So I checked out of the YHA in Wellington today and dragged my bags to the Te Papa museum. The Te Papa Museum is the most famous museum in New Zealand and is basically heaven for kids and adults who like to act like kids or who are interested in history and geography. I consider myself to be halfway between the first two. It is free so I dumped my bag at the storage section and wandered up to the first exhibit which was called Awesome Forces and was about the forces of nature that influence New Zealand. There were huge fiery red and orange areas with volcano videos and molten lava spewing everywhere above the heads of the visitors and earthquake areas where you could wander through houses that shook as if a real earthquake was hitting with all the crashing furniture noises and everything. There was a fault-line area with the fault-lines all mapped out and huge screen images of how the crashing of the plates created New Zealand although besides this screening there was a Maori style room with the Maori version of how New Zealand came into existence which, to be honest, was by far the cooler and more interesting version (a God fished New Zealand from the ocean using a rib covered in blood from his father's nose as bait). In another part of the museum there was a Wildlife area with life size whales and brown bears and monkeys and pandas and other scary creatures that for sure no longer exist in New Zealand but maybe, hundreds of millions of years ago, creatures as cool as this (that freely roam America and other continents but that's besides the point..) were in New Zealand. There was a dark blue room with a 3D screening (you had to grab the hideous glasses of course) of the life of a giant squid that had super huge football like eyes and whose tentacles shot out into your face every now and then. There was a Life in the Bush exhibit that had a real bush built outside with some real caves and "spot the stalagtites, stalagmites, columns, etc!" activities and had water dripping from the ceiling down the back of your neck to thrillingly scare kids s***less and to greatly annoy adults (especially the ones who had been traipsing round the museum for hours already..). There was a HUGE New Zealand satellite photo on a screen on the floor that you could walk on and when you stepped on certain areas various screens came on with pictures and information about the area. There was a huge long screen where you could grab a magic wand (literally) and move images around on The Wall and you could take pictures of yourself and have them projected onto the wall, you could put videos and stamps and messages up onto it and delete ones others had put there to their obvious annoyance (making them start a delete-as-many-of-the-other-person's-pictures-as-possible war). There was a big Maori exhibit with houses and clothing and carvings and other stuff and a big meeting hall where shows were held in Maori costumes. There was haka-dancing and other weird rituals going on. There were canoes with kids clambering over them and a model of a traditional sailing boat that the Maori would have used to find New Zealand with (this was really neat) in an adjoining room with a glass wall so you could see the boat, a hologram of some settlers describing what life on such a boat would have been like: the hologram people moving about the boat, going into the cabin and stuff, really well done as the boat was really just a model. There was an exhibition on when the Europeans came to New Zealand with all the treaties made and an English plane hovering above the visitors and old fashioned cars and stuff. Really cool stuff. And there was a floor about hunting and extinct animals of New Zealand and a big container that you could walk through and try to find all the "highly dangerous" creatures inside it like maggots (ooooeeeehhh!!!) and moths (SCARY!!) and termites (HELP!). The exhibit made them sound highly threatening to the country and its people though I wonder whether the maker has ever been to NZ's big next-door neighbour Oz. I think he might find some slightly creepier animals there. Like deadly ones for example. Anyway, on the top floor there was a contemporary art section but I think they might need to hang up some of dad's stuff because it was all a bit tacky to be honest.
My time in the museum flew by and long before I wanted to leave I had to head off to the ferry terminal. I dragged my backpack all the way there (30mins walk), yet again cursing myself for walking at midday (why I keep walking at midday, I have no clue). I got to the terminal and thankfully threw my backpack onto a chair, took off my little backpack, grabbed my reference number and wandered up to the check-in desk where a guy who looked exactly (as in EXACTLY. It was almost creepy how close the resemblance was) like a guy called Wesley from UCU sat there grinning at me with a cheeky look in his eyes. I gave him my name and he filled it in and was still grinning so I blinked confusedly at him and he laughed and said that he didn't want to ask as I had so happily thrown down my big backpack but I needed to drag it over to the desk to check it in. I rolled my eyes and threw him a grimace and while he cracked up and filled in my reference number I went and fetched my bag. On the ferry I was sitting by the window with a Kiwi guy, a French guy and a Dutch woman who I immediately knew was Dutch due to the strong Dutch accent she had. She sounded very surprised when I asked whether she was Dutch although I think any Dutch or even simply European person would recognise that accent. Unfortunately for me the clouds had rolled in and there was not much to see of the beautiful trip out to the Cook Straight and across to the Sound by the South Island. The Sound really was stunning though, even though it was cloudy, the vast rocky formations and turquoise water and the birds really made an impression and I found myself captivated by the passing coastline. When I got off the boat in Picton I was almost blown over by a freezing wind that penetrated all clothing layers I put on. They had told me it would be 10 degrees warmer on the south island than on the north island but I can assure you it was the other way around. I was wearing 2 jumpers and warm jeans and socks but I was still cold and the wind was killing the skin on my face. The hostel was a lovely place, it was called Atlantis and was literally like the lost city of Atlantis. There were paintings of fish and mermaids and mermen with tridents and Nemo and Spongebob and other underwater creatures like Sebastian the lobster and others all over the walls. The dorm had 28 beds (!!!) but was nice because all the beds had different coloured curtains that you could pull around them.
Now, when I was a child I used to fight Anièla tooth and nail to get the top bunk if ever we stayed in a hotel with a bunkbed. I would do anything to get a top bunk. Now, I hate top bunks. I hate them with a passion. They are such a hassle. Climbing into them makes the bed shake and creak waking up the person below. The steps are awkward and either too far apart or close together or too narrow which hurts travellers' battered feet from walking all day. If you forget something you have to climb all the way down and back up to get it. If you leave your phone next to you or a torch or whatever you can roll over and knock it off the bed breaking it or making it a long way down to switch the stupid alarm off in the morning. Plugholes are usually near the ground meaning charging cords don't reach up to the top bunk. Ugh. Hate them.
But in Atlantis I picked a top bunk. Not only was it cool because I had my own little curtained off space with about half a metre high wooden panelling on 3 sides and a curtain on the fourth so I dumped all my stuff up on the bed (which was bigger than usual too), closed the curtain and that was safe enough, the beds were also made of strong solid wood which meant that climbing up made no sound and didn't move the bed. Lovely. I had a nice chat with Martin, a German guy in the bed next to mine and we hung out for the rest of the evening with 2 boys from Texel (who had stayed with skydiving instructor Hans for a week, coincidence, coincidence!), a Belgian girl who I had seen in Taupo, a Canadian guy and another German girl although the last two seemed pretty interested in each other and held many of their own conversations not involving the group much. We chatted for hours and then went off to our supercool dorm where I am almost asleep. Well, I'm currently listening to the chorus of a guy snoring extremely heavily a few beds away and another guy talking to himself in his sleep. Zzzz.