The other day, we rose early to take the famous Wellington Cable Car up the mountainous side of the city. I discovered on our journey up that there is a university halfway up the mountain (how cool would it be to go there?!) as well as many small houses with far from small views.
The top of the mountain is also home to Zealandia, a wildlife sanctuary. In order to protect endangered wildlife from predators, the sanctuary is lined on all sides by a massive fence. The builders have taken into account the jumping heights of all possible predators in order to effectively keep them out. Walking through Zealandia was an almost surreal experience. Our guide warned us to keep quiet, as our voices could scare off the birds. New Zealand does not have many native animals, but makes up for this with their bird population. Here are a few of the birds I saw while walking through the sanctuary.
And some beautiful scenery.
After finishing our hike through Zealandia, my day of experiencing the beauty of this country was far from over. Also at the top of the mountain and running down it back into the city is the Wellington Botanical Gardens, home to native plants from both New Zealand and Australia, as well as many familiar plants and flowers. My favorite gardens were the hydrangeas and the roses. I had never seen hydrangeas in so many varieties of color and shape before and the rose garden reminded me of the one at the Bronx Botanical Gardens in New York. I’m glad that, in some way, I didn’t miss seeing the roses this year.
I never imagined a year ago that this is where I would be spending the new year. Happy New Year to everyone! Be safe and be happy!