If you want to escape from the busy Sydney life, why not spend a few days in Wellington?
A three-hour flight crossing the strait from Sydney to Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand located at the southern tip of North Island, is an easy and comfy journey.
In my mind, New Zealand is a country abundant in so many natural wonders. If you live so close (such as me in Australia) to New Zealand, you will be amazed by its beauty in nature. Don’t make a stupid decision to spend so much money travelling all the way to countries in Northern Hemisphere such as those in Scandinavian or Canada to see the fjords and glaciers. In South Island, glaciers along the west coast are equally fantastic. A trip to Milford Sound at the south tip of the South Island also cleanse your mind and soul. How about a self drive in a hired car in the central South Island from Christchurch to Lake Wanaka or Queenstown through Lindus Pass? This is one of the best road trips I have enjoyed so much.
The Aoraki Mount Cook Mackenzie is also magnificent. Imagine how nice it is: seeing the iconic summit of Mount Cook at the same time while you enjoy your breakfast in the Hermitage Hotel, or do a hiking along the local regions in the morning mist. During our last visit, we saw many Japanese tourists outside the hotel taking photos having the morning Mount Cook as the backdrop. I believe in general the Japanese are born connoisseurs. It is not a surprise to see them making a visit to Mount Cook. This trip doesn’t go wrong.
As I spent most of the time in the conference while I stayed in Wellington, I was not probably qualified to say anything without an in-depth understanding. But I was indeed lucky to enjoy all fine sunny days throughout with no sign of any rain. Wellington is said to be embraced by strong winds. This was true especially near the waterfront. With the wind chill effect, you will expect a further drop of one or two degrees. Moreover, like Sydney, the UV ray from the sun is high and a pair of sunglasses and some necessary protection clothes are musts for you to stay long outdoors.
I felt always safe walking in Wellington CBD, even late in the evening. I sat on a bench on the main street to access free CBD WiFi for 30 minutes nightly. One or two people were doing the same not far away from me in the dark. In the heart of a CBD, you don’t expect a crowd or any other activities after the night curtain is drawn. During the day the streets are quite busy, not in no way as packed as Sydney with spaces all the time.
The harmony between the indigenous Maori and early European settlers has brought many successes. Of course there have been many battles and concessions between two different cultures. In fact I admire the way of addressing the audience in the conference first in Maori then English because this shows a great respect upon the native culture. There is also a Maori television channel dedicated to the original New Zealanders. In Australia, this is yet to become a reality.
During my visit, I was more than fortunate to join the crowd to watch the parade of the guests of attending the Hobbit world premiere. Wellington was transformed itself into the Middle of the Middle Earth. I am a fan of the Lord of the Rings and it would have been great if I have had a chance of watching the movie. At the end I abandoned the red carpet and watched the highlights on the television.
One thing perhaps that contributes to developing Wellington so nicely is the mayor Celia Wade-Brown, who holds a degree in philosophy and a member of the Green Party. That explains why there are so many Toyota Prius taxis in the city. Someone may laugh at people studying philosophy, but I truly believe a graduate of philosophy is better qualified to run a city.
I admit I have missed so many tourist spots this time because it was a merely work trip. But perhaps this gives me an excuse to visit it again in the future. My best memories of Wellington are kept in the Black and White images on my 500px Wellington portfolio.