June 12, 2008

Windy Wellington – Part 1

Wellington is a beautiful city, nestled between a stunning harbour and rolling green hills and bordered by beaches and bays. Houses are built into the hills following the natural landscape, instead of levelling off the hills and cutting down trees to accommodate the houses – truly blending in and respecting Mother Nature. An interesting feature is the use of a small trolley car on tracks running along the hill slopes to transport goods and even occupants of houses located up the hills.

The trolley car, complete with a shed by the side

Wellington's downtown area is 2km in diameter, and takes just 20 minutes to walk across so all of Wellington major sights are easily accessible. One of Wellington’s prime attractions, the cable car is one of the few remaining of its type in the world. It runs from the commercial heart of Lambton Quay and emerges in Kelburn, a suburban residential area. The ride continues past Kelburn Park and Victoria University up to the city's beautiful Botanic Garden for breathtaking views of the city and harbour. Fondly described as ‘relentless red rattlers’, Wellington’s cable cars have transported people between the harbour and the hills for more than 100 years and are an iconic image for the capital.

Just outside the cable car station at the top of the hill is the Wellington Cable Car Museum. It is located in the historic winding house used for the original cable car system, which operated from 1902 to 1978, before making way for an entirely new Swiss designed system, the system running today. The museum tells the story of New Zealand’s cable car system and is home to a nationally significant transport collection including two of the three original grip cars which have been painstakingly conserved and restored to its 1905 appearance. The winding room on its lower level contains the machinery once used to haul the cable cars up the incline.

(Top) The exterior of the cable car museum, the engine room; (Bottom) The two restored cable cars

A walk through the tranquil 25-hectare Botanic Gardens was wonderful, with unique landscape, exotic forests and colourful floral displays. The trail is well sign posted along the way indicating the distance to the next point of interest, and the tarred trail marked with a logo for easy identification. The award-winning Lady Norwood Rose Garden has 106 formal beds each containing a different cultivar, though I didn’t find the rose bushes visually appealing. Next to the rose garden by the waterfall is the Peace Flame Garden, containing the preserved fires from the atomic holocaust at Hiroshima. Other gardens include the Succulent Garden with various cacti and Threatened Species Garden with native plants that are no longer common in the wild due to forest clearance associated with land development.

The beautiful greenery of the Botanic Gardens

One of the many sign posts and the trail marker

The award-winning Rose Garden (nothing spectacular, right?) and the Peace Flame Garden

The Succulent Garden with various cacti


jazzmint said...

wow...the view is perfect ;)

Chinneeq said...

that is such a beautiful place to live in!!

A Mom's Diary said...

Jazz & Chinnee, indeed Wellington, and most towns in NZ, are very nice. Very relaxing.