Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and is at the southern end of the North Island. The cruise ship terminal was only a 20 minute walk from the CBD area. This was one of the only ports that we could actually walk off the port. Mostly we had to be taken in a bus as the port authority does not allow people to wander willy nilly due to security…
It was an overcast, cool sort of day but, unusually, only a slight breeze blowing. My plan was to wander around and see where it took me.
The buildings of the CBD loomed around me and I passed a couple of sculptures with no explanations.
Rounding a corner I walked past a very large, what looked like a sandstone building. I had to have a closer look when I read the information board and discovered it was built from wood.
It was originally planned to have the building constructed in concrete and timber, but the cost of concrete at the time led to a decision to build in timber alone. The Italianate, Neo-Renaissance style was usually the domain of stone buildings, thus the building is designed to mimic stone. As an important symbol of nationhood the building was constructed to resemble an Italian stone palace to help convey its strength and stability in the expanding empire. The timber is native kauri, which could not be replicated because New Zealand’s remaining public kauri forests are permanently protected. If the building had been constructed out of stone as planned, it may not have survived subsequent earthquakes, as it is situated near a major fault line. The architect was William Clayton (information from Wikipedia)
It is now the Wellington Law School but the public are allowed to look into the foyer area, so in I went through these ornate doors.
A very grand staircase but I could not go upstairs, this was only for students use.
Looking out through the window I could see the distinctive shape of the Parliament House, referred to as the “Beehive”.
There it is, New Zealand’s seat of power. No time today to go inside.
So I walked on past the shops, restaurants and office buildings. All looking much the same as in Australia. Then I spotted a sign pointing down a narrow lane to the cable car and Botanic Gardens. This is more in my interest. I am not a shopping type of person…
Here it comes.
The Cable Car has been in operation since 1902 and carries in excess of 1,000,000 passengers a year and runs every ten minutes between Lambton Quay and Kelburn, for the benefit of local residents and tourists alike.
Only $4 for a one way ticket the cable car allows easy access from its terminal on Lambton Quay in the CBD to the top entrance of the Botanic Garden and the Kelburn lookout. Three intermediate stops allow for easy access to local residential and business addresses and at Salamanca access to the Kelburn campus of Victoria University.
From the top I looked out across Wellington Harbour and the distant hills the city is built on.
Directly opposite the cable car terminus is the entry to the Botanic Gardens. The brochure tells me it is a 40 minute down hill stroll back to the CBD. So in I went with camera at the ready.
As I would expect in New Zealand it is very lush and green.
With the tree ferns popping up every where.
Morton Bay pine, Hoop Pine
At this time of the year, in fact most of the year, the New Zealand bush is not a colourful place, but the myriad shades of green are so peaceful. But I did spot some colour…
These aloes were such a vivid contrast to the surrounding green.
Here a lone tree flaunts its autumn foliage. (I spy a bench too)
Nearing the bottom now as I walk down these steps.
As I leave the Botanic Gardens behind I follow the path and then round a corner I come across a quite different garden.
The Lady Norwood Rose Garden. They are at the end of the season but still putting on a colourful display.
I see a begonia house and a café across the other side of the rose beds. But did you notice those 3 coaches in the top photo of the rose gardens? Yes it is the passengers from Oosterdam on their conducted tour and the café is full. So I wander round the tropical display in the green house.
This is just outside the rose garden.
The Peace Garden’s flame comes from fire created by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II.
The flame was presented by the people of Japan to New Zealand in recognition of their efforts against atomic weapons.
The flame is in the Japanese Pagoda and there were many Asian people here taking each others photos in front of this idyllic scene.
Not exactly sure which way to go next I asked a local and he pointed me through an old historic cemetery, which would take me across a bridge over the motorway…
This is the bridge over the motorway and it was very controversial when it was built as it cut right through the centre of the cemetery.
This is the remaining cemetery on the other side of the motorway.
It is a peaceful sanctuary of cultivated and forested open space. Over 1,300 carved and worn monuments are distributed throughout the Cemetery that straddles the motorway. A nationally important collection of heritage roses, some dating from the colonial era, inter-twine with other early plantings amongst picket fences and wrought iron surrounds. Walkways offer a unique stroll between the city centre and the formal Rose Garden of the Botanic Gardens.
Time had passed and now I had to walk briskly to be back at the cruise liner before it sailed. So it was back past Parliament and the old wooden Government House and then I caught up with a steady stream of other passengers heading the same way. The wind had picked up and it was a frisky head wind that we all battled into. Windy Wellington was running true to form.
“Restless Jo” leads a dedicated group of cyber walkers. They take us on walks all over the world. Go across and see where in the world they all are this week.