Train ride and Wellington

Blair and I took the Overlander train from Auckland to Wellington on Saturday. It was great to be on a train, we had lots of relaxing time to read, play cards, and sip tea – a lot easier than flying or driving (although domestic flight in NZ are a DREAM!). The train went through a lot of farmland, which was a bit monotonous, but beautiful. We did stop in a few places and get off, including at National Park, which is, well, a national park.

Does this photo look like miniatures/dioramas to anyone but me?

Suzanne flew in yesterday and we all spent the day out in the sun at the Botanic Gardens. The flowers were such a small part of it: while the rose garden was amazing, the pathways were meandering and shaded, there was a fascinating historic cable car that went 4 blocks uphill to the gardens, there was a Salvation Army band playing in the band shell, and the highlight (for me at least) was a Victorian cemetery cut through the center by a freeway. At night we had drinks with Nola, who’s in town for a couple days before she catches Stray back up to Auckland.

Since we’re in the town with the national museum of NZ (Te Papa) we spent today’s rainy morning at the museum, had lunch with Nola, and then went shopping (omg, shoes!). The museum had a lot of NZ history, including a very large Maori section. They have a giant squid, which was surprisingly not very awe-inspiring. It’s pickled and on display but kinda started decomposing before they got it in the display, so it’s gross looking. Most interesting was the official apology by the Queen to the Maori (er, just one tribe?) about how the Treaty of Waitangi screwed them over.

Tomorrow we take the ferry to Picton in the South Island and Jacob is leaving the trail to join us for a few days in Abel Tasman.

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