Friday, January 2, 2009

Wellington Trip, Part 6 - Botanical Gardens and the Weta Cave

I was pretty exhausted after my hike along the Southern Walkway and so that night I opted to spend relaxing at the hostel. I didn't particularly like the hostel much - earlier in the week it had been full of school kids and so there weren't that many people in my age bracket around. That Thursday night however, I ended up drinking bourbon and cola with some of the hostel staff (mostly backpackers short of money), because it was someone's birthday. He was turning 38, and trying to chat me up... Needless to say I eventually had to escape back to my dorm room.

On Friday morning I travelled up the Cable Car to the Botanical Gardens. The Cable Car has been running since 1902 to give access to a new suburb for all the new people coming to live in Wellington. Otherwise it would have been a steep walk uphill through scrub land. Now the area is, of course, completely different.

Above is the iconic red tram slogging its way up the hill. There are two trams that run up and down the track every 1o minutes.

I spent all morning wandering around the Botanical Gardens. I wanted to visit the Carter Observatory but it was closed for renovations. I did however discover the human sundial close by, which was surprisingly accurate. Below are a few photos of various parts of the Gardens.

I really liked the Peace Garden, with a lovely little waterfall and some welcome shade (it was getting bloody hot by this point!)

The Lady Norwood Rose Garden was in full bloom, full of roses and people admiring them. I took the opportunity to snap a few photos of the pretty flowers.

The Botanical Gardens were nice, but to be honest I was feeling pretty hot and tired (and achy from my long walk) to fully enjoy them. I did like some of the funky statues scattered around the place though.

During the afternoon I decided to go to the Weta Cave out at Miramar. No, this wasn't a cave full of insects but rather the face of Weta Productions, the company who did the special effects in Lord of the Rings. It was a pretty long bus ride out there but it was worth it. The Weta Cave had a little one room museum with pieces from various movies they had worked on, as well as a shop containing pretty expensive but well-crafted merchandise. The selling point for me though, was the brilliant movie in their little cinema. I used to think that Weta was the company that did computer graphics, but I learnt that they had many other faces - including creating weapons, armour, prosthetics, creatures, miniatures, costumes and props.

Having travelled all the way out to Miramar I realised I didn't have any cash to catch the bus back... which meant I had to walk a few kilometres back along the bus route until I found a cash point. Finally making it back to the hostel, I met up with my friend Rebecca, who I was going to spend the weekend with. We spent the evening watching movies on the sofa and catching up. Yey for girlie time!

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