Day 8 (September 15, 2012)   Wellington


Route for New Zealand's 5th day
   We will drive to Wellington, the country's capital, from the point we end the previous day. In our way we can stop in some locations from the "Lord of the rings" filming. The ones in the way are:

 - Kaitoke Park: Rivendell
 - Fernside Lodge, in Featherston: Lothlorien
 - Dry Creek Quarry where Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith were built.
 - Town Belt (within the city, a park in the South): where hobbits were hidden from the Black Rider.

   The main visit in the city will be to Te Papa museum.

   It is a 2 hours route to cover 150 Km.

   No expenses as there is free admission for all visits for this day.


   When we wake up, the owners of the Holyday Park are already here to welcome us to their place nicely. We’re charged only 40$ in total – we’ve been paying 160$ for the same - and they’ve brought some fresh eggs taken from their farm this morning for our breakfast. We all agree on this is the best park we’ve been so far. Also, it is the first with all the pottery andEketahuna Motor Camp cutlery needed for cooking and eating.

   Soon we’re ready to leave. As yesterday we finally did our homework, we have all the time today for all the places we want to visit in Wellington. Somehow, when I’m in front of the exit I receive the notice our last motorhome cannot go out from the grass. In a closer look, back wheels are stuck in all the mud just under the grass and just manage to slip. The left side has opened a deep pit. We take branches and try to fill the pits setting them under the wheels, but we’re just more deeply stuck every time.

   It seems to be for long and when the owner comes he gets some things out to put under the wheels and try, but it is being as futile as our previous attempts. Until an old man appears, he has got a quite old 4WD which seems to know what to do: he asks us for setting gear 1 and, over all, don’t touching the accelerator. Then he uses a rope with a hook to attach the motorhome to his car and gets out the vehicle with amazing ease. He is our hero and receives the gratitude from each of us.

Trying to get motorhome out of the mudFree again

   But the time lost is a burden for today’s plans. Anyway, we follow our itinerary, which includes a road sculpted in the well-forested mountains. Views are spectacular.

Motorway 2 by Tararua Forest

   After one hour we reach Kaitoke Regional Park and we can leave the motorhomes in the car park in the beginning of two walks: the one to Rivendell – location of Elven city in “The Lord of the rings” - and the short track through the rain forest.

Getting into Kaitoke Regional ParkKaitoke Regional Park

   We take this last one and immediately find the swing bridge over the river. After it, rainforest is spectacular, full of ferns and trees covered with other plants. It is looking dense at both sides of the path. It was marked as a 30 minutes loop walk, but we’ve been less than that, even with all the pictures. Then we go to Rivendell, which is kind of disappointing as we can find a sign clearly pointing to the place, but the place is just a part of forest, quite less beautiful than the one in the previous track.

Swing bridge in Kaitoke Regional ParkSwing bridge in Kaitoke Regional Park

Kaitoke Regional ParkKaitoke Regional Park

   We take the motorhomes back to the way to Wellington. This city is the capital of New Zealand, although it is not the bigger of the country, as that is Auckland. Once we reach it we get our fuel tanks full because I know it is more expensive in the Southern Island. In our way, we couldn’t see the Quarry we have in the list of locations. Our idea was, anyway, taking a look from the road, with no stop. Anything from the set is no longer there.

   Once in the city, and without missing the road along the port, we take a place in the Wellington Waterfront Motorhome Park which is, as its name says, in front of the sea, and also, it is located just beside of Bluebridge ferry terminal, where tomorrow we must be early. Somehow, there is nobody in the small office and the machine is failing every time it tries to take the money from our card. Our motorhomes are already parked and plugged, the only we need is to get the code for using toilets and showers. There are two telephone numbers to contact in case of problems but we have no credit on our cell phone, so we go out to the city with the mission of lunching, putting some credit to the phone and visiting some points as scheduled.

Te Papa Museum from QuayTraffic lights in Wellington

   We eat pizzas just across the street and there we’re indicated where to go to buy some credit for a cell phone: it cannot be done in a bank and there is no mobile stores for doing that, the place to do that is that kind of shop selling diverse things, like ice creams (??). And there is one at the behind this same block.

   Now we can call to the two phone numbers in the Motorhome Park, but nobody answers in any of them. We will try later. At this moment, we’re going to Te Papa, the most important museum in the country, which is free and is located at walking distance following the quay.

   The visit is shorter than I expected because the museum is smaller than I expected. It is enjoyable too: we can see the giant squid captured in New Zealan in the floor dedicated to nature and some archaeological Maori things and temples in the 4th floor, dedicated to native culture.

Dinosaurs in Te Papa MuseumGiant squid in Te Papa Museum

Maori stage in Te Papa MuseumMaori temple in Te Papa Museum

   When we’re leaving the Museum there is still daylight and we start to walk to Town Belt. It seems there are two Town Belts in this city, but the one we would like to visit is close to the museum. We arrive near the beginning of the mountain, but the sun is leaving and the steeped and long climb is going to be worthless if we reach it at dark, so we abort this last mission and blame this morning’s mud for avoiding letting us do this visit. We find in Wellington at dusk with the rest of the day for ourselves and keep walking exploring the city. At least, the citizens know exactly what to do now: there is a rugby match between the All Blacks and South African national team to start. And it seems I know where they’re going to play, as I can see from my position the lights on in the stadium. All bars and pubs have big screens in display with the match and we just take a table in one of them. We’re developing the theory this match, which we could already see is collapsing the city, has something to do with the fact of not reaching anybody at phone or office in our Motorhome Park.

Waterloo Quay in WellingtonStreet in Wellington

   The pub where we are is big and seems to be Indian. The match is about to start and we are watching in time to see the Haka performed by the New Zealand national team recalling our lesson the day before yesterday.

Wellington's pubBeer in Wellington

   We take some beers around the fire in the middle of the table and come back to our motorhomes at night. Tomorrow we must be at 7 AM in ferry terminal, although it is just besides us.
 Monument to All Blacks in WellingtonCivic Square in Wellington