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.
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.