Napier to Wellington is a long drive covering 315 Km, but the scenic beauty of the surroundings makes up for all the fatigue one may experience. We stopped enroute for a cup of coffee at a small village – ‘Woodville’. Starting at 9 AM we reached Wellington around 1 PM and checked into Trinity Hotel in the centre of town.
|Absolutely fascinating landscape|
In 1865, Wellington became the capital city in place of Auckland. Wellington is at the South-Western tip of the North Island on Cook Strait, separating the North and South Islands.
|ANZAC Day programme at Woodville|
|With the owner posing in front of the main street 1890 photograph|
|A very interesting notice|
|Distances to various parts of the world from Woodville|
|Which one is the real pumpkin. At the restaurant|
After a quick functional lunch in a food court opposite our hotel, we strolled across to visit the famous Wellington Botanic Garden established in 1868. We hitched a ride to the park on the ‘Wellington Cable Car’. As the car climbs up one gets to see the entire city from a height. The garden spread over 26 hectares of hilly terrain, offers unsurpassed views, unique landscape, exotic forests, native bush, colourful floral displays and well maintained specialist gardens.
|Naveen posing with a mannequin|
|Inside of the cable car|
|A view of the city from the garden|
|Jai all smiles|
|A different view of the city|
|View of Island bay|
|The flora and fauna in the garden|
|Another part of of the garden|
|The water front|
|Enjoying the evening|
Later in the evening we went across to the water front restaurant for a quiet drink and dinner. The weather was extremely chilly, preventing us from sitting outside.
The next morning we took the Hop on Hop off to go around Wellington. There were very few people and the driver cum guide made the trip very interesting with lots of information and tidbits. We visited Old St Paul’s Church, Mount Victoria, Maori culture at the Te Papa Tongarewa - a premier museum, saw the special effects behind The Lord of the Rings trilogy at Weta Cave and Museum of Wellington City. The entire HoHo tour was very interesting and informative.
|View of the harbour|
|View from Mt Victoria|
|The sea sky foliage and the cloud made our day|
|Special effects at Weta Cave and Museum of Wellington City|
|Gollum - The ring-obsessed hobbit-turned-monster|
|Guess who is more handsome|
|Time for a photo op|
|St Pauls Church|
Wellington is undoubtedly a very pretty city.
We later went back to the water front to laze in the warm afternoon sun at Mac’s Brewbar at Shed 22 - one of the most popular breweries in the city. This time around we sat outside and took in a whole lot of Wellington. Given a chance I could have spent hours on end sipping beer and gazing at the sea. The bar offers the finest of kiwi beers and excellent food. The place is vibrant and teeming with people. They claim that the bar is a meeting place of great minds and well-honed palates. They offer 8 types of beer – we selected ‘Mac’s Gold’.
After a short nap in the hotel, we went across to an Indian restaurant next door to have dinner.
The reverence and veneration with which veterans are remembered is worth a special mention. Every town and city we visited was preparing for the big event –“ANZAC DAY’ celebrations scheduled all over NZ on 25 April 2016. It commemorates the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) at Gallipoli, Turkey, during World War I in 1915. Among the dead were 2779 New Zealanders. The Anzac Day ceremony of 25 April is rich in tradition and ritual. A dawn service is held in a church in all towns and attended by serving and retired military personnel. Thereafter the ANZAC Day parade starts with the veterans joined by other community groups, including members of the armed forces, the Red Cross, cadets. After the march past they enjoy a tot of rum and coffee.
The events of the Second World War made Anzac Day a time of commemoration of all the wars in which New Zealanders had taken part. Anzac Day is a national day of commemoration observed on 25 April each year. It commemorates those who died serving New Zealand during war while honoring returned and current servicemen and women, past and present. The meaning of the day has been further broadened to include those killed in all the military operations in which the countries have been involved.
Having witnessed the fervor with which the veterans are remembered and respected in New Zealand, Kat and I, both being war veterans, felt a tad disappointed at the way veterans are treated in India.
The Tragic Irony
In contrast, a Bangalore based ‘Residents Welfare Association ‘took out a PIL. They wanted the HC to restrain the concerned authorities from constructing a National Military Memorial, at the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park. It contended that the memorial would alter the landscape of the park, since trees would have to be felled.
Bench of justices, dismissed the PIL saying a National War Memorial was a laudable initiative, since it would instill patriotism in the hearts of the country’s citizens. The court said that the proposed war memorial would not only make people curious to know what it contained, but also inspire the people of Karnataka to work for the betterment of the country.
A new war memorial was inaugurated in Bangalore on 10 Feb 2009.
Mera Bharat Mahan.