Welcome to my personal travel journal! If you don't know me, that's OK! I hope you'll enjoy reading about some of my adventures and misadventures, and hopefully learn something new about a corner of the world.

Recent updates:
2015-10-06: Day 8 of Niue in 2011.
2015-10-05: Day 7 of Niue in 2011.
2015-09-29: Day 6 of Niue in 2011.

For list of trips, see TABLE OF CONTENTS.

Friday, July 1, 2011

I thought the complex housing Steffan's hotel had the most amusing floor naming. Did they name it this way just so that the hotel would be on floor H and thus floor "Hotel"? After the tour, I left a dark and blustery Wellington at around 6:15pm for the airport. It is a pleasure flying Air New Zealand domestic, and although I had to wait an unusual 30min for my luggage, I was soon back at Logan's place in Auckland. It was a surprisingly cold night in Auckland.
Catching up with Steffan over a hearty meal (for me at least) and a drink. It's always interesting hearing stories from MDS. Since Steffan in friends with Mario, the founder of Sidhe (now more well known as PikPok), he arranged for us to drop by to have a quick tour there. At the last minute, I booked a $35/night place to stay just outside of town in Niue after checking my mail at the library.
Steffan finally arrived, and we went off to look for lunch. For the rest of the day, I had a lot a back-and-forth e-mails with hostels in Niue under a mild panic as I realized many of the cheap places were full, and that I couldn't call Niue from my phone for some reason.
Models of a more traditional marae and storehouse. Each Maori community and many large organizations in New Zealand, such as universities and even some churches, have a marae, which is used as a community meeting place. In Maori communities, the marae is often used for formal ceremonies.
A cool modern take on a marae in the museum. They have events here frequently including singing. I didn't stay to watch anything and skipped many of the longer shows in the museum since I didn't have all that much time.
A nice view of the area from the museum.
The outside portion of the museum had a bunch of geological exhibits including a fake cave with glowworms, which was pretty cool.
One last view before heading down. I figure I'd head over to Te Papa to check out some of the exhibits I missed while waiting for Steffan to arrive as I told him to meet me there. I love museums with free admission, it gives the impression that the government cares about education and heritage.
Lyall Bay, just west of the airport. The airport is quite nice to be in, as from the windows you can see the waves crashing on the beach at the end of the runway behind the planes.
Me at the observation deck overlooking Wellington.
Te Papa and the surrounding area.
A bit farther north is the Beehive of the parliament buildings. You can see it just poking out in the centre-right of this picture. A beautiful setting for a national parliament. I suppose being in the capital of what I consider to be the "Canada of the South Pacific" is good enough for celebrating Canada Day (Seriously though, there are a ridiculous number of parallels between Canada and NZ, especially in the context of US/Aus).
Close-up of the main downtown area with some beautiful hills in the background. Kind of reminds me of Vancouver, being a city set between dramatic hills and the ocean.
Close-up of the mid-density area just south of the tall buildings along the coast. Reminds me of SimCity, and looks very welcoming from up here - makes me want to just jump in and walk around. The misty hills in the background add to the atmosphere.
Downtown Wellington is located at the south west corner of the large Wellington Harbour, with Lower Hutt at the northern end and the narrow outlet to the Cook Straight at the southern end. There are a couple of islands in the harbour as well.
The peninsula that is home to the airport. The hills at the center-left of the photo is the hilly peninsula, with the airport on the isthmus snuggling up to the base of the hills, where planes were taking off and landing every few minutes. Just past the peninsula is the Cook Straight, which is known for the strong tidal currents. Interestingly, the two ends of the Cook Straight, the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean, have exactly opposite tidal phases, which is the cause of the strong currents. In addition, this results in the middle of the Cook Straight having minimal tides as the extremes of both ends cancel out.
The hills extending south from Wellington towards the Cook Straight.
View of the downtown Wellington area.
Made it to the observation deck! Here's a view towards the airport, with the Interisland ferry chugging off in the distance. I've been watching the ferry on its way out of the docks and the harbour throughout my walk up. Looks like it's finally made it out of the harbour and is on its way across the Cook Straight to Picton on the south island.
After passing a surprisingly large church set on the hills, I came across the entrance to a park that has a sign for the Mt. Victoria observation deck. There was a steep trail up through the densely forested park punctuated by grassy clearings offering great views of the city and surrounding area.
I followed some steep steps off of Oriental Parade, and encountered a very pretty residential neighbourhood overlooking Wellington. I also texted Steffan, the tutor I worked most closely with at Media Design School - turns out he's just about to leave Wanganui (a.k.a Whanganui - there's been some controversy over the name), and should be in Wellington around 1pm. I am really looking forward to catching up with him here.
Waking up in the morning, I was very happy to see at least portions of the blue sky out the window, as I had made preparations to be in dreary weather for my entire visit to Wellington. I also noticed that the wounds of my feet have healed significantly and have stopped bothering me. It's surprising how much of a difference the environment can make on wound healing. Given the good weather, I decided to go for a walk up Mount Victoria, where there are supposedly great views.