The buzzing capital.
13.03.2010 - 14.03.2010 18 °C
Woke up to better weather than yesterday and after a late continental breakfast I walked down to the parliament buildings (the main one is called the beehive because of its architectural shape resembling a beehive) and was just in time for a free tour round them. Although parliament was not in session the tour was informative showing how similar the N Zealand system is to that in the UK; the main difference seemed to be their lack of the House of Representatives (like the UK’s House of Lords) which they abolished in 1951. It was interesting how they made the building earthquake-proof; it took a lot of expensive reconstruction but was necessary as they are so close to a major fault line. The reconstruction means that the whole of the foundations are now pliable when an earthquake occurs; each of the exterior and interior walls has been reinforced to strengthen them. I walked down to the harbour and along the waterfront, noticing the headlines on some of the newspapers in the early morning stands “Tornado Wreaks Havoc”. I did hear someone say that the storm had been that strong; on reading further I learned that the wind had increased to 130 km p/h, the temperature dropped 10 degrees in less than 15 minutes and many buildings had suffered damage. I hadn’t realized the storm had been that strong. I walked to the end of the bay and started to climb Mt Victoria with the aim of reaching the lookout point at the top. It was quite a steep climb - over 200 metres above sea level but I had planned to take the bus back down by the main road. When I reached the top it was well worth it as there were spectacular views in all directions. When I checked the bus timetable for my return trip down it showed that the weekend services were suspended. On the way back to the hotel through the city I noticed the popularity of people riding on skate boards – all ages. Many seem to just do it for the thrill, while others seem to use it as their normal mode of travel. I saw some people drive to the waterfront, park their cars, take their skateboards from the boots and skate away. Though tired after all the walking (about 8km) I had a brief glance at the front of the Botanic Gardens – colourful displays of varieties of begonias and impatiens. After a short nap and freshen up I went down the city to an Irish bar for a few drinks. I was chatting to a young mechanic from out of city who was with is girlfriend and a group of friends. The bartenders requested IDs of any looking under 25 whilst the majority of them paying for drinks did so by credit card – little cash was passed across the counter. As I found it difficult to converse over the noise of the live band, I moved on to a second Irish bar – even more crowded than the first and a real party atmosphere in it. I thought that drinks were expensive in the first bar but they were even more expensive here. Courtney Place is well renowned in Wellington for an area where the nightlife is buzzing and it certainly lived up to its reputation.