New Zealand – Wellington

The ferry trip from Picton on the South Island to Wellington on the North Island is only 3.5hrs long and it’s actually a lovely journey.

Leaving Picton you travel via the calm waters of the Queen Charlotte Sound until you enter the Cook Strait, the narrow channel between the two islands.

Our crossing was fine buts its a notoriously unpredictable stretch of water and you can see and feel the slightly more choppy waters as the Tasman Sea meets the South Pacific Sea before you head into the bay to Wellington.

Wellington is New Zealand’s capital city but its third largest by population.

For us it was the biggest city we had encountered in New Zealand so far and the most cosmopolitan too.

The North Island is already feeling a bit different from the South.

The City has a large pedestrian harbour side area which was great and we had good weather when we were there, but the city is known as the windiest in the world!

There is an interesting contemporary art museum in the city, a bit limited but worth a visit.

Kaleidoscope Installation Art

But the main cultural attraction is Te Papa (Maori meaning ‘Treasure Box’), New Zealand’s national museum.

Te Papa and the habourside at night

Te Papa had an excellent set of exhibitions when we visited. One about the Pacific people and their journey to New Zealand.

There was also a very immersive exhibition on the Gallipoli war during World War 1.

There are some nice buildings and sculptures around the harbour.

Solace in the Wind

We visited the acclaimed Zealandia project, a short ride from up in the hills above the city.

It’s an interesting project ‘to restore a Wellington valley’s forest and freshwater ecosystems as closely as possible to their pre-human state’. They have physically enclosed the site with fences to stop any encroaching into the plot.

The intent being to secure the site from external influences and they have ‘reintroduced 18 species of native wildlife back into the area, some of which were previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years’.

Two Takahe birds
Two Kaka birds

There are some nice walks through the area and we did see some birds and a reptile or two!

Tuatara reptile

The bus back from Zealandia drops you at the funicular for a brief ride back down to uptown Wellington.

Well that was our stay in Wellington, next we get to pick up a car and head north to Turangi to explore more of the North Island.

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