The winds around Napier were a harbinger for the voyage down the coast, then into Cook Strait and finally the approach to windy Wellington Harbour. Mid-way through the show last night, Judi felt the ship moving, which continued throughout the night.
Way back in 1975, as a lowly cadet on my very first trip to sea, windy Wellington was our first port of call, after departing UK. After almost 45 years, this was my first time back at this port and like the others it has experienced massive changes.
Alongside at 09:00, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before wandering ashore for our excellent included tour of Wellington.
Since we were in a commercial port, Viking provided a complimentary shuttle bus from the ship to downtown, where it had 2 stops. The bus ran about every 15 minutes, with last bus being 17:00 from both stops.
- Tour type – Ship’s included excursion
- Tour Name – Wellington Highlights
- Duration – 3 hrs
- Summary – Guided bus tour of the city’s main attractions with a number of stops for photo ops.
All aboard our tour bus, we departed the harbour by 09:30. Our driver/guide was an ex-Brit, who had lived in Wellington for 50 years and he was brilliant. Great sense of humour and never stopped talking for the entire 3 hours, wow!!! he was a fountain of information.
Departing the harbour, we continued on Waterloo Quay, around the sports stadium, then turned right, heading for the Government building district. Parking the bus, we all exited the bus for what was described as a photo stop, but he joined us, providing a lengthy discussion on the NZ parliamentary system and the use of each of the buildings.
The more modern Bowen House is home to the MP’s offices. They also have a tunnel under the road to access the Parliament Building, which also has a moving walkway.
The Beehive houses the Executive Branch of the NZ Government, including the Prime Minister’s Office.
Parliament House is home to the debating chamber. Unlike the UK system, NZ only has a single chamber, with the Queen’s representative the Governor General signing bills into law.
Departing the Parliamentary area, we drove through downtown, then uphill on Glasgow Street, to the next stop at the top of the Wellington Cable Car.
This was another 15 min stop to check out the museum and the scenic lookout.
The Botanical Gardens are huge and like everything else in Wellington, are built of the side of a hill. Our next stop was the Rose Garden, which is at the other end of the gardens, so we re-boarded the bus.
We had 1/2 hour at the Rose Gardens, to enjoy morning tea at the cafe and wander through the rose garden.
Departing the Rose Garden we headed back downtown, then out towards the south shore, passing the ship’s cycling tour, enroute to Mt Victoria peak, which at about 2,000 feet provides great views of the city.
The grassy circle in the above photo is a cricket ground, which is encircled by a roundabout, which must be one of the largest in the world.
After this stop, we re-boarded the bus for the trip back down the hill, though the shopping area and back to the ship.
This was an exceptional tour, with a good balance of driving and stops for walking/photo ops. As usual, the driver/guides makes or breaks a tour and this one was excellent. Chatting with fellow pax on other buses, they also spoke very highly of their guides.
Back at the ship, we jumped on the complimentary shuttle, getting off at the first stop, as Judi wanted to wander through the shops.
Departure Windy Wellington
Wellington certainly lived up to its name, as by departure time (18:00) the wind was blowing directly onto the dock at 25 to 30 kts. As the ship can only work against 20 kts, tug assist was required to get off the berth.
Once they had towed us a safe distance from the pier, we started to push ahead, bringing the ship’s head into the wind.
We had no special meals available today,
For dinner this evening, we arranged for a table of 6 in the section with our favourite waiters – Spike, Andrian and Tayfun. We enjoyed dinner with neighbours Jim & Penny and friends from another deck – Dave and Linda
Most enjoyable dinner, which we finished off with a very pleasant glass of 6-grapes Port.
Tonight was a combination meet and greet and Q/A with the entertainment team.
Each of the vocalists provided a summary of their career, where they trained, how they got into the industry, etc. Each of them sang a single song, with Bevan on the piano. In between each of them, they took 2 questions from the audience.