Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wellington's wonders unfold with vintage autos, cable cars, rare organ


Cookie takes a turn at the three-keyboard Wurlitzer in Wellington's famous Southward Car Museum, invited by Len Fifield. 
 Wellington has an affection for bold design and color.

Cookie shops for dream car, gives an impromptu concert and shears a sheep -- all in a day's play in Wellington    

Cookie explored Wellington's famous car museum in search of a new auto.
Sheep ranchers and their dogs have a similar look the world over -- this one
works on a ranch near Wellington, N.Z., but would be at home in Montana.


STORY By CHRISTENE MEYERS
PHOTOS By BRUCE KELLER

OUR DAY in Wellington began with a ride on a cable car up a steep hill, a stroll around Parliament and a terrific cuppa. Great tea! Great town.
The day segued to a museum full of rare autos, and an even more rare three-keyboard organ. The Southward Car Museum has 250 cars, airplanes, train
engines and a magnificent organ. (After shameless hinting, I was invited to play it!) Talk about gilding the lily!
AFTER MY organ tunes and a mini-concert by magnificent theater organist Len Fifield, we headed to a ranch, where I attempted to shear a sheep. We lunched on lamb curry -- delicious, but unfortunately timed.
FOR THE SHEEP shearing, lucky I had help. It's hard work so I shall stick to writing and music. The sheep survived my shaky hands but I was a wreck....
WELLINGTON pitches itself as a highly liveable place where one season fits all.  It is ethnically diverse and gay friendly with an array of eateries, parks and shops.
Wellington also offers variety and charm, with plenty to do for free or on the cheap.
Besides fabulous food and shopping, the people are helpful and accommodating with a sly, wry sense of humor.
THIS NEW ZEALAND city is beautiful and user friendly, with streets made for walking, browsing, relaxing.
Arranged around an attractive waterfront, Wellington is easy to navigate. Wellington boasts more
In a country known for its love of boating, Wellington,
N.Z., boasts an inviting waterfront, walkable and pretty.
cafes, bars and restaurants than New York City, and its coffee and craft beer producers are famous.  The town combines a creative, cosmopolitan feel, with the sophistication of a capital (which it is!) plus the warmth and personality of a village.
Wellington is simply winning, and it's courting business and industry as well as retirees -- thus the mix of young and old which delighted us.
Come with Cookie to the 'Jeopardy' set
WELLINGTON HAS New Zealand's greatest share of high-tech companies. It promises techies shopping for change of venue that they can be part of a vibrant economy -- "open minded, globally-connected, yet collaborative and supportive."  They can indulge in this while enjoying "a healthy lifestyle, rich in cuisine, culture and the great outdoors." All true!
The city enjoys over 2,100 hours of sunshine each year, less rainfall than other New Zealand cities and some say the lowest air pollution in the world.
Minutes from downtown Wellington we walked along a green belt and enjoyed watching bikers, a sparkling harbor, and a picturesque waterfront designed for strolling and picnics.
Cookie took up the shearing device, with a little help from a new friend.
Wellington's cable cars are a treat to ride.
OUR RECENT Wellington visit offered crisp, cool mornings and we relished our walks beneath the hills surrounding this lovely town. The aptly named "City to Sea Walkway" starts in the heart of central Wellington near Parliament and ends at the South Coast. The Parliament square is an eye-catching mix of old and new buildings, nicely pulled together with gardens and walkways.
NEWLYWEDS have their photos taken on the steps of the Parliamentary Library, tourists click snapshots of a bronze of Premier Richard Seddon pointing to the sky. The Beehive – a structure known by all New Zealanders – stands beside the imposing grey facade of Parliament House.
The buildings have been modified, destroyed by fire, half-built and restored. Folks love them or hate them. Our eyes look for the novel; we loved them.
"The Beehive" Parliament Building in Wellington.
Wellington Botanical Garden was a highlight, too, with spectacular views, unique landscape, exotic forests, native bush, and colorful floral displays.
THE WATERFRONT walk will take you to Te Papa, with buildings used in early Wellington wharfing, and Civic Square, home to a nice library, art gallery, an engaging Visitor Center and Town Hall Complex.
Our day ended as it began, with a cable car ride. These historic red cars run from Lambton Quay in the city's commercial heart, to the top of Upland Road, with the Lookout, Carter Observatory, Planetarium and Cable Car Museum.
WELLINGTON offers something unique at every turn. On my third visit, I left with more to see.

Melbourne, Australia, encourages artful graffiti.
COMING UP: We find hidden secrets, stunning artwork and surprising talent in the alleys and secret corners of Melbourne, Australia.  In a unique tradition encouraged by city officials, artists are welcome to
For theater, movies, and a fun new book: click on lilianslastdance.com 
paint, draw, create and change artwork on the walls of many buildings in this delightful city Down Under. Remember to explore, learn and live, and check us out here Wednesdays for travel tips, hotels, restaurants, cruising and nature pieces:  www.whereiscookie.com

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