Our “big day out” plans to travel into the big city onboard a bright yellow train was derailed. Buses were replacing trains on all the rail lines to allow for necessary track maintenance to be done, we were informed. What a shame, travelling by bus has none of the romance of rail travel. We were joined by Geoff at Waikanae and we climbed aboard with a bus load of other disappointed customers, who wanted to go by train as well. The bus was the same colour as the train, and we got to travel free, courtesy of our Gold Cards.
Our trip to Wellington was two-fold. I wanted to visit a quilt show at Shed 11 along the Wellington Waterfront, and the two blokes checked out hi-fi stores, and looked at new mobile phones, and whatever else took their fancy.
We caught up by cell phone tag after a couple of missed calls and arranged to meet for lunch at the former BNZ Centre, now the State Insurance Building. A trade dispute with the Boilermaker’s Union delayed it’s construction by a decade, with just the steel skeleton in place for all those years. It remained the tallest building in New Zealand until 1986, and is currently the second tallest building in Wellington. This building is still known as Darth Vader’s Pencil Box by Wellingtonians.
We met for lunch at the underground food hall. Call me paranoid – but I like to check out where the exits are when I’m eating underground here, after all we are in Earthquake Central and you can’t be too careful, can you? Geoff brushed aside my concerns, and said we probably wouldn’t make it out alive anyway! The next decision was what to order for lunch? Geoff didn’t fancy the Big Breakfast on offer, so it was two plates of Chinese for him and me and a Burger for Robin.
It had been some years since Geoff had been for a ride on the Cable Car, so off we went, another free ride with our Gold Cards. That’s one of the benefits of being an oldie! This service runs every 10 minutes, one up and one down, so there is never much waiting. It’s a great little ride, but old timers like Robin still hark back to the early days when passengers could sit on the outside seats of the carriage. But not these days when Health and Safety is taken so seriously.
A couple of tunnels on our ride
It was just a short trip to the top and as we got out the cable car filled up again with those wanting to travel back down. The new terminal which was still under construction on our last trip has now been completed, and offers great views and plenty of room for passengers to shelter from Wellington’s wind and rain. It was officially opened in February 2014 by the Mayor of Wellington, Celia Wade-Brown.
Just look at those views! No wonder Wellington has been called “The Coolest Little Capitol in the World”. Surrounded by the harbour and the hills, Wellington is small and compact and certainly a beautiful city. Don’t know whether those two in the photo would be called “cool”, just a pair of fun loving Kiwis perhaps?
We caught a bus down to Wellington Station, and walked along Platform Nine where all the replacement buses were waiting. Things were a bit more organised for our return trip back to Waikanae, and we were guided to a bus making an express trip, first stop Paekakariki. That’s good, we won’t be pulling into each and every station all the way home.
Delivering Geoff safely home, we had been invited to join them for the evening meal. Eileen had been busy all day in the kitchen and produced a veritable feast. Toad in the Hole, now that’s very British. According to Wikipedia, Toad in the Hole is a traditional British dish consisting of sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter, served with onion gravy. The origin of the name "Toad-in-the-Hole" is often disputed. Many suggestions are that the dish's resemblance to a toad sticking its head out of a hole provides the dish with its somewhat unusual name. This tasty main course was followed by Sticky Date Pudding, so yummy. What a great finish to a great day out.