Day trip to Wellington
It took around an hour to travel on the rail replacement bus service from Paraparaumu into Wellington, the boys loved the novelty of having bus tickets. From the bus station it was an easy stroll along the waterfront to the the New Zealand Portrait Gallery. Wellington is great for being able to just wander into places unplanned. The City is big enough to have great places to visit but underpopulated enough to not be constantly over crowded.
The Portrait gallery is free and hosted a colourful exhibition by NZ artist John Walsh. The boys were somewhat dwarfed by the spectacularly huge painting by this talented contemporary Māori artist.
Second stop, coffee. Wellington is renown for its coffee and hip coffee house culture. After a well earned rest we walked along the bay to the world-renown Te Papa, Wellington’s amazing museum. Words cannot describe how wonderful this museum is. Most exhibitions are free. It is super child-friendly and simply fascinating. To quote from their website,
The meaning of Te Papa Tongarewa. Our Māori name, ‘Te Papa Tongarewa’, translates literally to ‘container of treasures’. A fuller interpretation is ‘our container of treasured things and people that spring from mother earth here in New Zealand’.
Te Papa is indeed a treasure and a must-do if you ever visit Wellington. This was our return visit, we just could not fit it all the first time. Now there was the fortuitous opportunity to see the ‘Immortal Warriors’, a paid touring exhibition which was surprisingly easy to queue up and get a ticket for on the day. We remarked that if the exhibition was in the UK it would have been booked up and sold out far in advance.
We all marveled at the exquisitely ornate gold, bronze and Jade treasures on display and of course loved the opportunity to see the two metre tall Terracotta warriors; discovered in 1974 by chance these remarkable statues had been buried for over 2000 years and served as guardians for the first emperor of China.
Another excellent and emotive display within the museum is dedicated to Gallipoli. A thought provoking, informative and sombre account of the
campaign in World War I, through the eyes and words of eight New Zealanders. The larger than life hyper-realistic models made by Weta studios provide a surreal insight into this time of war.
After the museum we headed into the city for a spot of lunch, we opted for some delicious authentic Chinese flavours. There are so many excellent restaurants to choose from in Wellington, but Asian food is particularly good!
Re-fuelled we headed across Wellington to the Cable Car station. The car takes you up the hill to Kelburn station and Wellington’s Botanical Gardens. We learnt a little more about the trams from the museum and then followed the boys as they ran the downhill path following the orange trail. M ran from emblem to emblem until we reached a playground with a spectaular view! After a swing on the flying fox and climb to the tower the boys amazingly still had energy to spare and ran the rest of the path through the park, past hydrangea gardens, aroma gardens and back to the city.
It was time to head back to the train station for a rail replacement bus, what a great day out!