Wellington is a beautiful anomaly – bright blue sky one minute and stormy clouds the next. The single constant is the wind. It’s the one place I’ve been in the world where you can watch the weather change in front of your eyes. Looking up at the clouds, you can see them getting buffeted by the winds, moving them out over the Cook Straight.
To take advantage of the nice weather (and it was nice about 75% of the time – for the rest, see the fickleness I mentioned above), we venture up the cable car to the top of the Botanic Gardens. The walk back down into the city takes us past widespread vistas of Wellington and through beautiful rose gardens. We also check out the “Beehive” (a Wellington architectural icon), the Parliament buildings and also to our final destination – Te Papa.
Day at the Museum
Te Papa is NZ’s national museum and it deserves the title. Huge and sprawling, with four floors of interactive and interesting displays, Te Papa has to be one of the best museums I’ve been to in ages. I’m finding NZ Maori history really fascinating and there is no shortage of places to learn about it. Unfortunately, we are pressed for time and don’t get around the entire museum. I wonder if you can really do it justice, even with a whole day. When I make it back to Wellington I’ll pay another visit, that’s for sure.
Napier to Hamilton
I’ve got a lot of ground to cover over the next few blog entries – I’ve literally covered a lot of ground! Our stop in Napier wasn’t what we expected because of a bad turn in the weather. Maybe this is the curse striking again, but many of the farmers out there see it as a blessing! Napier gets its claim to fame by being flattened by an earthquake in the early 1930’s and rebuilt in Art Deco style. After a quick visit with Lofty’s friend Naomi and a tour of the earthquake museum we headed off to Hamilton to watch some test match cricket – Black Caps vs. England.
At last! Our luck begins to change. We arrive at the cricket grounds and the forecast is for sunshine. It is a good thing too, as we claim a spot of the grassy hill designed for spectators. Lofty fills me in on some of the rules and jargon of the sport and on the players (like Sidebottom – ha!) England are bowling. We spend the rest of the day sunbathing, picnicing and occasionally cheering the odd wicket (don’t I sound in the know?) The afternoon is languid apart from the jeers of England’s “Barmy Army” fan club – but I’m pleased to say I didn’t need to break out the book once!