Visiting Wellington

After crossing the Cook Strait from Picton, we spent a few days visiting Wellington, NZ’s capitol city at the tip of the North Island, and understandably billed as “the coolest little capital in the world”.  In addition to being the home of the country’s national government, the city is a bustling hub of trade, culture, and social life, and was one of the most lively spots we’ve visited yet in NZ.

The city is centered on its working harbor, and like many NZ towns, circled by hills.  We were able to get great views by taking a short hike up Mt. Victoria, which sits on the southern side of the city, as well as a short (but steep!) ride up the Wellington Cable Car situated at the opposite end.

Lee and I had a great day of walking around the city, virtually from one end to the other, and enjoying the sites, including plenty of action along the waterfront (yes, those are young boys jumping from platforms into a small square of harbor water!)…

…to others enjoying the open-air cafes – on beanbags (we see where the “coolest” part comes in!)…

…to exploring Te Papa, the NZ National Museum with incredible exhibits and background on history of the Maori, the native peoples of NZ.  We’ve been impressed with what appears to be a strong commitment by the NZ government and people to honor their Maoiri heritage (as one small indication, Maori titles are listed with English on all government signs, buildings, parks, etc).  We appreciated an opportunity to learn about the Treaty of Waitangi, their ground-breaking treaty between the Maoiri tribes and the (then) British government established in 1840, an agreement that (while not without issues, to be sure), has served as the foundation for this relationship for nearly two centuries.

In addition to the requisite ice cream (possibly our best to date in NZ!)…IMG_2712      …we  finished the day with ride up the Wellington Cable Car to take a walk through their beautiful Botanical Gardens, ending at the Beehive and Parliament Buildings (the “Beehive” being the local name for the loved-by-some, hated-by-some modern construct of the Executive Wing of the Parliament Buildings).  A great day before we head out on the road to explore more of the North Island!


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