Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sunday in the sanctuary

The Wellington funicular railway makes it's way to the Botanic Gardens

Taupo was unfortunately let down by the weather - in summer I'm sure it's a great place to be, but in the incessant heavy rain it wasn't really. I'm not sorry I went, but with hindsight I could have used those couple of days in Kaikoura to wait for the whales - but hey, these things happen. I'm now back in Wellington, my final stop on the trip. Today was Sunday, so we had an easy day and started off with a couple of bacon rolls before heading out for a drive.

We rolled around the harbour road, looking at the views of the cityscape on the other side. Along the winding road were native Wellingtonians going about their Sunday routine - running, surfing, biking, sailing, fishing. Like Australia people here obviously get out when they can and take advantage of their location. We continued to the surfing beach at Lyall Bay and had fish and chips (or 'fush and chups' as the locals say) standing on the seawall watching the planes roar off from Wellington airport. After that we paid a visit to the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary - the world's first urban wildlife refuge. Surrounded by a Jurassic Park-like chain fence (to keep the predators out), it's a 250 hectare conservation area for native plants and birds. There are no cages inside - the birds go where they like and it's up to you to spot them. We saw a few, and had a good walk through the dank, green forest. The highlight for me were the hollow trees which you could open to reveal weta - NZ's largest native insect - a finger-long striped cricket with large jaws and serrated legs - very Jurassic Park...