A rainy day in "Windy Welli"
Yesterday probably was the worst day of my whole trip so far when it comes to weather conditions. Sometime during the night the rain had started and it didn't look like it was going to stop anytime soon. The sky was hidden behind a thick layer of clouds and it was pouring down constantly. So what better thing to do than go to a museum?
Te Papa is supposed to be New Zealand's best museum ever. I've heard you can spend days in there - and now I can tell you: IT IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE!!! The museum is right on Wellington's waterfront and offers a wide range of exhibitions starting from how our earth has evolved over millions of years - focussing on Gondwanaland, the continents driftign apart and how New Zealand finally was "founded".
You learn a lot about the tectonic movements of the plates especially those that affect NZ and cause daily earthquakes and volcanic eruptions from time to time. Other areas tell you about NZ's wildlife and how introduced species have influenced the native flora and fauna.
My favorite section was the one about passports. It tells the stories of hundreds of immigrants over the past 200 years, why they came to New Zealand, what they were hoping for and what life brought them once they arrived. Reading some of the stories I almost started crying because they are so personal, so full of emotions. It was overwhelming and thinking about my own plans to become a permament resident of NZ in the future really gave me goosebumps.
I spent six or seven hours in Te Papa yesterday and hadn't even seen half of it. That's how huge that place is. So I joined Johanna and Nina today to try and see the rest - which of course I didn't manage but at least I was able to look at a few more exhibitions.
What is even more wonderful about the musum - IT IS FREE!!! And that really amazes me because there is so much work and effort that's been put into the exhibitions. There are lots of hands-on activities, an outdoor bush city, some games you can play, an earthquake simulator, 3D-movies and heaps more.
The only things that cost money are two other simulators ($10 each), big brochures with more information of the museum including maps and all (from $3) and the audio guide ($5). I chose the audio guide and can really recommend it. It enables you to walk the museum at your own pace and block out the crying children and whatever else might be disturbing. It also gives you very interesting background information and helps you to find your way around the various exhibitions.
Also the store at Te Papa has the best postcards I have seen so far throughout NZ!!! So if you're looking for some nice ones, buy them here. They're $1.50 but you get stamps, too. If you're hungry there are two cafés at Te Papa. They are a bit expensive but have interesting stuff like Spirulina juice ($3.90).
I left the museum around 3pm, went with Nina to the Mt. Victoria Lookout for some spectacular views over the city (the rain had actually stopped this morning and the sun was as strong and beautiful as ever). After saying goodbye to all the girls I finally went back on the road and started my journed back up north. Tonight I will stay near Levin with a woman who's got a little animal pet zoo. Should be interesting =D