Wet and Windy
15 November 2004


Today I left the north island after a fantastic day in Wellington yesterday.  I had tried to write you all about it yesterday when it was fresh in my mind, but the computer kicked me off just before I was able to hit send. I found it hard to justify $5 for an hour’s worth when I would only use 10 -15 minutes.  So I'll try to recap it all for you know. 

I woke up to rain and rolled over. Once up and moving and realized I needed to get out and deal with the weather, I took the cable car which has been running for over 100 yrs up to the top of Wellington in order to have a peek at the Botanical Gardens.  As the clouds parted and the blue sky took over I stood in awe. The ability to step into another world while still in the heart of the city was renewing.  Much of the flora and fauna was from different parts of the world, and many of it was from NZ.  The flowering plants and towering fern tress drowned out the noise and smell of the city taking me deep into the heart of the rainforest. I laid at the bottom of a tree for about fifteen minutes trying to determine how to climb up it.

Several hours and a milkshake later I headed to the Victoria University Campus to look at some of the original campus buildings and architecture.  The campus is incredibly ornate with lush lawns. Here I spent the better part of an hour lying in the warm grass staring at the clouds until I realized that I had better get moving to fit all my plans for the day in.

So I headed over to the parliament buildings in order to get a understanding of how NZ law comes about and to see the buildings.  It was very beautiful and informative. The hour tour took us through the Parliament and Parliament Library, but unfortunately excluded the “beehive” which houses the government offices.  According to the guide the rooms in the beehive were too much like regular office buildings to warrant a tour.  (BTW - BeeHive is a term in reference to the shape of the building as it is cone shaped.)

From there I headed back towards the hostel for some lunch as it was already 2:30 .  It then began to rain again so I took some time to hang out and read while the rain passed.  As it was subsiding I again realized I had rain gear and should make the most of it so I headed to Te Papa for a couple of hours.  Te Papa is the NZ National Museum and has some amazing different displays on the marine life, geologic construction of the country, Maori history and life, and art past and current.  It was a great experience. 

From there it was getting dark and most things were closing so I headed back to the hostel to think about dinner.  The entire day cost me $12.50 including lunch and malt.  I am not sure but I think that may have been the best part.

Today I visited Old St. Paul's church and the old Government building.  Both are historic ornate timber building and spectacular to see.  I really can't describe it so you'll need to wait for pictures.  The neat thing about the old Government building is because concrete was the material typically used when it was built, the timber is cared to look like concrete moldings.

The better part of this afternoon was spent on the ferry to the South Island .  Today Wellington earned it's reputation for being windy as it was often hard to walk straight.  Now that funny part of that is I biked to the ferry.  I was often turning to go straight!!!  On the ferry, the wind was spectacular, the seas were not rough as the Northwesterly doesn't create large swells in the straight, but the wind was blowing the caps off of the waves.  Dan. Mike and I (Guys from MN that I met at the hostel) would often go on the deck and would have difficulty breathing while looking into the wind due to its force. Hanging on to the side rails was essential.  After we got kicked of the bow due to the high wind and then kicked of the side decks we headed to the stern.  Amazingly we got drenched from a wave that came over the top of the boat!!!

Coming into Picton was breathtaking due to the sounds that appeared from the clouds that hung just over the ocean. The hills remind me of the Appalachians , but surrounded by water.  The water is as clear as everything possibly imagined and as green as the earth that surrounds it.  Tonight after eating dinner Dan, Mike and I went tramping outside of town and witnessed one of the most spectacular sunsets.  We all felt very romantic and cuddly, but unfortunately it was just the three of us.

Tomorrow I am still not positive where I am going -- I must go decide that next.  I would like to go sea kayaking in the Able Tasmen whish is West of here, but also want to do some kayaking along the East coast and there is a good chance for whale dolphin and seal sighting on the East.  So it is still a toss up.  I need to read some more about each to determine my course of action.  I am leaning towards going east but tomorrow will be the deciding factor I guess.

So, I guess this is kind of like the Rocky and Bullwinkle show where the title of the next show will be "Tantalizing Tasman" or "Wonderful Whales."  Stay tuned till next time.

Ride on,






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