We are travelling by train along the eastern shore of the south island of New Zealand. This is a wonderful train journey.
Comfortable train seating indoors or you can stand outdoors. Get beautiful views of green rolling hills with sheep and farmlands as you go by. And some of the most spectacular coastline that you will ever see from any train from anywhere in the world. This is quite a sight. Looks a little similar to California’s Big Sur, another one of the world’s greatest vistas.
And this train makes it so much fun and convenient you can stand in the open-air car you wish and get some really good photographs and enjoy the cool fresh air while you are still protected by the train itself enjoying the surf scenery, gliding by or sit indoor where it’s a little warmer, perhaps a little more comfortable.
Wellington, New Zealand
Passing the wine country – New Zealand is getting increasingly famous for its high quality grapes and wine production. We are heading north to Picton, which is the main city at the top of the South Island. Get off the train at Picton and here we are going to transfer walking just across the street over to the dock passing the scenic watery harbour of Picton and getting on to the ferryboat. We are going to be crossing the Sound from the south island to the north island by ferry. Those who have cars, you can drive right on, in our case we walk on. You check your baggage and you claim it later at the end of the trip. It’s a three-hour cruise and it’s very comfortable, you can walk the decks. Plenty of room outside if you like to get that fresh air and you will enjoy a lot scenery. You are not just crossing the open ocean, most of the trip, you are passing islands and the north island and then arriving before you know it the trip is over. We are arriving now at the capital city of New Zealand. The city of Wellington. We are going to surprise you with this visit because most people are not very aware of Wellington. But it is a great city.
Lets start with an orientation tour with our local guide on the bus.
Sam: My name is Sam. And my pleasure to show you the sights of Wellington today which will be around about three hours and three and a half hours. There will be advantage points where you will be able to go for a walk if you desire. If not, just stay on the coach.
Wellington was born in Eighteen Hundred and Forty, which was the first European ships that entered Wellington Harbour. So, we will now go hit up on to the waterfront. And as we go along, enjoy the beautiful sights. Wellington has Four Hundred and Sixty Six Thousand people who reside here in the city. This is the most expensive real estate area – the Greater Wellington Area. The average apartment would be Six to Seven Hundred thousand dollars.
We are about to see a lot of special sights on this bus tour. Look at that panorama of the city along the water’s edge. Spectacular! And then we came across a huge school of Dolphin. Even the bus driver hadn’t seen anything like this in a long long time. That was a spectacular photo stop. And we pass a variety of kinds of houses. You begin to get a feeling for this city as you drive along on the bus tour and see that there is a nice variety of houses, and apartments and commercial areas and the most spectacular view of all is from Mount Victoria. Wow
So we spent about 20 minutes up here, burn through a lot of pictures
Nice place for a group shot with the city arching out there behind us.
It’s a little windy especially up on the hill. But Wellington is famous for its winds.
It’s right here on the Cook’s strait. And this is a windy a place. They call Chicago the window city but Wellington is even windier. However it’s not to be compared to Chicago otherwise its more like San Francisco, its like a mini San Francisco. It’s a city on the hills. Lot of Victorian style buildings here. There’s some modern architecture and it’s a very hip place. Wellington’s got movie-making, there’s cafes, there’s a lot of arts. There’s wonderful nature sights, there is beautiful rose garden. So we get off the bus here, take a stroll along. Those flowers smell as good as they look. Here’s that breeze again. And from here we are going to get back on the bus and continue along on this city tour. Generally it’s about a three-hour bus tour, and that includes a number of stop. Here we even had some coffee and snacks at the Rose Garden. They do have a lovely café on the terrace. And we continue walking on our own going down Lambert walk, one of the main streets in town passing through the Civic Square and we are about to enter into one of the great museums in the world for ethnic arts and culture.
This is Te Papa museum, a vast repository of Maori art. The art, the technology, the artefacts of the aboriginal Maori people, the Polynesians as well as a nice sample of modern art and technology. It’s a history museum; it’s an art museum. It’s in a huge modernistic structure that is very easy to get around. You could spend 3 or even 4 hours if you really wanted to pour through these exhibits. And there’s places you can sit, you can relax.
You look at the artefacts of the 20th century. They’ll have special exhibits as well. Here is the Italians in New Zealand. And there is a scientific approach. They have got a study centre and a library. It’s a research institution. You can kick back, have some cappuccino and a sweet or even have lunch.
In a few minutes walk from the museum you are in the heart of downtown on Cuba Street, which has lots of great restaurants.
My name is Monty Patel. I am the owner of this restaurant.
That’s a lot of awards!
Its great! Its great!
And you find a lot of Indian restaurants. There’s other ethnic restaurants of course. And this was a winner. Not expensive and very tasty. Right along the Cuba Mall, which is a pedestrian mall. It’s nice and quiet and peaceful here. It goes for about 8 blocks right through the centre of downtown. It’s one of the more popular streets in the city. There’s a number of these lively urban streets in the heart of Wellington and Logan Brown restaurant is perhaps in the city if not the country. This is a Gourmet delight and not terribly expensive. Really the dollar is pretty strong in New Zealand and you can have a gourmet meal for much less than you would expect. It’s very safe to walk around in evening here in Wellington. Its very safe to walk around in the evening here in Wellington. Walking back from Logan Brown back to our hotel, we are staying at the Ibis, which is right in the heart of downtown. Very convenient location, a nice modern hotel with good facilities. Nice rooms, and excellent breakfast room. Our group enjoying another breakfast together in the morning, starting out the day.
There is so much to see in Wellington, you really should spend a couple of days here. Even though it’s a place that is not that well known, you are going to find that it’s a nice mix of culture, history, architecture. It’s the governmental capital. A great place to visit!