Our recent visit to Wellington was wonderful. Helped enormously by Tracy and Rod’s convivial hosting; friends who used to live in Gisborne. As they were working Wednesday to Friday, we did some sight-seeing.
Well, on the Thursday and Friday we did! Wednesday’s weather was atrocious so didn’t even leave their spectacular hill-top house. Which was great as I had heaps of work to catch up on.
Since starting our travelling around New Zealand in late September, we’re growing to love the flora and fauna of NZ even more than previously. For me, especially it was one of the reasons I’d yearned to be here for as long as I can remember. Our friend Monique suggested we prioritise a visit to Zealandia whilst staying in Wellington. Wow! We were so happy we did on Thursday.
Dinosaurs At Zealandia
The attraction, north of Wellington, is named after Zealandia (also known as Te Riu-a-Māui, or Tasmantis), which is an almost entirely submerged mass of continental crust that subsided after breaking away from Gondwanaland 83–79 million years ago (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zealandia). New Zealand is the largest land area still above water, next is New Caledonia.
I’d booked a two-hour guided tour of the attraction, knowing that we’d get to see far more that way and get lots of valuable knowledge too. I wasn’t wrong. It was amazing. We got up close to lots of colourful, vocal Tuis. And a host of other avian life. My main desire was to finally see a tuatara. I was ecstatic to see not one but two tuatara (try saying that with a mouth-full!).
At one stage we were up close to wekas, and saw a weta inside a specially designed cover (thankfully not too close!). The New Zealand land-mass of Zealandia broke off before any nasty things evolved, which has helped make it so outstandingly special. Unlike their closest neighbour ‘across the ditch’. In New Zealand there are literally tens of thousands of endemic species, compared to Britain’s two. Fascinating.
I could’ve stayed for days in this magnificent place. They invented a predator-proof fence, to encourage the wildlife to come and stay, and the fence design has been replicated around the world. It was indescribably blissful to be surrounded by such peace and naturalness.
Our guide had almost given up hope of seeing a Tuatara as the weather wasn’t terribly warm, so they stay underground. Once the sun warms the earth a little, they venture out a little to ‘sunbathe’. The species are millions of years old and related to dinosaurs – seriously! Check out the information below …
We also saw and heard of far too many species now extinct. The huia bird for example became extinct, tragically, due people over many years desiring their tail feathers and beaks as adornments. How very sad.
Barry has many more pictures of our visit in his slide-show below. Do check them out as they’re stunning as usual.
We Had A Ball At Beervana
One of the first things Barry’s brother Ray said to us when we arrived in Gisborne, was we must get tickets for Beervana. Normally held in August each year, it’d been postponed due to the second lockdown. It seemed silly not to take advantage of this – so we duly bought tickets for Tom and us! It sounded like fun, and Ray’s two children were going to be there also. It’s not often you get lots of Teutenbergs together. Tom and Ray travelled down from Gisborne on Thursday 19th, so we met them in a bar after Zealandia.
Beervana is held at the Sky Stadium in Wellington, close to the railway station. We were strangely amused by the total lack of any form of physical distancing, both walking to the Stadium and within it. Once again those reading from the UK, USA or Europe may be horrified at the images below.
An abundance of craft beer stalls and a vast selection of food outlets to tickle your taste buds greeted us inside. On arrival we each loaded a wristband with $100, containing a special device to scan anytime food or drink was purchased. What a fabulous idea! I managed to still have $42.50 at the end of the evening, despite having a few drinks, eating popcorn chicken and chips, and craving scrummy doughnuts! I’m rather a lightweight drinker.
I did, however, partake of a glass of Juice Cinda! It would’ve been rude not to …
Barry eventually found the home-brewing stalls at the end of the circular walk around – and I relished a glass of slushy-wine called ‘frosé’. It was rather delicious. A fabulously fun night was enjoyed by us all. Highly recommended.
Six-Handed Rummy Nights
Tracy and Rod were amazing hosts, despite working three of the five days we spent with them. For three of those nights, we played six-handed rummy together. They stayed on board NBAreandare a couple of years ago, where they’d learnt the card game, and we all had a blast. We always share Andy Tidy’s blog link from 2010 to anyone who wants to read up on the rules after we’ve left! Check it out here: https://captainahabswaterytales.blogspot.com/2010/08/pride-comes-before-fall.html
On Saturday 21st November, we all trundled down the hill to the station and hopped on a train to town.
I’d wanted to re-visit the amazing Te Papa museum – so we did! There was a heart-breaking exhibition about the New Zealand contribution at Gallipoli in World War I. Barry’s grandad fought there; luckily he came home, though mentally and physically much worse than when he’d left New Zealand.
I find war abhorrent; the images and exhibits were astounding, but it doesn’t negate the fact that it’s completely senseless to me. The ‘people’ were incredible, with tiny hairs on their arms and legs, realistic wounds and tears. A LOT of work and money has been put into the exhibition, and it’s well worth seeing if only to show how important it is to stop future wars from happenings. Maybe if more women were leaders? Just a thought …
While walking around the exhibition, we heard the nearby sounds of a Haka. I raced as fast as I could to where the noise was emerging – at the entrance. These cadets (I think) had shortly before been through the Gallipoli exhibition and wanted to show their appreciation with a spontaneous Haka. It was breathtaking—skin tingling. I love how proud these people are. And how thankful to those who left their loved ones to fight a war so very far away.
Leaching Out Money But Loving Life
We mooched around the city after the museum, meeting up again with Ray and Tom. As fun as it all is, in the past few weeks far too much socialising has been occurring. Although we do our best to limit spending it’s rather challenging when you’re out and about.
But you only live once aye? And times like these don’t come around often as we all especially know from 2020 experiences. We knew we’d make up for the excesses when we’re back in Gisborne, and of course, Barry will soon be getting his NZ pension which is going to help the diminishing coffers heaps.
Thank you so much, Rod and Tracy, for your generous hospitality. What a stunning home you have – we loved your comfy guest bed and the magnificent views. Especially when the rain stopped, and we could see for miles! It’s not ALL sunshine and happiness but a lot more blue skies all around in NZ at the moment. We had an exceptional time, and hope to see you both again soon.
Barry’s Views Of Wellington
We left Wellington on Sunday 22nd November, returning to NZAreandare kindly delivered to Waikanae by Tracy and Rod. There are heaps more tales to tell of our next adventures!
Click on the first image below to watch the slide-show. As always, stunning images: