4 Nov – Wellington is on the south side of the North Island and is the capitol of New Zealand. Some say it is similar to San Francisco but we didn’t see any resemblance other than that they are both windy and beautiful cities on the water.
The city is known for its stylish shops, cafe culture, restaurants and galleries. In the 1980s and 1990s it transformed itself into a culture driven hot spot. Tucked around one of the world’s most picturesque harbors, the capital is home to the Museum of New Zealand, The Royal Ballet, The NZ Symphony Orchestra, Opera, and the School of Dance.
We checked out the art on the top floors of the free Museum of New Zealand……
however we were in a hurry to find and ride the Kellburn cable car and see the views. The botanical garden is next to the station at the top but very little is in bloom yet.
There is either water or mountains in any direction
NAPIER, 5 Nov – Napier is a fun and scenic little city that we thoroughly enjoyed because it is the Art Deco Capitol of the World. In 1931 an earthquake and fire destroyed most of the buildings and killed many people. During rebuilding, an earthquake-proof building code was enforced and architects adopted the then fashionable Art Deco style.
Napier is also the home of The National Aquarium of New Zealand. It’s in a stingray shaped building on the shore which means that fresh seawater can be pumped directly to its tanks.
This turtle was a little high off the water on some decking and acted like it wanted to dive into the water but never got up the courage while we were there.
One floor has a circular walkway with a tunnel-like aquarium that curves around on both sides and above as we walked along looking at the fish. The left side of the floor is a moving walkway.
Our favorites were the stingrays that swim so fast it is hard to get a picture. But look at that face.
The aquarium also has a kiwi enclosure that is kept very dark since kiwis sleep during the day and look for food at night. It was too dark for a picture. And there is a penguin room with the cutest, little penguins. That was the most popular and crowded exhibit of all.
Now on to the city that we couldn’t get enough of. It is directly on the shore with a long promenade where there is also a complex of salt water heated pools. There is a lot to see in this area and we wouldn’t mind returning.
The Art Deco Centre has everything 1930s to purchase from hats to shoes to rugs to posters, clocks, paper products and so much more. We went there twice but resisted buying anything.
Charleston Chic clothes
It seemed like the whole town was involved in the Art Deco style of things including many cars that were put out on display for the cruise ship passengers. The town has a festival every February with everyone dressing the part.
There were more cars out with their owners in costume next to the ship. This nice fella opened the hood for Steve.
Last but not least, this little bird flew in and sat on our table outside while we took a break.