Saturday, June 6, 2015

Day 2 New Zealand

This morning we left Auckland and flew down to Wellington. I knew Wellington has high winds and had heard flying in or out of Wellington could be frightening but we had a somewhat easy landing. Unfortunately the plane did depart Auckland late and therefore we arrived late, putting us behind schedule. I had been in Wellington in 2001 but all we really did was go to a lookout point and then to the hotel to spend one night. This trip we actually had a lot to do although some of the activities time was shorten compared to what was intended.

First stop was at the Weta Workshp. Since we were behind schedule we did not go into the Weta Cave (gift shop and mini museum) as the general public would do. An added bonus was we went to the main office conference room while waiting to get our tickets for the workshop tour and in there were the 5 Oscars they have won. We had the tour for a behind the scenes glimpse but you are not allowed to take pictures. I knew of Weta because of their work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy but I did not realize they worked on so many other movies such as Avatar and King Kong with Jack Black. When we were there, the only person working on a project was an artist doing drawings. The guided tours start every 30 minutes from 10am to 5pm. Tours take approximately 30 to 40 minutes with a maximum of 20 people per tour.  

Our lunch stop was at CoCo at the Roxy. This is one of Wellington’s original suburban cinemas that has been completely rebuilt to feature two luxurious state-of-the-art cinemas, a cafĂ©/restaurant (open for brunch, lunch and dinner) and cocktail lounge that revives the style of the 20s & 30s ears. The art deco faced of the 1928 building has been retained.

Next we were off to Te Papa. This is the country’s national museum, where you can explore the great stories of this fascinating land and the people who live here. This is the largest museum of Maori treasures. We had a short tour of the main museum that is free but then we had the Taonga Ma-ori (behind the scene) tour. They have more Moari items stored then what they actually display in the museum. Here their team members have learned how to manage and care for the Maori treasures in culturally appropriate ways. 
Our final activity of the day was going to Zealandia just before 5pm for a night tour. This is a bird sanctuary of 500 hectagons enclosed to keep the inside animal’s predictors out. This time taking pictures was allowed but without using a flash. My camera does not take night shots, therefore I do not have the proof I saw a kiwi in the wild but I did. Our guide said the Kiwi was named Flip Flop because they originally thought it was a male due to the size but they later learned it was a female. 

Dinner was at Floriditas, set in the midst of Wellington’s iconic Cuba Street. Then at 10pm we finally checked into the Copthorne hotel Wellington Oriental Bay for a good night sleep.

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