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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wellington - Gallivanting around the Nth Island (Pt 4)

Time to leave Napier, and travel southwards towards Wellington. En route, we travelled through Hawkes Bay wine country – brown rolling hills with long rows of luscious-looking vines.

Naturally, we took the opportunity to stop off at the vineyard which produces some of my favourite wine. We thoroughly enjoyed testing the keen-ness (or not!) of our olfactory senses with the potential bouquets that wine can have. We had about 50-60 little phials of liquid fragrances from which to guess the bouquet intended. I think my tastebuds might have more accuracy than my nose!

And onwards we drove, introducing our boys to those famous little rural townships which are famous in NZ, simply by virtue of their insignificance!

It was lovely to drive towards Wellington, with a beautiful sunset above, the sea on one side, the hills on the other, and the beckoning lights of the city ahead of us.

WELLINGTON… Nestled at the southernmost tip of the North Island, surrounded by a stunning harbour, and nestled amongst rolling hills. Some facts:

- the capital city of NZ, and home to the seat of Parliament (Parliament buildings are known as ‘The Beehive’ – see tomorrow’s post);

- Wellington is the world’s most southern capital;

- Only capital in the "Roaring Forties" latitudes (Wellington is familiarly known as “Windy Wellington”. As a child I remember seeing a horse and some people being blown across the road during a storm!);

- Pilots wishing to fly in and out of Wellington Airport are required to do a special course to learn to deal with the strong winds. Many a story has been told by airline passengers who have had to fly into Wellington at wacky angles, or where planes have had to come in for landing at an unusual angle only to be ‘blown’ correctly onto the tarmac at the last minute;

- Nearly all residences of Wellington are situated within 3 km of the sea;

- I would wager that a huge percentage of the houses would have sea views to some degree;

- Probably has some of the world’s garages and carports with the most amazing views!;

- Has steep, winding, and narrow roads, with houses nestled on amazingly steep terrain in the hills.

- I love the old terrace houses and old buildings mixed in with the modern.

- Still has tram lines all over the city, but these days, the trams have been modernised (softer seats for softer bods!);

- More eateries per head of population than New York;

- Unfortunately, Wellington is right alongside a major faultline, and often gets earthquakes. The Big One is still expected…..one day.

More on Wellington tomorrow.

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