We recently visited Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, on the southern tip of the North Island. From the waterfront promenade we could see the craggy shorelines, dotted with houses and sailing boats.
Just as we arrived, we heard Wellington was expecting the tail end of a cyclone that had devastated the Pacific Island of Tonga.
However, all was calm, and we had a few plans..
One of the attractions of the city is catching the little red cable car that clatters up the steep slope to the top of the Botanic Gardens…you can then wander down through the gardens, all the way down to the Harbour….
Paul took this photo on the way up the hill (in my view, a mountain). The weather, we had to admit, wasn’t looking great.
We began our Botanic garden walk in the tracks of the original forest..
As I mentioned in my last post, many parts of New Zealand were used for the filming sites for the Lord of the Rings trilogy….
and quite often we felt we were entering Middle Earth territory….
This map shows New Zealand, Australia, India, Africa, South America, and Antarctica once formed a land mass called Gondwana.
Gondwana broke up about 167 million years ago and trees from the Araucaria family were spread all over these countries and continents.
Today trees, including the South American monkey puzzle, the Australian Moreton Bay fig and the Norfolk pine, are found across the southern hemisphere. Many of these trees were found in the Botanic gardens.
Wellington’s Botanic garden was established in 1868, and has native and exotic trees, succulent gardens, seasonal displays of bulbs and annuals……something for everyone! (and all growing on the side of the mountain.)
I felt as if I was in South Africa, in particular Cape Town, walking around the succulent gardens..
The Aloes plants are welcome source of food in winter for insects and native birds such as Tui, they love the nectar.
My favourite flower, seen frequently in NZ, seems to grow wild in some places…
The succulent below looks a bit space age to me…
There were bee hives tucked away in all the garden beds..
Paul took a photo from our path across to Druid Hill where we could see a large copper sculpture called Listening and Viewing Device: Andrew Drummond 1994. When the structure was first built, the original plan was to lift the two pieces into place by a helicopter, but the weight was more than estimated, (over a tonne) and another more heavy duty helicopter sent from New Plymouth had to finish the job!
..back into Middle Earth again with these wonderful tree ferns…
this path led on to curved shady borders of Agapanthus, Hydrangeas, Rhododendrons, Irises…sadly the flowers are mostly spent now that summer is nearly over..
Along with the spring bulbs this must be a wonderful spring/early summer garden to visit.
After that long and interesting walk through the gardens we felt we had earned an evening meal at the Waterfront.
Wellington is not only the capital of New Zealand, but is also a University town, so we were spoilt for choice when it came to choosing a place to eat.
Charlie Noble (Eatery and Bar) looked great…… local ingredients, wood-fired grills, and rotisserie, natural wine and craft beer…
I tried the House Pot fish pie, and no, I didn’t see the word large anywhere on the menu! ….actually the pastry gently deflated into the wonderful fish dish.
New Zealand wine and local craft beers…….. how could we resist!
Fortunately we did enjoy our meal on the Waterfront, because the next morning, looking out of the window of our hotel room, onto the Botanic Gardens….the rain and wind from the cyclone had hit Wellington. We were hotel bound for a short while.
Perhaps because I live in the driest continent on earth, my first thought, when I looked out of the window was….”well at least the Botanic Garden is getting some rain”
Copyright Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved.
27 Replies to “Wellington: Botanic Gardens, fish pie, and a cyclone…”
It has given me such pleasure to read this post bringing back so many happy memories of a country I love. My brother had a house in Wellington for some years having married a New Zealander so i know it well. Very glad that you had such an enjoyable time there and thanks for all those excellent photographs.
Thanks Susan, I will do a more general post on Wellington next, (with some sunshine) so hopefully you can see more of Wellington itself. In the beginning of our trip we were hampered by the weather. I’m glad it brought back happy memories.
What a display of interesting trees and gorgeous flowers. And, yes, when you need rain, you have to embrace an umbrella or a day inside. Glad you got some and that you had such a wonderful tour of this garden. 🙂
So true Judy, an umbrella is needed in NZ..
The Botantic Gardens look amazing, so many fantastic plants (and sculpture) to see. Fascinating to see the aloe plant in flower and your favourite flower was very striking! Thank goodness you managed to visit the gardens before the rain! Your fish pie looks huge! Sarah x
Yes! I did a double take when I saw the fish pie!
I love that walk down through the botanic gardens and I bet windy Wellington lived up to its name that day. I remember hanging onto lampposts when waiting to cross roads…
Yes, on the second day we were hanging onto lamp posts!
Some of those plants look gloriously exotic. I’d always thought of NZ as having a climate very similar to the UK, albeit reverse seasons, but it is clearly much warmer than that. The rain though, now that is very familiar!
Yes, I think NZ weather is very similar to yours, as you say, just as much rain, but slightly warmer.
Images of Cape Town in parts – lucky you mentioned you were in Wellington! So many beautiful gardens to see.
Absolutely like Cape Town, and just as spread out…
That looks a lovely botanic garden, especially as it is set on a hillside with the added treat of a cable car! I also like the look of the fish pie!
Yes, I am amazed that they were able to grow so many varieties of plants on those slopes…the cable car was a treat!
I can’t quite get my mind around the concept of a fish pie. Meat pie, sure, but fish? That looks like a delightful botanic garden!
Fish Pie New Zealand style is a treat, juicy white fish pieces in a tasty creamy sauce. This pie comes in a dish, so only pastry on the top. Lovely!
Below is Haemanthus or Scadoxus?
Above is a New Zealand plant. Kaka beak?
Thanks Diana, I thought you would know those two, I’ll put them in my post.
Thanks Diana, I thought you would know those two, I’ll put them in my post.
How lovely this garden is, Gerrie. The Kaka Beak flower is very striking and I really love the colour. I’m afraid that huge sculpture doesn’t appeal to me in the least, but the wonderful tree ferns more than make up for it. 🙂 Yummy fish pie…… I could definitely do that justice.
Yes, I agree about the sculpture, and so big! The Kaka Beak flower is so colourful, no wonder the birds love it!
A beautiful, beautiful place! So much to notice and admire. And, yes, it does indeed look like Middle Earth. Did you see any hobbits? 😉
No hobbits, but you can go to Hobbiton…all constructed for the movies….very cute!
How I enjoyed this post. I would dearly like to visit NZ one fine day, it looks so beautiful and exotic. How lucky you are getting to visit, I do hope you post more re your holiday!xxx
You would love NZ… Quite unspoilt! Hope you are relaxing after your amazing holiday..
What a gorgeous garden with an astonishing variety of beauties to enjoy! Sometimes when the weather is cloudy, it really makes the flower colors pop. I have never been to been to Wellington, but you seem to have brought the atmosphere of it right into my home. Thank you.
Thanks Brenda…and James Cook landed in Wellington too… as well as Alaska and Sydney…and many more places no doubt!