Ok, it’s been awhile since I have blogged. So many adventures in last three weeks, but no time to write because we’ve been moving so swiftly around New Zealand. First let me tell you about the first week of December.
We left Tongariro National Park (so beautiful there–here’s a shot of the “broom” bush):
Then we spent three days in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. This fairly big city is at the southern tip of the north island. The weather was awful, so we decided to work for a few days inside our hotel, with a few quick ventures out to see the city. We stayed on Cuba Street, which is a cool street with tons of restaurants and bars and pedestrians only, and even though our hotel room was tiny, the hotel itself had lots of amenities we enjoyed including an indoor pool, gym, and hot tub.
I spent the first afternoon wandering around in the rain looking for the Wellington Writer’s Walk, which supposedly is a nice stroll around the harbor, sprinkled with statues of famous quotes from New Zealand writers. Sounds cool, huh? Never found it, and got soaked looking for it! Oh, well!
Every night we indulged in the amazing Indian food that was all over Wellington. Here’s a picture of the giant dosa I was served. Yum!
We also took a tour of Parliament, which was great. We learned about the MMP parliament process here in New Zealand, which allows for more than just the two-party system we have in the states. The parliament is made up of members from a lot of different parties (11 total I believe?) and the prime minister is selected from the majority party. Parliament wasn’t in session (a new parliament was just elected in last week), but we got to walk around the halls and see where all the discussions took place. I have still never been to our capital, so it was pretty cool to finally see where some politics take place.
We also stopped by a travel agency and got the low-down on the south pacific islands, how to get from each one, which ones have what we are looking for, etc. The plan is to spend the holidays and new years in Sydney and then head for the pacific islands, which we are very anxious to explore. The brochures and stories all look and sound amazing! Fiji still sounds like our spot, but we also want to see Samoa, Tonga, and especially Vanuatu.