Tuesday, January 13, 2009


We both crashed last night and were sound asleep by 20:00. We awoke around 06:30 rested and ready for the day. The hotel served a nice hot breakfast and we headed out to explore what we could do of Wellington on foot.

After walking by the Beehive", the new Govern-ment building and the "old parliament building made of wood detailed to look like stone, our first stop was "Old St. Paul’s", the former Cathedral Church of St. Paul. The first part of this beautiful old church was built in 1865-66. Extensions and additions were made between 1868 and 1891. The building is of native timbers - rimu, totara, matai and Kauri. The carved and painted decorations are richly layered with Christian symbolism.

We were surprised to see that, in addition to the New Zealand flag and the Union Jack, the flags of the United States and the United States Marine Corps Second Marine Division are hung in the sanctuary. The 2nd Marines were stationed in the Wellington area for training in 1942 and the flags were presented when the division left to participate in the island hopping campaign against Japan.

The National Library and Archives, down the street from the church, had an exhibit on WWI and the effects on its soldiers so we went in for a look. There were very graphic displays both still and old movie footage of the war and of the soldier’s homecoming. We visited many of these battlefields on our trip to Flanders in 2006. It is amazing how different the area was when we saw it compared to the archive pictures!

We walked down Lampton Quay, the major shopping street to Cable Car Alley where we bought round trip tickets to ride up the steep hillside to the Botanic Garden. After exploring the observatory area at the top of the hill we stopped for water and to enjoy the view out over downtown Wellington and the harbor. The sky was blue, with white puffy clouds and the temperature was in the mid-60s. The harbor water, under direct sunlight is a deep green.

We rode the cable car back down and then walked over to the harbor side area and Queen’s Wharf. This is a popular lunch area for the financial district workers. We grabbed a table at Dockside Restaurant and enjoyed a lunch of beer battered seafood, shoe string fried potatoes and a nice salad. Carolyn had a banana smoothy and I tried Tui Amber Ale. The beer was very good and Carolyn assured me that the smoothy hit the spot.

Leaving Queen’s Wharf, we walked to the National Museum and wandered through to the Exhibit of a giant squid that was caught in Antarctic waters several years ago. It is an ugly looking creature!

Feet hurting, we took a cab back to the hotel about 14:00 and began working on pictures and other housekeeping duties. After down loading pictures and cleaning up camera disks, Dick had a computer glitch that shut the computer down and erased all the pictures for the last two days from his camera. When he then couldn’t read the chip from my camera, we made a mad dash to the nearest camera store at ten minutes to 5! There is nothing to be done for the lost pictures from his camera, but we just needed a newer reader for the new chips for my little camera. So we do have some pictures of Wellington!

Tonight after another supper of more of the great cheese and wine we bought yesterday and some fruit, in our room overlooking the harbor, we will get everything ready for an early morning departure of the ferry to the South Island.

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