Christmas Eve in Wellington and Christmas on a Boat

Extinct Moa and Haast's Eagle

Extinct Moa and Haast’s Eagle

Christmas Eve was sunny and warm, so after breakfast in our hotel, we set out to explore Wellington. We spent most of the day at the Museum of New Zealand or Te Papa Tongarewa, or as locals call it, just Te Papa. It’s located on the waterfront and was an easy walk from our hotel. Te Papa is a terrific museum highlighting the natural and cultural history of New Zealand, as well as displaying works from the National Art Collection. There a lot to see and digest, but it’s one of the few free things we’ve found to do in New Zealand so we had to take a look. I feel like it would take a few trips to this museum to really appreciate all it has to offer. One of the exhibits we enjoyed was about Shrek, a sheep that evaded muster (yearly round-up) for six years. When he was finally caught for shearing, he looked like a huge cauliflower on legs. After a day at the museum, we walked back home and Alan napped a bit while I finished reading American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. I’m on a bit of a reading binge and was glad to sit down and finish this book!

Photos from Te Papa:

Oh no, a troll!

Alan fights off a troll

Today is Christmas and we woke to cloudy skies. If anything, the weather is infinitely changeable in New Zealand, maybe more so than Colorado. We had several hours to kill before getting on the InterIslander Ferry to the South Island, but everything is closed up since it’s Christmas. We drove over to see The Weta Cave, the home of the production company that did much of the design and effects on The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. Although they were closed, we enjoyed posing in their garden. We also walked around Alexandra Park a bit and found a filming site for The Lord of the Rings.

He's got her

Ouch! Let go of that Hobbit!

I think this is where the hobbits hid from a black rider

I think this is where the hobbits hid from a black rider

 

At 1:45 we drove to the Interislander Ferry terminal to board the ferry for our trip to the South Island. Once the car was stowed in the hold, we spent most of the three hour crossing of the Cook Strait reading and people watching. Once we crossed the strait and entered Queen Charlotte Sound the scenery got interesting as we approached the port of Picton. It didn’t take too long to drive off the ferry and make our way to Blenheim, where we spent the night at the Cherylea Motel for our Christmas evening.

Photos from the ferry ride:

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