Monday, May 08, 2017

Squires Down Under - New Zealand Day 1

Day 8 - Wellington to Rotorua, New Zealand - November 19, 2016

We arrived in Wellington New Zealand around midnight and made our way to our downtown hotel.

This hotel came with a breakfast buffet, which is always a plus.

This poor girl got a bit burned under her eyes at the beach yesterday.

We walked down into the city and found the old Wellington Cable Car.  It originally opened in the early 1900s (and is technically a funicular railway).  It's fairly short, but it beats climbing the hills that the city is set against.

There is a small Cable Car Museum at the top of the hill.  The original cable cars had seats on the outside that were sloped to match the incline.

The lovely view of Wellington.  Our next stop was to the top of the hill directly across from us.

Our next stop was the Mount Victoria Lookout.

We're looking back down at downtown Wellington.  The cable car is down there somewhere.

Wellington was a really pretty city.  Most of the costumes for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films were created here by Weta Workshop.

This is the view from the other side of the lookout.  The airport is over this way. The main road from the airport to downtown goes through a tunnel rather than climb up and over this ridge.

Our next stop was to the Museum of New Zealand.  It was right down on the waterfront in Wellington.

Alison was enthralled with the big baby.

There was a big 7.8 magnitude earthquake a few days before we arrived in Wellington.  The epicenter was a little ways south of Wellington on the south island, but there was minor damage throughout Wellington.  A small portion of the museum was still closed for impact, but that was the only real impact to us from the earthquake.

It sounds like the effects and aftershocks of the earthquake are still ongoing:

Some outdoor gardens at the museum.

After the museum we grabbed some food from the cafe and hit the road.  We had a long drive ahead of us and we were getting on the road later than I had wanted.

We just couldn't believe the green dense growth.

This part of the island felt a lot like the Pacific Northwest.

Our next stop was Rivendell, or at least where the Rivendell scenes were filmed.

We crossed the suspension bridge in the pictures above, then took a short loop walk through the forest.

I love this picture.  So beautiful!

Lyla was the only elf that I found.

Once we left Rivendell we had a long drive to Rotorua in the north of the island.  We took a shortcut that was the narrowest, windiest road I have ever driven on.  But, it was beautiful.  There were lots and lots of signs about no vehicles over 20' long and to disregard your GPS and turn around if your in a larger vehicle.

We made it, but all of us (including me, and I never get car sick) were nauseous. We had to stop to get some fresh air.

Late night flights, long drives = sleepy girls.

This mountain is Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park.  Just on the other side of this mountain is Mordor. One does not simply walk in to Mordor, so we had to skip it.

We stopped and grabbed some pizza just before a little shop was closing, then continued on our drive.

Tomorrow: Church and luge racing!

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