St Augustin

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.
Who lives sees much, who travels sees more.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A - Z Challenge. W is for Wellington, New Zealand.

Well I hope you enjoyed V for Venice. This time we'll go from Old Europa to the New World. Compared to many countries, Australia and New Zealand are in their infancy as far as white settlement goes. Just over 200 years since 'civilization' arrived, and in Australia's case, declared the land 'terra nullius' - empty, ignoring the indigenous population. New Zealand's indigenous population, the Maori, have had their fight for self-determination also, but were/are more warrior-like than the Australian Aborigine. That warrior spirit lives on in the way they play their sports, especially Rugby League and Union. Those fearsome All Blacks!

The scarifying All Blacks Rugby team performing the haka before a game.

Anyway, less of the waffle. The posts for the A - Z were supposed to be short, but I figured you are all intelligent enough to flick through and read anything interesting and forget/come back later for the rest.

Why Wellington? Auckland is the capital of New Zealand isn't it? Well, yeah, but I lived in Wellington for two years, had my son there (so he's a dual citizen) and said at the time I would have been happy to live there forever. It has lovely little beaches but really doesn't have a beachy climate. Because it's the Windy City (as I hear is Chicago) the air is some of the purest in the world. I can remember holding onto the bridge rails for fear of being blown away at times. No joke.

Anyway, Wellington, NZ, here we go.

Wellington Harbour

Wellington is New Zealand's centre of government and the world's southernmost capital city. It is also the country's cultural capital and the third most populous urban area in New Zealand.

The city is home to many museums, theatres and arts festivals, including Te Papa Tongarewa (the Museum of New Zealand), the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and the biennial Festival of the Arts.

A modern city centre of the harbour

Wellington is also a leading centre for creative industries, such as film and computer technology, and it is the home of the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX).

The city is situated alongside Wellington Harbour and surrounded by natural beauty including Zealandia, an award-winning eco-attraction just minutes from the central business district.

The rich Maori culture is celebrated. The kapa haka is danced.

Wellington Harbour by night.

Wellington city has a steadily growing population which increased by 7,800 between 2006 and 2009 to 195,500 people. The city's population accounts for 4.45% of the New Zealand population and is expected to see steady growth over the next decade. We Aussies joke that there are more New Zealanders living in Australia than New Zealand. Not quite, but Australia certainly has a high NZ populous.

Wellington city has higher proportions of Europeans (76.8%) and Asians (12.7%) than New Zealand as a whole, and lower proportions of Māori (7.4%) and Pacific peoples (6.6%).

A trip to Middle Earth anyone?

Like any city, there are many tourist attractions. One of the most populare is Welcome to Middle Earth. You knew NZ was Lord of the Rings country, didn't you? Well this is where the films were made. You can take a Middle Earth tour, visiting 9 different locations from the films (including 20+ scenes). You explore Mount Victoria Greenbelt, Wellywood suburbs, Hobbits surfing coastline and the gorgeous native forest park of Rivendell. The picnic lunch is world famous and you will go home with fantastic photos of Lord of the Rings scenes.

Your guide will take you into the heart of the Lord of the Rings, with the wealth of their knowledge, this brings the following locations to life: Hobbiton Woods, Isengard, Fords of Isen, Village of Bree, Rivendell, River Anduin, Helms Deep, Minas Tirith and Dunharrow.

The day starts with a journey through the outer shire, spending an hour walking through Wellington's greenbelt tracking the many scenes filmed there (including 'get off the road' and 'race to the ferry'). Take a drive through the South Coast to Wellywood, home to the actors whilst filming and the studios. After morning tea at the legendary Chocolate Fish Cafe (not included), drive north of Wellington to spend time amongst forests, mountains and rivers. The famous picnic lunch will be in Rivendell before you cross the swingbridge for a short native bush walk.

The tour includes a free souvenir map, elf ears for photos and a hobbit like storytelling guide for the day. Come explore Middle Earth for yourself.


Clarissa Draper said...

It's a very modern city but with lots of culture and history (so to speak) what a great W.

Grandpa said...

Land of the Hobbits...quite intriguing. And that's a great looking City.

I'm off for a couple of weeks holiday in Auckland later.

Life on The Farm

notesfromnadir said...

Really enjoyed this blog & all the information. However, the rugby team doing the haka looks really cool! Nice thighs, guys! :)

Dawn Embers said...

There it is, New Zealand. ;-)

Sounds like a great place to visit. Diverse and fun, with wind which I'm used to by now. I've never been to Chicago, which people say is windy because of the building layouts *shrugs* but I live in a windy state. I enjoy visiting any place with museums and art. Wish we had more.

Laura Eno said...

Definitely on my list of places to go. WHEN I get to Australia, I'll be hitting up NZ as well!

L'Aussie said...

Great place to visit folks. Auckland is fab. too Grandpa.


sandy axelrod said...

I loved reading about Wellington, New Zealand! I live in Wellington, Florida. Just stopping by from the A-Z Challenge.

Anonymous said...

Those Maori dancers remind me of the Maori dancers at the Polynesian Culture Center in Laie, Hawaii, where I lived from 1975-76 with my first husband and four much younger than today children. I LOVE those people!

Wellington, New Zealand. I had no idea how beautiful it is! That picture under the dancers is absolutely breath-taking.

I so appreciate the time you've spent on your A to Z travel blogs. Every one of them is a gem. You always run the tenth mile with everything you do!
Ann Best, Memoir Author

Deniz Bevan said...

All Blacks! Haka! Yay!
I'd like to visit Hobbiton too :-)

Helen Ginger said...

What a beautiful place. My husband and I really want to come for a visit. Some day. Maybe. So expensive, though. But, gracious, it looks beautiful.

L'Aussie said...

Sounds like you're all learning something about Wellington and finding something to love.

N. R. Williams said...

Now that's a must see for any fantasy lover. When I'm rich I'll be on my way. Since you're a hop and skip away I'll visit you too.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

Arlee Bird said...

Nice photos and from your description Wellington sounds like an absolutely grand city. I'd love to go someday. Nice sized population--big enough to have plenty of diversity and things to do, but not overpopulated.

Great tour!

Hope you join us in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge Reflections Mega Post on Monday May 2nd.

Michael Di Gesu said...

How absolutely stunning. The Harbor is BEYOND!

What a fun tour. I would LOVE to experience that.

If I could just snap my fingers and not have to travel 22 hours by plane to arrive.

One Day, Denise I would love to visit New Zealand, Australia, and Queensland.

Oh, if I only had the cash.... It's a lovely dream though.


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