Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Wellington, New Zealand - Wellingtons

Here’s a little facet to life on New Zealand’s North Island that I find quite endearing. When I pull into a corner shop or tearoom in the countryside there is always a stack of Wellington boots outside. Rather than go in with muddy and manure-splattered boots on, farmers slip out of them at the door and wander around the shop in their socks! Mind you, some of the socks are just as unpleasant!

I’ve not seen any Wellingtons outside the shops in Wellington, a far more upmarket kind of place. Wellington must be one of the world’s more picturesque capital cities, stacked on the hills above the waters of Wellington Harbour. It’s a likeable city with attractive old buildings in pleasant juxtapositions to the new. It’s a city that makes the most of its waterfront – working container ship terminals and ferry ports sit comfortably beside marinas, green space and sculptures, and little bits of sea that have been captured by boardwalks and bridges to create arty, watery parks.

It wasn’t an easy ride getting to Wellington as south of Napier I ran into some bad weather. I might have guessed I was in for a rough time. The signs were all there. Like the sign that said “Welcome to Woodville – Wind Farm Capital of New Zealand”. The type of wind that bends trees forced me to stay put for a day in Dannevirke, a pleasant town with some attractive old buildings that was originally founded by Scandinavian settlers. When I’d exhausted all other free entertainment options, I had to resort to flicking through a pile of old “New Zealand Women’s Weekly” magazines in the campground kitchen. I least I caught up on world events (wasn’t Kate’s dress lovely); enjoyed fascinating stories such as “Swallowing a Spoon Saved My Life”; and pondered the weightier issues of the day including “can you become addicted to lip balm?”

Let’s hope the weather improves - I’m catching a ferry across the notoriously rough Cook Straight to New Zealand’s South Island.

Photos on Flickr.


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