Day 1,847 of Traveling the World | Wellington, NZ | February 22, 2023

Yet another country whose biggest city is NOT the capital! Wellington is New Zealand’s seat of government, not Auckland. The city is very walkable, very compact and accessible. We stayed here for seven days since we had to reroute around Cyclone Gabrielle, which was two days more than we had planned. And five days would have been about right. But we were more than glad to be out of direct contact with the rains, wind, and flooding. We feel for people who lost everything and are now displaced. Having visited Wellington four other times, we didn’t necessarily have to go out every day, so we took time to do some planning AND work on our taxes, which we filed yesterday. So – time well spent!

The most dramatic feature here is the waterfront. Wellington sits on a bay just 14 miles from the South Island, separated by the Cook Strait. The city feels very youthful, as the university is here, as well as many bars and restaurants. We have visited its two biggest attractions, the Te Papa Museum and the Cable Car to the Botanic Gardens, several times, and wrote about them previously, so didn’t want to repeat those experiences. There were some churches we had not seen on previous trips, and we included a few photos below. We caught some whimsical signs around town, as well. There is a very delightful pedestrian mall called Cuba Street that has many restaurants and retail shops – it was jammed with people every time we were there. Tomorrow, we return to Sydney for a few days before catching a cruise to Tahiti.

We are happy to be on our way again (as we always are), but we do have to say that it is always a pleasure being in New Zealand. The folks are polite, friendly, and very civilized. They don’t cut in line and rarely even jaywalk. We have only driven, walked, and taken Ubers here, but we would be surprised if we we ever had to argue with a cabbie over a fare.

Wellington Harbor is always picture-perfect, with dazzling blue water and dazzling blue skies dotted with clouds.
This is the other side of the harbor – so pretty!
Now the Academy of Fine Arts, this building formerly housed the wharf offices and Harbour Board.
Farther down the harbor, this area is called Oriental Bay.
We believe someone knitted this post cover at the harbor just for fun!
You may not be able to see them, but there is a rowing team in a kayak in the water.
This sculpture is titled Solace in the Wind Statue, OR, The Naked Man Statue. Everyone knows where it is!
This statue celebrates the country’s Māori roots. It is called the Kupe Group Statue, as the Māori title is very long.
An unusual fountain in front of an office building.
A tribute to John Plimmer (1812-1905), the “Father of Wellington,” depicted with his dog Fritz.
The Beehive, the affectionate name for New Zealand’s Parliament building.
St. Paul’s Anglican Church, the new version. It would be awful to be in the last row, so very far from the action way, way up front!
A very dramatic, modern stained-glass window in St. Paul’s.
There were four different panels of these stunning etched angels, but due to the light, this is the only one where they can clearly be seen.
This is Old St. Paul’s, which we liked more than the new. As you can imagine, wood borers and termites have been a problem in its upkeep!
Wellington Train Station.
This is Ash Wednesday Mass at the local Catholic Church, St. Mary’s of the Angels.
A very happy sign for Frutti, right next to The Flying Burrito Brothers!
A fun fountain! The buckets at the top get water from a pipe, and when they are full, they tip over and share with the buckets below, which in turn do the same until the large ones at the bottom fill and forcefully dump the water, splashing anyone who is near. It was a fun five minutes!
An unhappy-looking fish.
Benches and a bird sculpture built from driftwood. The bird on the right has a bird on its head!
A city landmark – the walking hand atop the City Gallery, along with a floating sphere. When you get closer, you can see the supporting wires for the sphere.
Very unusual – this is a Wellington movie theater! It is all sofas, with seating for 34 people. We went to see Tar, with Cate Blanchett. (How was it? Slow!). Mike said they should have had a Service Announcement at the beginning of the movie, requesting that people not give up on it – something DOES eventually happen.
Yep! Life is too short to be too pristine! Live a little – dirty your halo!

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