Wellington NZ, Wednesday, 11/30/16

It's always a pleasure for me to snag a window seat on a jet, especially for a cloudless afternoon flight.  Queenstown, surrounded by mountains (below), was a pretty sight from the air.  Our passage to Wellington was relatively short, about 1.30 hours (translates to roughly 600 miles).  In a small country, most New Zealand flights are blessedly short.

Lucky me!  My assigned seat was on the turbo-prop's port side, with the spectacular snow-covered Southern Alps in view outside my tiny window.  In the distance is the Tasman Sea, the body of water that separates NZ from Australia.  These are the kind of flights that actually seem too short.

So, we took our leave of New Zealand's cool, pastoral (and often dramatic!) South Island, returning to the North Island and Wellington, New Zealand's capital city, located near the North Island’s southernmost point on the Cook Strait.

Evoking the famous Lord of the Rings trilogy, the cute sign above greeted us at the airport ... no hobbits in evidence, tho.

Hmm, it appears that Southern California's mid-afternoon infamous gray-May/June-gloom weather, aka low clouds, has descended on Wellington, but our hotel balcony overlooks the harbor, which is great!  No matter, the sun will be out soon!

I think I've mentioned previously that when the luggage is retrieved and we hit the pavement, our Road Scholar group doesn't disappear like shadows into a hotel.  No sir, our esteemed and informative guide, Albert, finds the hired coach and driver (always good ones), and shepherds his (usually unruly) flock onto the coach toward whatever is next.  In this case, we'll get an overview orientation of the central city, hop off the bus for a walk-about, plus a cable car ride to the Botanic Gardens.  Oh boy, one of my favorite places to visit.

What is this?  I don't know, but I liked it.  I'd call it a mural or perhaps yard art.

On our way through town, we passed this strange-looking Beehive, which is the common name for the Executive Wing of the New Zealand Parliament Building.  Tomorrow, we'll have a guided tour of the parliament buildings, which should be kinda cool.  The city looks like it'll be fun to explore.

When we were in Auckland ten days ago, the Pōhutukawa (po-hoo-tu-ka-wa) trees were beginning to launch their blazing crimson flowers.  Now, in Wellington, they've ramped it up!  Because they bloom at Christmastime, they've earned the title of New Zealand's "Christmas trees," and they're real lookers with their red/green holiday colors.  Still not quite in peak form, look at that tree above!  The flower reminds me a bit of California Bottlebrush shrubs.

Pōhutukawa tree (Metrosideros excelsa) blossom.

 Somewhere deep in the foliage was a Tui singing its heart out, and I stalked it till I found it.

I think I'll "do" the Botanical Gardens in my next post.  My eyeballs are on overdrive.  Till tomorrow, then.


  1. Beautiful place! It is moving up on our to see list:)

  2. Loved seeing the aerial views ... no flights for us while in NZ. That lake looks like Tekapo ... is it?

    1. I'm not sure, but it could be. The aerial views were outstanding!


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