...on a giant eagle.
Of course! Wellington is the home of Miramar and Peter Jackson. But, there's more going on in Wellington than just Lord of the Rings.
We fight through another round of Uber vs. Taxi wars and manage to Uber our way to our Airbnb located at the base of Mount Victoria. It was a cool, old Victorian sailor's mission house that is now an Airbnb on the first floor and the owner's flat on the second floor. It was a fun place to stay and was close to everything, including a huge, new New Market supermarket.
The first morning there, we awoke to rain. So, we headed downtown to the tourist information office and booked a bus tour. It took us through and around the town, with the rain varying from steady to heavy. It was only our second "wash out" day of the trip.
|Old funicular line with nice new cars.|
|Got off the bus and rode to the top of the hill.|
|On the cable car|
|Up the hill into the goo.|
|Just a soggy day!|
|Old St. Paul's church|
|Flag commemorates US marines stationed outside who often attended.|
|Hot house at rose garden|
After the bus tour, we headed over to the Te Papa museum and learned about the history and culture of New Zealand, New Zealand plants and animals and a really well done 100th year commemoration of the WWI battle at Gallipoli.
|A real giant squid. The only place you can see one.|
|New Zealand animals|
|Walking home at dusk|
The second day featured much better weather, so we took the InterIsland Ferry over to Picton and did an escorted winery tour. The boat back was in the evening after dark, so we watched the rugby match on TV with much cheering by the locals whenever the NZ team did well against the English/Irish Lions. The current Lions tour and match against the world champion NZ All Blacks was one of the top two news stories each day - even topping Rex Tillerson's visit to Wellington. The other was the America's Cup yacht race. Rugby remains a mystery. Much like Cricket. But it is fun to watch.
|InterIslander Ferry departing Wellington Harbor|
|Ferries carry truck and rail freight as well as passengers|
|Channel markers leaving Wellington Harbor|
|Passage through Cook Straight was mostly cloudy.|
|Once across the Cook Straight, the ferry navigated the narrow channel to Picton.|
|Ferry headed back to Welllington|
|The Marlborough region of New Zealand is well known for it's wine.|
This was one of the larger wineries we visited.
|Another well known winery.|
|Scene at one of the tasting rooms|
|Ending the tour with chocolate!|
|Loading rail cars onto the ferry on the way back to Wellington|
Our last day we almost took it easy. Dan and I walked up to the top of Mount Victoria, then we all headed downtown to catch some of the things we saw and heard about on the rainy bus tour. We strolled along the waterfront, walked down the main business streets, by the government buildings including the beehive and then headed back home. We managed a lunch in a popular noodle bar and dinner in a well recommended local restaurant near the Airbnb.
|The view from the top of Mount Victoria|
|The trail back down|
|Historic floating crane|
|The Beehive. (Government building)|
|Old government buildings|
|Yes, it does!|
|Wellington is tramless. They use trolleybuses instead.|
Not quite as smooth and quiet as trams, but not nearly the hot mess that buses can be.
The system's future is in jeopardy due to cost, however.
|Interesting Art-Deco building|
|Peter Jackson's gift to the city.|
|Cormorant on the harbor rocks|
|Night scene - restaurants and bars|
On to Auckland, our last stop of the trip. It's only an eight hour train ride away on the Northern Explorer. Or is it 11 hours?