Good buy Nelson.
Flying out of Nelson I was more aware of my surroundings’ than I was when I flue in the day before and was able to drink in the scenery around me and growing smaller below me as the plane took off. What a wonderful place, the water is blue and the mountains are green. Just my kind of place.
Landing in Wellington and zipping through the airport to catch another taxi van, (they are generally cheaper and make many stops throughout town escorting a variety of customers to their destinations.) I’m off again to another hostel, this time it is the Downtown Backpackers Hostel. The rooms are clean and the beds may not be lump free but at least they are comfortable. The hostel boasts several computers you can get online with for $. They have their own in-house pub with a pool table and large screen TV’s as well as a dining room complete with a fire pit. All in all a very comfortable place to stay. After dumping my stuff in my room, (I prefer an ensuite room to sharing with total strangers, I sleep better that way), I headed out to locate the next days hotel. Wellington hosted the WOW International entrants at the Rydges Hotel. A five star joint from the looks of it. Very posh! Then I headed for the waterfront.
If there is water anywhere where I can get to it I am there. I love being near the ocean or fountains or what-have-you. The water front is right downtown Wellington and sports some wonderful play equipment as well as some great venues for all sorts of things. Several coffee places and eating establishments and the Wellington Te Papa Museum which houses the worlds largest squid ever caught. I, however was more interested in the clothing sported in the Museums’ souvenir shop windows.
In the Windows of Te Papa, talk about recycling!
There is also a number of easily accessible ramps, overpasses and bridges for pedestrians so it makes it fun to get around town on foot. They are all constructed in such a way as to be artistically interesting.
Yes those are bottle caps painted gold with Crystals strung in them.
I couldn’t decide on where to eat dinner so I headed back to the hostel. It was a great decision to make. I was serenaded acapella style by a high school quire team that was in Wellington for a big singing contest. I visited with some of them and found they were from Auckland, one of the bigger cities in New Zealand. The kids were great and even though they only won bronze, in my book I think they should have won gold.
In the lobby of the Ridges, costume from previous years WOW. Hand died silk. Met the lady who made it, she’s really cool!
An early night, (still a little jet lagged) and a relaxed morning (special note must be made here. Good coffee is almost non-existent in New Zealand or Ireland for that matter so order a mocha or something suped-up, you’ll be happier), and off to the Rydges.
I had made arrangements via email, with some of the other International designers to meet up in the morning and travel together to go see the WETA Cave. For those of you who don’t know, WETA is the production company that did this little trilogy called “The Lord Of The Rings”. Insert squeal like a freak-fan here!
The WETA Cave is the front store for the company. The company manufactures their own memorabilia rather than having it done somewhere else, say like China. The Cave has books, figurines, armor replicas, weaponry and they boast a really cool video of the making of the WETA company. The video was really inspiring. They started from nothing in a little apartment making their own foam molds and other sculptures for movies and displays. The whole time, I was thinking, “if they can do it, so can I”.
After the cave Lorene Ireland, one of the other international contestants, and I went to Mount Victoria look out. The top of the mountain sports a 360% view of Wellington and on a clear day, supposedly the whole of the North Island. The day was bright and sunny, if a little chili. The cabby had dropped us off at the top and we walked back to town, down the mountain.
I am always impressed by trees. Trees inspire me. They are alive and there are so many different kinds. It truly amazes me the variety that the world holds from one location to the next. As we walked down the mountain I was also caught by how many Tui Tui birds were flying around. Tui Tui’s were made almost extinct, or so I was told on my first trip to New Zealand as an exchange student. They are an all black bird with a tuft of white fluffy feathers on their throats under the beak. The sounds they make are unforgettable. It’s a cross between a synthesizer and a few different kinds of bird calls. It’s really hard to pin down, but if you ever hear it you won’t forget it.
Once we were down in town there was a lot to see and as we made our way through the city we looked for a place to eat but ended up getting distracted by all the really cool stuff to see. Wellington was decked out for WOW and I just couldn’t get enough or stop taking pictures.