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Published: March 27th 2016
R: Cate is taking a break from blog writing so you are stuck with me again.
We headed in from Lower Hutt to Wellington and immediately headed out on the Miramar peninsular, home to Weta Cave. Weta made quite a lot of the digital effects and puppets, animatronics etc. for not only Lord of The Rings but also Avatar, District 9, and others and they have a small, free museum of props, plus a 25 minute DVD of their highlights. They also do tours but the only one they had going was a Thunderbirds are Go! tour, which was semi interesting to me, having been a massive fan as a child - but it is all to do with the new reboot which I'm not quite sure I'm ready for. They did have old-classic Thunderbird 2 models in the gift shop though which sent a pang of nostalgia through me, and made me decide to finally take the last box of old toys out of the parents' loft when we get back. Around the Miramar peninsular is a scenic drive which has views over the city in places. We stopped for a coffee in a nostalgia themed coffee place, including
View from Mount Victoria
various schematics of Thunderbirds that also had a pretty tabby cat - so there was something for the both of us.
After a picnic by the sea, it was on into the city. We headed up Mount Victoria which gives a view of Wellington in its little protected bay. It's not quite as high rise as Auckland really, but has a great situation, tucked into the mountains. We headed to our next Airbnb which turned out to be a penthouse apartment on the top floor of a brand new block downtown. Our hosts, Robert and Karen, were very friendly and had recently been travelling themselves. They were great people, and invited us to join their family gathering for a glass of champagne that afternoon. They also had a black cat, called Mia, who was just as friendly as our Mia.
We spent the afternoon dodging the rain in the Te Papa Tongarewa museum, which is the New Zealand equivalent of the British Museum I guess, but lots more interactive and had some great exhibits about life in New Zealand, including a temporary exhibition of Gallipoli which was very moving. A very misjudged and ultimately fruitless battle that cost
the New Zealand and Aussie forces dearly during the war. The exhibit involved giant models of people (made by Weta) telling stories, and various 3D projections and timelines of the events. The rest of the museum was taken up with flora and fauna of New Zealand, Maori culture, and an earthquake zone which included a shaking house to relive a recent earthquake. We got trapped by a volunteer that wanted to tell us all the things you could do with a dead possum.
Our hosts were good enough to give us a voucher for a local Mexican so we headed out, and ended up in the Macs brewery for after dinner drinks...
Next day we headed over to the CBD and took in the shops and parliament buildings. We actually ended up on a guided tour of the parliamant building which was great as it was interesting to learn how politics here devolved from our system. In the afternoon we took the cable car up to the botanic gardens on a mountain behind the city. They're similar in style to the San Francisco ones, or at least they used to be, they got modernised after a motorway worked
got run over by one... And then the rain came so we trudged around the botanic gardens for a while before headed back down the cable car and into a waiting cafe.
After a Japanese meal involving many fried things in a bento box, we ended up in the Macs brewery again, so my tasting experience could continue. So far, the beer here has been so so, but the wine has been great! As we got back our host Karen had just got back in, and we ended up, discussing our various travels for several hours.
The next day we headed to the South Island on the Interislander ferry. And that's where Cate or I will pick up.
Overall, we liked Wellington, but it hasn't provided us with that many memories. It's quite a pleasant, functional city, with a great restaurant scene which we certainly indulged in a bit. The museum would probably be my highlight. Such a clever, innovative place. Wellington is definitely a must for a first time New Zealand trip, but I think it could be skipped off if we came back...
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