Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Wellington - Brilliant

Typical tourist blocking the City view from the Botanical Gardens Viewpoint

Wellington Harbor from the Cable Car

Now Brilliant is sort of a Brit, Aussie, and Kiwi word, but it fits Wellington today. Bright sunshine and just a light breeze so we did not get too warm on our four hour walk around the city. It is amazing how much better everything looks when it is not raining. Our apartment is just a block from Cuba Street which is a funky pedestrian street heading towards the waterfront. Well, because of Wellington being a harbor surrounded by hills, just about every street heads for the bay.

To get all the best maps and brochures we landed at the Information Site in the Civic Center area. I of course, harassed the nice ladies with questions that they could not answer without a telephone call or two. http://www.wellingtonnz.com/ I was still trying to tack down the details of the sheep shearing in Masterton later this week, as my internet searches were still a bit vague. Then we headed down through the business district and the upscale shopping looking for the cable car station. The cable car (nice senior rate!) takes you up the mountain, past Victoria University to the botanical gardens and observatory. There were great views of the harbor and city, along with an interesting walk through parts of the garden. Mary Ann was in seventh heaven with the photo taking, assuming the sun would never shine again.

Back on the flat we wandered up to the railway station with the plan of figuring out how to catch a train to Masterton. Seems straight forward but we will see about that on Friday. The Station is on the north end of the waterfront and there is a fine pedestrian walkway all along the harbor to the Te Papa National Museum. We found a nice café on the walk with the name of Latitude 41. Now do you suppose latitude 41 crosses this area? After all this forced marching a sit down lunch felt really great. Near the café was a place to rent sea going Kayaks, but we passed on that today, and maybe will pass on it tomorrow also.

We finished the walk with exploring the civic center area, thought about visiting the mayor in the gorgeous town hall, but decided she was probably busy on a Monday. Back at the apartment it was definitely time for the traditional New Zealand siesta, and a chance to read all those brochures I picked up at the visitor center.

Quirky Living Note: I know I mentioned taxi cabs in one of the Auckland articles. However another taxi trend is cropping up in both Auckland and Wellington. It is the Corporate Cab. Now this is a upscale car, such as a Mercedes or Lincoln or something expensive, which I presume has been rented by a business corporation to move their important execs around. However, it takes a little away from the cache when there is a lighted sign on the roof, like a cab, but which says “Corporate.”

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