Day 17 and 18 – Wellington

We drove down the south west coast of North Island from Stratford to Wellington. The weather was quite changeable and we were driving through rain for some of the time. But yet again we were lucky enough to get sunshine when we arrived in Wellington. We are staying at a hotel in the central business district which is also close to the ferry and the main Harbour area. We walked down to the ferry terminal to check everything was ready for our crossing to South Island on the Tuesday. Then walked along the Harbour area and stopped for ice cream, mine was licorice flavored and it was delicious. Off to an Irish pub for dinner and then back to the hotel.

Up early the next morning and walked to the cable car to take us part of the way up the hill and then a 30 minute walk through the local neighborhood to Zealandia. It’s and amazing place that is set high in one of the valleys with a plan to reinvigorate the local ecology. They already have a number of rare birds living there is the natural environment. We were there just after opening and so had the place pretty much to ourselves. The sounds of the birds singing was was so relaxing.

When the place started to fill up, we walked back towards the cable car and right next to it was the top entrance of the botanical gardens so we had a lovely walk down through the gardens back to Lambton quay for lunch and a quick relax before the planned meeting this afternoon.

Rob had managed to connect with a distant cousin, the daughter of his great uncle. Uncle Robert had emigrated to NZ in his 20’s and his daughter Victoria lives in Wellington with her husband and 2 sons. We met Victoria at the entrance to the Khandallah reserve and then climbed to the top of Mount KauKau according to the google there are over 485 steps as part of the climb. Rob and Victoria were able to share many family stories both past and present and the climb was more than worth it as the views were incredible. We could even see across to South Island.

After the walk we saw the end of a cricket match and met Eddie and the boys, before going to a local pub for dinner and more conversation. It was another perfect day and we count ourselves very lucky to have experienced it.