A bit of Wellington & Queenstown 

Is Wellintong really the coolest little capital? I’m iffy about that but I can attest to it being Windy Welly. I underestimated how annoying the wind can impact my desire to explore the city. This was partly due to it raining on my first day and what I most wanted to see in Wellington was Mount Victoria and the waterfront. I had a quick lesson from the tour desk at the parliament building about the wind. Wellington is on the only major gap between the mountains which means wind funnels through fast and strong. The only advantage of all this wind is it reduces the pollution.

Civic Square. There are usually loads of people hanging out here. I took this photo at 8am on a Saturday.

Does anyone else get excited about visiting a local parliament or is that just me? I signed up for the hour long tour which also gave me access to the parliament library. Libraries are one of my favourite buildings to visit while travelling. They didn’t let us take any photos but it was beautiful. There are few countries that allow tourists so much access to their parliament buildings. Take advantage and see them! One of the most interesting facts I learned was New Zealand was the first country to allow women to vote – in 1893!

Another fun part of the city is its public spaces. City planning has clearly made the effort to create outdoor public spaces. When I was lucky enough to have nice weather here, locals were suddenly everywhere. The waterfront and the civic square are two great examples of beautiful outdoor spaces. People were playing sports, reading, dining, and strolling about.

Public spaces made to create a sense of community 

City Gallery is a small free art gallery in civic square. Despite its size it has a few interesting local exhibits to take in. There’s even a reading  room with all the art books related to the exhibits. I aporeciate when gakleries provide access to books because art books are unaffordable for the average person. Who can afford a $30 book?

Botanical Gardens

Now onto Queenstown. favourite place in New Zealand is easily Queenstown. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did but I’m so glad I booked 5 days here. Maybe it’s because I’ve never lived near mountains before or actually spent much time near mountain ranges like this. The closest was in Salzburg for a few days. Our proximity to mountains  may change the way we perceive the beauty of Queenstown. A few travellers I’ve met from Austria, Germany, and some from Canada who lives near the Rockies haven’t been as impressed with Queenstown as I have. They’ve admitted it’s a lovely place but haven’t been as taken with it as I have.

Whats is there so do in Queenstown? Everything. This is the place to spend time outside  I was lucky enough to have nice weather for spring, about 15 degrees each day. I mostly went on hikes and walks around the area. There are heaps of beautiful drives to do in the area. The public transport system is good enough but as with anything in New Zealand it’s expensive.

My favourite/the worst hike I did was the Ben Lomond trek. It’s a 6-8 hour challenging hike. Trampers are rewarded with 360° views of the mountain ranges around the city.  You get to see a perfect view The Remarkables range. I was one of the first to set out for the hike, from what I could tell.  There were 2 people on their way down and 2 people at the top by the time I got there. It’s such an incredible view, I spent an hour sitting up there to take it all in. Going was down was tough for me. I hate going down a mountain. Maybe I’m old but my joints can’t handle it. It was fun to be on of the first down  the mountains  because I ran into about 20 people on their way up. Most of them stopped to ask how far the summit was and if the view was worth it. I got to provide encouragement for everyone else heading up – which I never get to because I am usually the last.

View from the summit of Ben Lomond

Even if you aren’t interested in all the adventure or adrenaline activities there is to do,  it’s such a lovely town to sit by lake Wakatipu to read a book. Which is basically what I did one afternoon as I was eager to finish my book, with tea of course.
A fair amount of travellers I’ve met are here on work visas, first travelling the country then deciding where to settle to work. As much as I enjoy staying here, I’m weary of living in such a touristy place. I found it hard to meet anyone who was actually from Queenstown. Any New Zealanders I met were from other areas of the country and moved here to work in the tourism industry. Whatever the reasons for visiting this place, it’ll be amazing!

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