motel proprietor. It was saying goodbye as we were checking out. Of course I can't resist taking its photo.|