10 July 2016

Wellington

It was a cool, but pretty and sunny day, and most importantly for Wellington, it was calm.  Wellington is the Chicago of New Zealand, their windy city.  On an average day, the wind averages 17mph, and it's generally recognized as one of the windiest cities anywhere.  It has a few other superlatives, as it's situated at 41 degrees South, making it the southernmost capital city in the world, and it's the remotest...it's the furthest from here to any other world capital, the closest being Canberra, Australia, which is almost 1,500 miles away.

Wellington is the second largest city in New Zealand, and has quite a cosmopolitan flair, as there are dozens of embassies here.  Because of remoteness, some smaller countries have their Australian embassy cover New Zealand as well, but there's also a large University here, and a population of just about half a million.

The city reminds me a lot of San Francisco, full of Victorian houses, a pretty and active waterfront, museums, outdoor spaces, lots of hills, marinas and just a spectacular seeing. 

I booked a 2 1/2 hour tour by minibus to see the highlights in town, and to also drive around the coast a bit, and up to some viewpoints of the city.  We had quick visits to the Wellington Botanical Garden and at Old St Paul's Cathedral, which was used for a century as the seat of the Anglican church here in New Zealand, made of local hardwoods.  Quite a few buildings here are wooden, as they often hold up better during earthquakes.  The city sits on a number of faults, but hasn't had a devastating earthquake in over 160 years.  The city gets small tremors of magnitude 4 annually, but hopefully there will be a respite during my visit.