A few more hours in Wellington

I have been in New Zealand for less than 72 hours. In that time, I’ve seen the biggest city (Auckland), quite a bit of the North Island (from a bus window) and now the capital, Wellington. And after spending just one day here, I have to say: this is a place I could live. And I don’t say something like that lightly, especially of tiny cities like this one.

After arriving last night, I spend the rest of the evening in one of the worst hostels I’ve ever been to: Trek Global. Not only is the place rather dirty, the rooms are also somewhat lacking in windows. But at least my bed was comfortable and of course I had nice dinner company in the form of Karoline and David, an Israeli who, unlike most of his travelling countrymen, had not just gotten out of the army. Oh no, he already worked for two years before embarking on this trip!

Today then, I went to the Te Papa Museum with the two of them. It’s an enormous place with free entry and a huge collection of art, natural history and cultural history items. We focused on the story of New Zealand’s settlement and I learned, somewhat to my surprise, that the Maori have only been here for about 800 years. If you compare that with the at least 35.000 years the Aboriginies have been in Australia, you can suddenly understand why their integration into modern, Western, society was much less problematic.

After that enlightening visit of about a tenth of the museum, I took the Cable Car up to the Botanic Garden and was rewarded with a beautiful view over the city and the harbour. And the Gardens were also quite nice. I walked around there for a bit and also strolled through the city, something that can be easily done in a day considering how small it is. Especially the waterfront is really nice and the Old Government Building is really impressive, since it looks like stone, but is entirely made of timber. I actually went up to it and knocked on the wall to make sure the signs weren’t lying. (It’s the second largest timber building in the world.)

In the afternoon, I met Alby, the Australian with whome Karoline and me will travel around the Southern Island for the next two and a half weeks. He seems like a very easygoing and nice guy – typically Australian – and is certainly an experienced traveller, having been just about everywhere. I’ll have to ask him to count the countries he’s been to so I can see whether Dave’s still got the lead.

Tomorrow, then, we’ll fly to Christchurch and pick up a camper van there, which will take us around the South Island. I hope we’ll manage to get along and that the weather will be alright, so that I finally get to see some of the landscapes that New Zealand is famous for.

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4 Responses to “A few more hours in Wellington”

  1. David Powell sagt:

    78 countries still…. but not working on more necessarily.
    Just reading again, Bill Bryson’s A SHort History of Nearly Everything, Most entertaining and just read what a mystery it was that Australia has always been an island, how did humans GET there?!
    I LOVE love love Welington, and except for the constant earthquake threat, and they are due for a rather Large one, it seemed a nearly perfect place. Glad you got over to Devonport.

  2. My love for Wellington knows no bounds. It’s like a miniature Melbourne, only windier. I could imagine living there, but I wouldn’t buy property…

    Also, I ask you again: do you have a list of those 78 countries? I’d quite like to add one or two, methinks…

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