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Whiling away some time in Wellington

On my trip home from Tongariro at the beginning of February, I spent 24 hours in Wellington.  What I thought might be a fairly staid small-town capital full of New Zealand bureaucrats turned out to be a great little city.

I’ve heard it said that visitors’ impressions of Wellington are heavily influenced by the weather when they’re there.  In my case, I couldn’t have asked for better.  It was sunny and warm, and not the wundy Willingtun people complain about.

The cable car museum was interesting.  I really enjoyed spending a few hours in the Te Papa Museum (the New Zealand national museum), which is housed in a new building on the waterfront.  The cafes on Cuba Street reminded me a bit of Brunswick St here in Melbourne, and I ended up there for dinner and at a nice French bakery/cafe for breakfast.  My walk up Mt Victoria, then steeply down through the period timber houses overlooking Oriental Bay was a good stretch of the legs, even after hiking the Tongariro Northern Circuit.  I enjoyed the character timber houses, which give Wellington a unique feel, and I scored a bargain at one of the hiking shops just off Lambton Quay.

And I somehow timed it for the Rugby Sevens weekend.  This was the weekend that Wellington went a bit nuts, with a “family party atmosphere”.  This translates as an opportunity for drunk Kiwi alpha-males to dress up and roam the streets in convict or nurses outfits.  Go figure.  For the record, the Kiwis won the tournament, in a close final against Samoa.  I watched the final on the TV screen in a Cuba Street Pub, and it was readily apparent that I was the only one in there not supporting the locals.  Those Samoans nearly got over the line, which would have dampened the locals’ enthusiasm just a bit.

All in all, an enjoyable time in a nice little city.

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The Beehive

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Wellington by night

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The view of the city from Mt Victoria

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Oriental Bay

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