Saturday, December 24, 2011

The New Zealand Government Hub

Wellington is the seat of the country's government and the Parliament complex was close by. The cabinet offices are located in a building whose architectural features and functionality give it the name "The Beehive".  We located this oh-so-fun pub restaurant called 'Backbenchers', whose claim to fame, besides all of the politicians who frequent it, is the caricatures hanging on the wall throughout. Gives a new meaning to "Big brother watching over you".

Loved the green cabs throughout Wellington. They were electirc and very quiet.

Wellington from the Air

Search for the cable car, we did. It took awhile as the sign was quite small and the entrance tucked between two buildings. A rather nondescript beginning. But oh the ride was fun. Rising up from the waterfront to the hills above, added a whole new dimension to the beauty of the view.

And then to find that a wander downhill through the Botanical garden brought us right back to our hotel. Just in time for a wine cocktail. Whoa, what a day!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The North Island begins...

We flew north to Wellington, picked up a rental and drove into the heart of the city. That was scary. After much angst, we found our hotel which was beautiful and over looked the water and the Botanical garden. Wandering along the waterfront called to us so off we went to see what we could see. Here it is folks.

Many diverse activities are happening here. We located a brew pub named Mac's and people watched while we ate. After, we found our way to the Te Papa Museum, which is the newest. It was amazing.

The day was grand, sunny and barely a cloud in the sky. The right way to begin our trek on the North Island.

Not Another...

I so loved this church. It is Gothic but in a stately way and elegant in every way. I simply loved it. It is sad to hear that they will deconsecrate it because it is too badly damaged to continue as a place of worship. My hope is that the Anglo church will find a way to help New Zealanders restore its beauty and functionality. Though I hear NZ had yet another earthquake today.  This image is as the sun was setting and a portion of it is covered in sunlight and another in the shadows. The steeple stand sno more and I hear that the rose window fell in last June. Oh my!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Art in the Gallery; Art in the Park

I walked down to the gallery by myself. Rick and Caite were tired of museums. I'm glad I did as one of the exhibits was "Blue" and the pieces were all different mediums but in the color blue. It was very cool!

Later I found these fountains in a park. There were a lot of them and they looked like dandelions. Totally fun! Totally fascinating. Couldn't get enough pictures.

I think that I shall never see...

Botanical Gardens often fascinate us. This one was no exception. The weather was grand here in Christchurch and this 160 acre park seemed to be the bridge to everywhere we needed or wanted to go. So we walked through it a lot and enjoyed it more each time. I have a lot of pictures and share them with you here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Long and Winding Avon

I first discovered the Avon while waiting for lunch. It was just across the street from the outdoor restaurant. Then I found the Avon again while wandering through the Botanical garden. And then I found the activity Punting on the Avon, which is Christchurch's response to Venice gondoliers. Notice the image of Rick and his I-Phone in the old red phone booth. So British, it is and so American, the I-phone. How do you get game scores in the red thing.

Christchurch was the town from which many Antartic exhibitions hailed. The Canterbury Museum has an excellent exhibition tracing the quest to reach Antartica. This museum was free to enter as were many museums in Christchurch. It was a morning well spent.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Kind of Place

Of all the cities in New Zealand, Christchurch was my favorite. Our hotel was tucked in the back corn of the square which made everything accessible. We walked or took public transportation every where.

The Cathedral is the center of this city and square. I so love this centerpiece and it has fallen on hard times. I hope the people of Christchurch find the ability to rebuild it.

The square reminds me of Portland, perhaps Pioneer Square. All sorts of activities by all sorts of people, take place here. The All Black countdown was on. As was Mr. Leftwing.

There is art and games and the trolley and fun and friendly people. I loved it here.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Just Do It

We hiked in the afternoon and then at the crack of cold dawn (don't take Caite's shorts as an indication that it was warm, it wasn't...

But it is amazing what sights you see when you get off the beaten track.
Who would know this stuff exists unless you go to it.

You gotta love these swaying bridges 
and jumping on command 
and the blue lakes
and the wildflowers
and the etched rocks
and the fact that I was warm if no one else was...

It was a good day.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Seriously, this was the view from our room. All room views faced this mountain. How zen is this!

We tramped (Kiwi word  for hiked) here and I was able to get mountain views from every angle. Sir Edmund Hillary practiced here before taking on Everest.

More fascinating rock piles. ET was here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Does it get any better than this?

Lake Pukaki at the foot of Mt Cook...

We lingered here a long time both coming and going. Caite talked about getting in the lake and then just finally did. I was delighted to find roadside Columbine so far from home. And then my stack of rocks to confuse the ETs.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

At Lasta

New Zealand Resumed...
about time, don't ya think

Yes this color is the real deal. Gorgeous , right.

This most amazing shade of blue is from the so-called glacier flour, which is dust ground off the mountains by glaciers. Suspended particles in combination with sunlight create this fabulous color.

I found the land formations intriguing. Cliff-like barren hills with a row of trees on top. Looks like a mohawk and it doesn't look much like they held the topsoil.

Peaches anyone?