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February 28th 2012
Published: February 28th 2012
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Wellington 5 days: Wellington's a great place to chill out in. All sorts going on and a lot of free stuff. We took the cable car to the Botanic gardens. Everything apart from the Waterfront is on a hill, hence the cable car. Good botanics (not as good as Edinburgh). Hilly walks take you to scenic views of trees, cactus, succulents, roses. begonias etc. The hightlight is the glasshouses where you can see orchids and other tropical plants. Supe cafe!!
That night we met up with Stuart and Mel, my cousin and his wife. They've been in NZ for just over a year, travelled around and got jobs in Wellington. Stuart has been working as a postman and walking uphill and down is certainly keeping him in shape (the perfect job?) We went to a lovely restaurant, thumbs up for the lamb souvlaki!! Food has been excellent. Entertainment could not be beat also, we are here at International Festival time. Street entertainers and- the Topp Twins- Ann remember them? They're a NZ institution- seriously funny, and just back from doing London. Brighton and, yes Edinburgh!!
Our visit to the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary (Zealandia to the tourists) on the free shuttle bus) was a delight. Set up in the 1990s by Jim Lynch, a New Zealander eco crusader and his wife, this is the first time in NZ we have really heard and come up close to birds and animals in their native environment. Since man arrives in NZ 1000 years ago, and particularly Europeans since the 18th century, predators have robbed the land of most of the native wildlife established in the 80 million years since Zealandia broke away from Gondwanaland. Jim bought the land and set up an8 kilometer rabbit, deer and possumproof fence. Then spent 6 months erradicating these predators from the land before beginning a 500 year programme of regenerating the original forest/ wildlife eco system pre settlers to NZ. Some fabulous mean feat. This was the first of many of these sanctuaries in NZ. Now birds like the kiwi, Takahe, kaka and kakariki and the ancient reptile Tuataro that lived 200 million years ago atthe time of the dinosaurs, can live freely without fear of creatures that kill for killing's sake.
We didnt see the kiwi, for that we would have to have done a night walk and braved the dangers of running into cave wetas!! 99.9% of New Zealanders have never seen a kiwi in the wild.
Back in town we returned twice more to Te Papa to view their modern Auckland exhibition and Awesome forces On the 23rd Feb 2012- 5 recorded earthquakes happened. Mainly around Christchurch where aftershocks are happening all the time and one at Taupo in the North island. Lake Taupois actually a caldera (volcano vent). It has erupted 28 times in the last 27 000 years.The most recent eruption, in 180 AD, had an eruption column that turned the sky red over Rome and China. I'm writing this on the Overlander train from Wellington to Auckland. It's in their brochure, as we travel past it and many other landmarks!
Just as thrilling, we travel over the Raurimu Spiral. Built in 1898, is a feat of civil engineering that allows trains to conquer the 132 metre height difference between the Whanganui River Valley and the Volcanic Plateau. The train travels 6.8 kilometres that, in a straight line is just 2 kilometres. The train takes 12 hours to get from Wellington to Auckland, but the views are stunning. Their is an allround viewing area at the back of the train and an outdoor
Pot fernsPot fernsPot ferns

Might try this in the patio. Ferns would have to be brought in in the winter.
photographing platform in the middle- but it's a slowww journey!


Additional photos below
Photos: 24, Displayed: 24


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Wellington cable carWellington cable car
Wellington cable car

Takes you to the Botanics. Wellington is on several hills. From the waterfront the only way is up!
Dragon boat racingDragon boat racing
Dragon boat racing

The Maori call their canoes 'wakas', their tribe 'iwi'. Wellingtonians have trained hard for this race. Just get a crew of you and 25 other people together, tarain for a few weeks and have fun competing against other boats!! Fun!!
NZ's parliamentNZ's parliament
NZ's parliament

The one hour tour is a must in Wellington. Really informative. The inside of the 'Beehive' is not unsimilar to our own new parliament in Edinburgh. Indeed it has many similar features.
ParliamentParliament
Parliament

This part of the building was created in the 1890s. It's where the MPs meet and haggle together. A coaltion govt. of 8 parties without an upper house. The building was never finished (asymmetrical design). Leaving room to build the Beehive in the space.
Watching the Dragon Boat raceWatching the Dragon Boat race
Watching the Dragon Boat race

Huge cheers as people support their teams. Wellington's waterfront was abuzz on Saturday, with the market, street entertainers, and the international festival.
Takahe, ZealandiaTakahe, Zealandia
Takahe, Zealandia

The takahe is an endangered bird, being regenerated at the Kurare wildlife sanctuary. Found naturally on the island of Tiritirimatangi ( in the Hauraki gulf near Waiheke).
Kaka parrotKaka parrot
Kaka parrot

Kurare Sanctuary
Street entertainerStreet entertainer
Street entertainer

Wellington fringe festival
Mount RuahepuMount Ruahepu
Mount Ruahepu

The North island's largest mountain and the only one with glaciers. Has erupted several times in the 20th century.
All aboard the OverlanderAll aboard the Overlander
All aboard the Overlander

Wellington to Auckland in 12 hours
R....SpiralR....Spiral
R....Spiral

Abit disappointing to view and photograph as it went through a lot of forest, and under a few tunnels.
Neiria bedide a sequoiaNeiria bedide a sequoia
Neiria bedide a sequoia

Obviously couldn't get the whole tree in the picture!


4th May 2012

Hello you two
Fantastic photos! What a wonderful time you are having. What spectacular views.

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