Wellington to Picton

Trip Start Feb 28, 2009
Trip End May 03, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Saturday, March 14, 2009

The weather changes so quickly out here. It is so localised so it can be freezing cold and cloudy one minute and baking hot sunshine the next. Aparently it is the consequence of being in the middle of two oceans with their weather systems colliding.

Wellington is known as the windy city. It has the highest mean average wind speed in the Southern hemisphere .(They need to go to Dundee - that is windy). This is created by the winds being funelled from the huge oceans through the narrow Cook straights which separates the North and South islands. Wellington is cramped in between many hills nestling around a great natural harbour. Old Maouri folklore has it that the legendary Polynesian god Maui when fishing from his waka (canoe) hauled up an enormous ika (fish) that was the North island. Wellington harbour was it's mouth where it was hooked and the hills around form the jawbones of the head of this fish.

In Te Papa, the museum of New Zealand on the harbour front they have a giant squid that was recently pulled from the ocean. This is as big as a small boat, maybe 40ft long. They are busy trying to preserve it Damien Hurst style so they can suspend it in a tank of chemicals. Little is know about these creatures as they live at great depths and are hardly ever seen. Only females have been caught. Part of the New Zealand coast lies at the edge of a great sea shelf that drops down steeply to the Ocean floor from where this creature must dwell about 2000 leagues beneath the sea I'd say.   

I stayed at the YHA in the city which is a great establishment, so well run and very friendly. Got up early in the morning and whisked up Mount Victoria that was right behind the hostel. Great views and good place to get your bearings as there are so many inlets, hills and the harbour wraps right around. You can watch the planes take off from the runway that is sandwiched right between the harbour and the Ocean.

Got ferry over from Wellington to Picton (which I almost missed as I was so engrossed with Te Papa). Holled up at a hostel called the Villa in Picton where they had free mountain bikes so took the opportunity to cycle down the coast in the calm evening sunshine. Very tranquil and great sunset. Had a breaded John Dory fish on the way back. Never had this fish before but the family had told me back in Auckland that this was their favourite eating fish. It didn't disapoint - there just wasn't enough of it. 

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andyestherblog on

Loving the blog
Great narrative, Derek - v entertaining. Have you worked out how to upload the pics yet? Andy uses the software Irfanview to resize photos all in one batch but I guess you can use any that's on the PC. Takes a little time but otherwise it takes ages to upload the pics directly. Keep going with the blog - we'll keep in touch too with our next stage.

Think I marked on your book, the Hopewell place in Kenepuru Sound, where we stayed - enchanting place where you can take out a rowing boat and one of their rods to fish, as well as picking up fresh oysters from the beach.

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