Days 29 & 30: Picton to Wellington, NZ. Wednesday began early as we packed up and made our way to the ferry terminal at 7 a.m. Of the two ferry services operating on the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands, we had opted to book passage on Bluebridge, the smaller of the two, but the only one offering free wifi service, a helpful feature on a 3 ½ hour trip. Though the Hertz office was located at the terminal of the larger Interislander Ferry, this presented no problem as we were able to park the car at Bluebridge and leave the keys with a ticket agent. Hertz would send someone to pick up the car.
|Smooth sailing across the Cook|
|The Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa|
|Materials: (L) hand-knitted VHS tape, (R) discarded zippers|
With a full agenda for Thursday, we began with a drive up the narrow one-lane track to Khandallah Park near the summit of Mount Kaukau. During a short hike on the park's Northern Track, we found ourselves in yet another lushly verdant rain forest. A chorus of raucous birds provided commentary and entertainment as we tramped along the deeply shaded trail.
On the peak of the 650-ft Mount Victoria, we were reminded why the Kiwi capital is often called Windy Wellington. Today's forecast called for wind at 25 to 35 mph. Gusts atop this summit with its spectacular views of the city must have been a bit higher. As in Chicago, Wellington's winds are intensified by nearby waters. The city's prevailing winds accelerate through the Cook Strait, giving Wellington more than 170 days of wind in excess of 38 mph each year.
|View from Mount Victoria|
A couple of blocks east of the hotel, we came upon Allen Street, a cozy laneway with a nice variety of cafes. A 2014 Trip Advisor certificate of excellence posted on the window had us studying the menu on the door of Istana Malaysia. The door opened and a congenial server assured us of a plentiful variety of vegetarian options. The food did not disappoint. Some time later, fortified by our delicious lunch, we set off on foot to see more of Wellington's many attractions.
|Another outstanding museum with free admission|
|Spectravision form of virtual reality|
|Old Government Buildings|
|Beehive Building and Parliament House|
|Old St. Paul's Cathedral|
As we exited the library, rain began to fall—just the excuse we needed to flag a taxi for the return trip to the hotel, where we prepared a nice salad and began packing up to leave this charming city tomorrow.
- Started in Picton, ended in Wellington
- Mileage - 117 (Trip total: 15,103)
- Weather - 42° to 58°, rainy, partly cloudy, WINDY
- Miles walked - wow, a bunch!
WEDNESDAY, 1 OCTOBER, & THURSDAY, 2 OCTOBER, 2014
More Photos from Today
|Our ride from South to North|
|Great food here!|
|The exhibit home of our hologram friend|
|Dave, our friendly rubbish collecting guy|
|A Medusa tree we saw near Old St. Paul's|
|Old St. Paul's sanctuary|
|Library of Parliament|
|Fun exhibit of old advertising and public service posters at the National Library|
|Jump platform at harbor with various kinds of jumps suggested|
|Wellington Harbor and City to Sea pedestrian bridge|
|Another view from Mount Victoria|