Wellington (Nov 26, 2018)

At the southern tip of North Island roughly in the center of the country sits Wellington, the southernmost capital in the world. Population including the suburbs: 500,000. We had gone a whopping 96 nautical miles overnight and woke up to a cool, wet day. Rain gear required. Acres and acres of pine logs were stacked on the dock where 30,000 Americans disembarked during WWII and where we left the ship this morning.

We passed on the chance to go to the real Middle Earth and other Lord of the Rings filming sites and chose instead to visit a large cattle and sheep property. On our way out of town we passed the second largest wooden building in the world and stopped briefly at a beautiful rose garden in full bloom (where US Marines camped in the 1940s). We drove past mature Norfolk pines that were planted years ago in the hopes they would be good for ship masts, but they proved to be too weak, so they were left alone and are now there for everyone’s enjoyment. We passed a former lepers island, seaside homes, sandy beaches, an island that served as a Japanese POW camp, lots of bush brush, flowers, and flowering shrubs in full bloom. Less the oceans views, it reminded me in some ways of the Rockies only smothered with low vegetation in various shades of green. We were told that there are some 400 cable-car-access-only homes built or being built on the side of the mountain. What is that about? Much of what we saw out the window of the bus was shrouded in haze and low clouds but still picturesque.

The seaside sheep and cattle property was beautiful, even in the rain. The funny thing about these huge properties is there were no clusters of animals. It’s doubtful I’m going out on a limb when I say the animals have no issues with personal space. We were invited to watch a sheep dog demonstration. Rain gear required. Both herders on this huge property are women. One introduced us to two of her dogs, one a silent stalker that is trained to sneak up on the sheep that are out in the open and one a barker called a Huntaway. She explained that Huntaways flush sheep out of brush-filled gullies where they are not easily visible. In full view of the sheep as well as the ocean, we enjoyed what was billed as tea but was actually more like a full meal at the property’s Pencarrow Lodge: homemade cookies, sandwiches, mini-meat and -cheese pies, bread, and all the tea and coffee we wanted. We sat near the fireplace and chowed down.

Tonight’s conversation cards: What did you get in trouble for when you were a kid? What is your favorite quotation? Would you rather age backward or forward from this point?


Three quarters of the New Zealanders living abroad are in Australia.

New Zealand was the last habitable land mass to be populated.

Baron Ernest Rutherford, a Kiwi, was the first man to split an atom
and he discovered (and named) the proton.

New Zealand has two national anthems: God Save The Queen
and God Defend New Zealand.

Fifteen percent of New Zealand’s population are Maori.





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