Monday, February 20, 2012

Onward to Wellington

We fly Air New Zealand from Queenstown to Wellington, with a very short layover in Christchurch. Just one year ago, on February 22, a terrible earthquake, measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale, killed 185 people, and leveled huge portions of the city. Local newspapers are filled with remembrances of lives lost, families, homes, and city buildings destroyed, and the ongoing efforts to recover.

We arrive in Wellington about 3:30 pm and grab a cab into city center, which sits right on the busy harbor. It’s also packed with young people and is very loud, thanks to a raucous music festival that’s being held in the city this weekend. 

The waterfront in Wellington, New Zealand.

We enter The Museum Hotel on Cable Street, but quickly realize there’s been a scheduling snafu, and we don’t have a room for the night! And because it’s the height of tourist season and the city is packed with music festival folks, the receptionist tells us finding any hotel room for the night is going to be tough. 

She speaks the truth. We fire up our laptop and iPhone and spend over an hour searching for a place to stay, but are finding that everything is sold out. We expand our search further and further outside the Wellington city limits, but it seems all of the island is booked. Finally, through some fancy phone work, Peter finds a couple of rooms at the Mercure, an economy hotel about a ten minute cab ride from the waterfront.

After checking in, we grab another cab back to the waterfont and take a quick walk through the music festival site. Yup -- it’s loud, I get it -- so we walk deeper into the city and hit the Kiwi Pub for a few pitchers of beer. We then visit a nearby Malaysian restaurant for dinner – spicy but delicious – and then a gelato shop (medicinal purposes only – it helps cool the burn from our meal) and call it a night.


  1. You seem to have taken that snafu is good stride. I would have just stayed out all night with the other revelers. Or not, maybe I would have ended up at the Mercure too.

  2. wow great i have read many articles about this topic and everytime i learn something new i dont think it will ever stop always new info , Thanks for all of your hard work!

  3. Since you're in Wellington, I thought that I would forward the link for a NYT article about some mummified Maori heads that the French government recently returned to New Zealand's national museum in Wellington.

    ARTSBEAT; Mummified Maori Heads Returned to New Zealand

  4. Joseph - the other revelers were all about half our age and by the look of things, were already halfway (or most way) in the bag by 3:30 in the afternoon. It was good to get a room without traveling halfway across the north island to get some sleep!

    Mary Kay - thanks for the link -- we will take a closer look. We did tour the museum on Sunday, but did not see that particular exhibit. The museum is beautiful, was right across the street from the hotel where we stayed our second night, and admission is free! I think one could spend a couple of good solid days walking around and taking it all in.

  5. Mary Kay: just read that NYT article - what a story. Glad the decision was made to return those to the native land. Thanks for sending along.

    - Mike



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