Often a capital city does not represent the character of a country: the wealth, international communities and crime in London is a world away from rural Wiltshire or the North East; thank God Frenchmen are not all like Parisians, and made to measure capitals such as Brasilia and Canberra are rather sterile (from what I hear, having been to nether). Wellington, however is very much a good representation of NZ; very clean, nicely kept gardens, surrounded by water, and quiet. Very very quiet. Like the rest of NZ it seems to be asleep by about 10pm. By 11pm things are so quiet that you would be forgiven for thinking that some form of human destroying holocaust had taken place, but of a type that left lawns mown, hedges trimmed and roads litter free. It can be rather spooky. Obviously all the stay-out late Kiwis are destroying their livers and flashing their bits in The Church in London, and will return to NZ once it's out of their systems.
We were reasonably cultural in Wellington and visited the museum and Old St Paul's church. The museum is really well done, very interactive and with loads of opportunities to behave like a adolescent. I particularly enjoyed the 'Our Space' video wall which allowed me to put up a two foot high video of me pulling stupid faces and keep it there for all to see. The museum also had 'The Colossal Squid' which should more accurately be named 'The rather big, but not really colossal squid', however at 6m long it could have kept me in calamari for a few days (would the slice of lemon to go with it need to be in proportion to the rings?).
The museum also had a fantastic Monet exhibition, made all the better by the lack of people and we spent a good hour or so getting as close or as distant to the pictures as we wanted to. It has to be said, he was a clever old chap and his paintings are fantastic to see.
Old St Paul's is a beautiful old church made entirely from local wood; churches aren't my thing, but this was stunning and well worth a visit.
One of the highlights of the stay was a night in a motel. After tramping through fields in the middle of the night for a pee for the last two weeks, having everything under one roof was luxury. I drank extra that night so that I needed two pees in order to make the most of it! I also wallowed in a bath for the first and second time in a couple of months, and stayed in until I resembled a prune (can I point out that in the meantime I have been showering!).
We left Wellington on 4th March and on a cloudless but windy day and took the ferry across the beautiful Cook Straits, into the stunning Marlborough Sounds to the port of Picton on the south island, to begin the next leg of the adventure. The drinkers amongst you will know that Marlborough is NZs chief wine region!