BAC New Zealand - 2015
February 11 - Wellingon Rest Day
This is our second rest day and what a wonderful place to have it. Wellington is a gorgeous city located on a harbor. The downtown area rambles along the shore but its buildings and streets do not block the shoreline. The shoreline has a wide walking/cycling promenade that is lined with cafes, small parks, kiosks and shops. The locals really take advantage of it. We saw hundreds of strollers, joggers, skateboarders, dog walkers, cyclists, swimmers, etc. especially in today's bright sunshine and warm temperatures.
New Zealand is a melting pot of nationalities. We learned this on our tour of the Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa) Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa). Our guide explained this at one of the exhibits that showed the progression of people who fled their countries and came to New Zealand because of wars and violent suppression of freedom. In the limited time we have been here, we have seen no bigotry based on race, religion and sexual orientation. Even we older people are welcomed when we go into restaurants, hotels and shops. This is partly because we are spending money, but we have a feeling that we are genuinely accepted. This is a very friendly country. It would be easy to live here.
We saw a bunch of other exhibits at the museum. The earthquake and volcano exhibit was fun because there was a small house we went into that simulated an earthquake. We also saw exhibits for animals, the history of Air New Zealand and, most important, Maori culture. There was a giant replica of the Treaty of Waitangi which gave England power to rule over New Zealand. The tribal chieftains had to sign off on the treaty which was interesting because the tribes had no written language. Nevertheless, it happened and now there are streets in every town named "Queen" and "Victoria".
Here are some photos of the museum. Click on them to get a larger image.
After our tour, we had a snack in the museum's cafe. (Did you know that Wellington has the best coffee in the world?)
We decided to stroll along the promenade for some more sightseeing. On the way back to the hotel, we bought some snacks at the huge NW grocery store.
Here are some random photos of Wellington. Click on them to get a larger image.
After snacking an resting in the hotel, it was time for dinner. We met several people in our group in the hotel lobby who were also ready to eat. We all walked over to Courteney Place to find a restaurant that we all agreed on. They were all looking for an Indian restaurant. I am not fond of Indian food, especially if I am riding the next day. So Ann and I peeled off at Dragon Fly. To quote the restaurant, "Dragonfly is Wellington's premier Modern Asian Restaurant, Bar and Courtyard offering a contemporary environment with rustic Asian influences. Our focus is on a shared dining experience of innovative South East Asian cuisine, complemented by Boutique Beers, creative cocktails and an extensive international wine and beverage selection". We wanted a light meal, so we ordered several "light" dishes. They were very good and filling.
After we paid our bill, we stopped in front of the restaurant and checked our email on our iPhones using the city's free internet connection. This is another thing that impressed me about New Zealand.
We walked further down Courtney Place and found the rest of our group sitting at a large round table filled with lots of food in an Indian restaurant. After explaining why we stopped at Dragon Fly, we continued our walk. We found Cuba Street which is an historic area of Wellington now "the home to an eclectic collection of cafes, op-shops, boutique, small fashion stores, art galleries, and music shops", according to Wikipedia. After strolling up the street and finding cafes that we might eat in if we ever return, we walked back to The Bay Plaza Hotel and got ready for bed.