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- Visiting Australia & Oceania
Incredible journey (part 2)
An amazing place
They say that you never really appreciate the place you grow up in until you travel abroad and see how different the rest of the world is. Well I'm not from New Zealand but I don't think I really appreciated how beautiful my 'adopted' country really is until we did this trip a few months ago, a land so diverse you have to travel it to really see what I mean.
Last week we got as far as the central part of the North Island and had a little peek at the mountains in the center of the Island, three massive volcanoes, the highest (Mount Ruapehu) is over nine thousand feet above sea level.
The 'Windy City"
We got to Wellington in the evening and found our Motel, I was really amazed to realize that we were right in the centre of the city literally within walking distance of all the things we wanted to see!
Wellington sits right at the bottom of the North Island and the two Islands don't actually 'line up' north to south, the South Island which is the bigger though more sparsely populated of the two is actually about twenty miles south west of Wellington (The ferry travels from Wellington to Picton in the South Island a distance of thirty five miles) and is known as the 'Windy City' because of the fierce cross winds you get coming from east to west where the winds literally come straight from South America no matter which way they come.
From the west it's straight from Argentina via seven thousand miles of the Southern Ocean and the South Atlantic, from the East it's from Chile straight across the South Pacific for seven thousand miles, you begin to realize just how far south you really are!
We'd booked a 'Studio unit' in the Motel and were looking forward to a bit of a rest but we'd got a really nice surprise when we got there as the Motel owner said that for $20 a night more we could have a two bedroom apartment with it's own cooking facilities!
Considering we were getting a two bedroom apartment for less than $200 a night (and that's New Zealand $ which works out we paid around $140 US!) we nearly snapped their hands off taking the place, it was awesome.
I've got to add this was a trip we'd saved up for over a year and we were really looking forward to it, there was so much we wanted to do, and we were right in the middle of the city WOW!
Another way to see the country
Our trip and why
Weta Workshops are here
I so wanted to see the WW1 display they have
"THE place to eat in Wellington"
The real reason
Okay I'll admit it, there was more than one reason for the trip. The main one was that it'd been a couple of years since we had a 'family' holiday and about fifteen years since Jodie and I went to Wellington. Abigail had never been and we thought it would be great for her to see where the government sits and learn a bit about how Democracy works.
New Zealand isn't a big country, but over here we have a 'multi party' democracy that even though we're frustrated with sometimes it actually works to a large degree. The way it works is actually pretty simple.
Whoever controls more than 60 of the 120 seats in parliament is in charge. but with more than two parties in the system that's much harder to do and you have to listen to smaller parties if you want to get anything passed, that means the 'little guy' gets a voice.
But there were other reasons for the trip
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HMS New Zealand
I'm a history buff, and I wanted to visit Te Papa Museum right there on the waterfront. It would be like visiting the Smithsonian with all the stuff there, especially at the moment as they've got a special display on built by another Wellington icon that commemorates New Zealand's contribution to WW!
Take a look below
The display was put together by Weta workshops, the folks behind some of the biggest movies of the last twenty years and it's absolutely stunning, but more than that there's a very human story behind each of the exhibits.
Each model is of an actual person who was there, and it's the person themselves telling the story of what they encountered, the first one's the soldier who was first on the beaches that fateful morning in 1915 as the invasion of Gallipoli was launched. Wounded in the first minutes he's seen firing his pistol with his left hand as they couldn't get him evacuated and every man had to fight just to hold on to what they had.
The Doctor is there doing what he can for the wounded, but with almost nothing in the way of resources all you can do is just look on in despair
The next two really spoke to me
A young soldier who got influenza there, was rotated out to recover and as soon as he was getting well, but nowhere near 100% was sent back, still exhausted from the illness he was caught falling asleep at his post and was sentenced to death by firing squad, two days later the punishment was rescinded provided at the next offensive he was in the 'front line' and was killed in action four days later.
Or what about the nurse who's brother was sent to Gallipoli so she volunteered in the hope she'd get to see him there only to serve the whole campaign to find out that he was killed four months before and no one bothered to tell you he'd been killed, the nurse is reading a letter from home where her parents are telling her what happened! That one got to me!
A great read for any trip
Okay it wasn't all 'depressing' as Abigail wanted to go see where her favorite movies and TV series are made.
Weta workshops have been involved in some of the biggest movies and TV series in the last twenty years. and their displays are awesome.
Sauron's armor. Did you know that the armor you see Sauron wearing in the movies actually is a real suit of armor and weighed nearly 70lbs!
Halo. That I really wanted to drive! an actual working vehicle from the Halo games. A Nissan patrol with a fifty cal strapped on the roof!
Kingdom of Heaven. Okay this is one of my favorite movies of all time, totally inaccurate in many ways but an awesome movie.
Thunderbirds are GO! Any Brit from my generation will know this TV series. guess what? Weta are re-making the series and it's awesome, take a look at the series
Just a little
This is just a little bit of what we got up to that week. It was followed up by great food in Courtney place (different dishes from different parts of the globe every night including an interesting Indian Beer called 'Beaver's piss!)
It was a great family time and a lot of fun.
But that's all for now folks