We woke up bright and early on Saturday to start our day in Wellington. But first, we had some breakfast in the hostel kitchen.
Microwaved eggs on toast (40-sec soft boiled for me, one-minute scrambled for Hannah). There was communal salt we could use to our discretion! Such a nice place.
We also saw this gorgeous wood carving that reminded me of my favorite book, The Secret Life of Bees. The bees in New Zealand are endangered, but we wouldn’t know, considering we spent half our time in Waitomo being chased by them! Isn’t her gaze striking?
We also came upon this interesting sculpture. To walk through it is to symbolize entering a new phase of your life and leaving negativity from the past behind.
The extinct moa bird. It makes the weirdest, low-pitched growl. Doesn’t it look like the bird in Up? We saw skeletons of this bird at the Waitomo Caves Museum. They used to fall into caves, trapped to their death! Poor things.
We watched a movie called “My Place” in which several Kiwis explained their favorite place in New Zealand. This is such an amazing place. So much diversity and so much spirit.
I am really fascinated by extreme weather (Mother Earth is SO powerful!) and there was a really interesting exhibit about earthquakes. This house simulates what a scale-5 earthquake feels like. It’s terrifying! It nearly nocked me over. To think, the quake in Christchurch was at least 50 times stronger. I can’t even imagine.
To make things even more exciting, we went on two rides in the museum! They cost money (the rest of the museum was free!) but it was worth it. One of the rides took you to the bottom of the ocean in a submarine to take a look at some deep-sea life and underwater volcanoes. More people have visited the moon than have been down among those volcanoes! The other ride simulated a bunch of kiwi activities, such as rugby and bungy jumping. It was so fun, I couldn’t stop smiling.
We also saw a really cool exhibit about pounamu, or greenstone, which is only found in the South Island of New Zealand and very sacred to Maori people. Lots of women (and men!) have stunning necklaces made of the jade stuff here. It’s very Earthy and beautiful.
Once we were all museumed-out (we spent almost five hours there but barely saw all of it–and learned so much!!) we made our way to the Beehive, a signature edifice of architecture here in Wellington.
Fuel for our trip to the South Island! We woke even brighter and earlier than we did on Saturday to catch the shuttle to the Interislander Ferry Terminal. The ferry was huge (it felt like the Titanic!) and quite exciting, with big reclining seats.
We also had a great view of the family sitting in front of us with two children (one biological girl about 5, one adopted boy about 7, we guessed) that were having so much fun just playing with each other. It was amazing how much fun and silliness was going on without any toys! I want a family like that some day.
We arrived right on time in Picton, ready to start exploring the South Island.