Architecture, Community

Te Papa, Beach and Wind Walk

Around this time 6 years ago I was walking in Wellington, New Zealand

A light shower greeted me this morning so the day started with an indoor activity hunting down a friend’s family history at the library. To our surprise we found a connection with our own family… is everyone in New Zealand related in some way or another to a resident in the Hawkes Bay area????

Wellington promised to live up to Melbourne’s weather reputation of having four seasons in one day… becuse pretty soon the sun came out, allowing us to have a picnic lunch, after walking along the beach. The children had a great time and I saw the harbour at its best. It really is a huge natural harbour surrounding by breathtaking mountains and forest.

The old part of Wellington has some beautiful houses:many perched on the absolute top of the ridge, and especially around Oriental Bay, one could be forgiven for thinking you were in San Francisco.

After all, New Zealand is on a fault line, like San Francisco, has a cable car like San Francisco, has houses perched on perilously steep cliffs and mountain sides, ending in a beautiful harbour, and lots of wooden architecture from the early 20’s – 30’s like San Francisco, and then of course, there is the earthquake issue.

New Zealand had around 15,000 earthquakes each year, mostly in the North Island, but very few are felt. The town centre of Napier, in Hawkes Bay, was completed flattened by a quake in 1931 and you’ll find footage of this in the Te Papa Museum, central Wellington, which was my next destination on this walk.

An earthquake ‘house’ gives a simulation of what it was like to be in Napier on that fateful day. The terrible rumbling, the premptive the shaking and rattling, and sudden movement underfoot is actually terrifying. Really gives you an idea , of what it is like to live through such an event, without experiencing the danger.

The Maori exhibits are also interesting and one can sit inside a Maori meeting house where they occasionally hold council meetings…. it is quite dark inside and has an atmosphere of solemnity and seriousness.

If you visit this museum, don’t forget to see the Kiwi and, the Giant Squid, both preserved and dead of course. Children are well catered for too, with dress ups, games, activities and play areas that allow for interactive learning.

Travelling further through the main centre of Wellington, we took a ride on the cable car to the small museum at the top of the hill. The museum itself, outlines the history of the Cable car, has some Vintage cars and you can also see the cable mechanism at work.

On our return to the city, we paused at the fully timbered church where my cousin’s parents were married. Truly unique I think in New Zealand’s church architecture. Our walk continued following a short car ride (sorry Jo, I cheated),  to the wind turbines at the Karori Reserve. Some energetic Wellingtonians were actually jogging the whole way up the narrow 5 kilometre road, and this in very windy conditions, one of the reasons I declined the offer to walk the 5 kilometres. Even then, we almost got blown away when we stepped out of the car at the top!

The wind turbine was built with Danish technology. While being able to sustain winds of up to 200km/h, it shuts down when the winds goes over 80km/h.

Wind power is something many cities are now pondering about.

Linking to RestlessJo and her Monday walks


28 thoughts on “Te Papa, Beach and Wind Walk”

  1. Wonderful photos Amanda. I have just come back from Wellington. This time I went to Zealandia to see our native flora and fauna. Just a slight correction though, the earthquake in Napier was in 1931. Glad you enjoyed your stay


    1. Thanks for picking me up on that, Raewyn of course that is right and I knew that….gremlins in the keyboard again?????? I will edit. When I was proof reading I thought that is not right……..


  2. Great post and photos, Amanda, about Wellington 🙂
    You look great in the first photo, was that up near the turbines? It’s good that the wind turbines shut down at 80km/hr, there was a wind farm near Glasgow a couple of years ago, during a storm, it actually basically blew up because the wind was so strong. I had a photo of it on the pc for a while, it would have been frightening for anyone living nearby.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness!! I can just picture that explosion. Fins from a turbine flung out under force could be cataclysmic!! (Bad mental image) Thanks for the comment, Andy. The featured image at the top was atop an old volcano at Havelock North, not far from Napier in the North island. The road up there is quite scary. Only room for one car yet it is two way and no guard rails. Heaven forbid you meet a busload of tourists coming the other way. Now there’s another scary mental image!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think the turbine exploding seems quite a peaceful image compared to your busload of tourists racing down the winding road as your coming up!!! But the photo at the top was worth it, just for the rest of us to see it Amanda 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Thank you Amanda 🙂 That’s an excellent photo on your ‘Threshold’ post, of where the hang gliders leap off from!! When I was younger, I laways fancied the idea of hang gliding, but nowadays, I think I’m just happy watching them! Lol! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            1. LOL!!! I couldn’t do skydiving in a million years Amanda……………I like the idea of hang gliding because you can check everything before jumping, and it’s not so far to fall if all goes pear shaped! I seem to have lost my sense of adventure, that and the fact that I don’t like heights, something my wife laughs at, seeing as I’m 6’4″ tall 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  3. NZ seems to be so far ahead, socially as well as for tourists. Wind turbines are everywhere and during a big storm in South Australia the old power carrying cable stanchions that blew over, yet the government here (anti renewables) blamed the wind turbines that left thousands without power. None of the turbines blew over!
    A good post and I loved the photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Gerard. Yes I heard about the blame on renewables and I wasn’t convinced for a minute. More propaganda from the ‘coal enthusiasts lobby’ and attempts at political point scoring. History will show them to be fools.


  4. Well, you did a good job telling about Wellington. You mentioned everything that I have seen so far. They have renewed the cable car and rail. I think they started using it again end Sept during the school holidays. You know that big squid? I went and saw it as soon as it arrived at Te Papa. It was still in the container that it was brought in and not spread out and exposed as it is today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the update on the renovated Cable car. I guess they timed it to be ready for the school holidays. It really is an iconic symbol of Wellington!
      That big squid… even though it was six years ago, I still remember the smell, it was quite strong, so I can only imagine what it must have been like when it first arrived. Was the smell really strong then?


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