Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tuesday in Wellington: Cable Car, Botanic Gardens, Observatory and a Movie

I had breakfast at the hotel buffet (mediocre; no match for Fidel's) and then got a bus to the base of the cable car at Lambton Quay. The cable car was originally built in the very early 1900s to add incentive for people to buy property up the hill from the city centre that would otherwise have been harder to get to. It worked! It's a wonderful ride up the hill in a charming vehicle, watching the view of the harbour unfold as you go up. At the top is a small museum that gives the history of the cable car, with a restored old car, and a view of the winding station underneath the tracks.

Inside the cable car

View of Wellington from the top

The cable car on its way down

The Botanic gardens are right beside the cable car; from the map it looks like they are at the top of the big hill, but in fact they are along the hillside, with many winding paths weaving through the gardens and up and down the hill.

Sculpture in the Botanic Gardens

I wandered through the gardens to the cafe at the bottom and had lunch there, then found my way back up to the Carter Observatory in time for the 12:30 show. There was a decent film, and then the operator switched to the digital interactive start map. Her next show wasn't until 3pm, so she did more than the usual amount of exploring planets, stars and galaxies visible in the southern sky, showing both the usual and Maori constellations, which was interesting. It was a really good show. Afterwards I browsed the exhibits, and then took the cable car back downtown. Retreated to my hotel for a siesta, relaxing and reading for a couple hours.

I walked up to the Reading Cinema and saw Before I Go To Sleep, starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth. The reviews had been mixed, but I had enjoyed the book, and I wound up enjoying it a lot. I even partly forgot the big surprise twist, which helped too. After the movie I found a good pub a block away with an amazing beer selection, and had dinner and a couple good beers there. Wound up chatting with the guy at the next table, and got a bit more insight into Kiwi politics. Back to the hotel and to bed around 11.

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