Thursday, February 25, 2010


Day 1: Wednesday February 24, 2010

Had an extremely smooth day of traveling today. By the time I got on my airport shuttle in Christchurch at 1 pm, it took only 3 hours travel time and was checked in safe and sound in my Wellington hostel at 4pm. A great travel move by me flying. The ferry connecting the north/south island takes 3 hours itself, plus I didn't have one more overnight stop in the north islands town of Kaikoura, where I have already stayed a few weeks ago. The flight from Christchurch to Wellington was only about 50 minutes. I paid around 40 US dollars for the flight including checked baggage, great price! (Airline was Jetstar). The ferry ride would have cost a little bit more than 40.  It was a wise move. After getting off the plane in Wellington I boarded a luxurious shuttle bus that took me 8kms into the city center, the bus had free wifi, pretty sweet.

Wellington, New Zealands capital, is a great city pumping with heaps of restaurants and cafes. It is the sister city of San Francisco and definitely noticed a few similarities.Harbourside is a great area bustling with massive amounts of bikers, walkers and runners. They have a cable car too but never checked it out. The city is also built on a fault line.

Very San Francisco-ish

Since I arrived late afternoon didn't have much time to do any big activities so I took a stroll along the harbour rocking out to some tunes on the ipod. Caught the sunset and snapped some photos and headed back towards my hostel.

Day 2: Thursday February 25, 2010

Today I woke up to a little rain as I had a pretty good sleep in. After breakfast I made way to Te Papa, New Zealand's National Museum. Now I am never one to enjoy museums but was quite impressed with this one, I spent well over 2 hours in the 6 story museum and enjoyed every moment of it. I probably never would have given it a gander had admission not be free but yes truly a great enjoyable learning experience.

The museum had a bit of everything, with my favorite exhibits being the colossal squid, volcanoes, maori history, and greenstone collection.

The colossal squid was a recent addition in the past 2 years. A New Zealand fishing boat caught it accidentally while down near antarctica. The squids eyes are apparently the size of soccer balls, crazy. Saw some live video of the catch, all pretty interesting.

Great day at the museum, expanded my knowledge on the culture and history of New Zealand.

Afterward I made my way up the nearby Mount Victoria for a panoramic view of the city. Wellington is also given the name Windy Wellington, well today gave some glimpses why, was pretty windy in the afternoon. The hike to the summit was a pretty steady climb. The summit is 169 meters high. Although a tiring hike, I kept thinking back to the hike I did a week ago where I climbed 1300 meters, and told myself all these small climbs are nothing.

Many areas in and around Wellington were used for filming spots for the Lord of The Rings series. The track up to Mount Victoria showcased one of the film sites. Can't recall which movie but it was the part in the woods where they are being chased by the black horse rider. Don't think I found the exact location but definitely the general area, still something to claim.

Once I reached the summit there was indeed a very good view of the city, a 360 degree panorama, saw the airport and all. Unfortunately it was extremely hazy and photo conditions were not ideal.

Anyhow still a good view and enjoyed the hike back down to town thru the forest.

With not much else to do, I trekked again harbourside and made way for the Parliament building. It is called the "Beehive" so I figured I would just go and see what it was all about.

Anyhow, it was about 630 and I really didn't have anything to do and I didn't want to waste time sitting around in the hostel. I decided to hike back up Mount Victoria to catch the 8 oclock sunset. Besides, the extra training couldn't hurt as I have my final New Zealand hike in 4 days that weighs in at 20 kilometers and 8 hours long. I will be trekking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, known as New Zealand's best one day hike, expect a great review.

Took my time as I hiked back up the mountain and took in the great surrounding and tranquil forest.  When I reached the summit, down below was still hazy, but once sunset came it didn't matter. It was a great one and got heaps of great photos. Just a few.

Back down in the city I decided to eat out as I approach my final days here and with limited chances to eat my favorite Oz/NZ eat out food that doesn't seem to exist back home, Kebabs. It was my first Kebab from New Zealand and too be honest didn't come close to that in Australia but nonetheless still very tasty. Like I felt when I departed Europe, I will miss the Kebabs.

Few notes:

- Been making a new sandwich, I call it the HHCC. Hummus, Ham and Cream Cheese. The hummus I use is roasted capsicum but chili powder is a crucial additive. Great for days on long bus rides and quick eats. Very tasty.
- I eat atleast 1 banana a day and usually 1 or 2 apples
- Sometimes I buy milk when Im in a city for more than 2 days, I drink an entire liter in one sitting.
- I drink an average of 5 cappuccinos a week.
- Still loving the tap water here, so good
- Got some great adventure activities coming up, mainly underground cave water tubing. Can't wait
- My final days, around 10, seemed to be all planned out and have a perfect schedule lined up.
- my digital camera is absolutely beat, the thing is a trooper and is just as world traveled I have been. glad its held up

Stay Classy my Friends

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