2 Adults, 3 boys, 365 Days of Adventure
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Wellington

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For our stop in New Zealand’s capital I decided to focus our energies on the modern, and enormous, Te Papa Museum.  We spent the entire morning and most of the afternoon there and we only were able to see a fraction of it.  As the national museum of New Zealand it is part cultural, part science, part natural history, part art and architecture and while we were there it was also home to an exhibition of artifacts from Pompeii (which needless to say – we skipped as we had just been there ourselves).  We spent the most time in the Awesome Forces exhibit, which had fantastic hands on displays that demonstrated the geological forces that shape New Zealand’s landscape.  The earthquake simulation house was especially cool.  The other area we spent time in was in “Our Place” a super cool multimedia exhibit that had this amazing 5-foot interactive wall.  The boys and I had a blast playing around with this very unique gadget you manipulated with big white flashlight looking laser wands.  You really have to see it to understand.

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It was a rather long walk (about 35 minutes) from the port to the museum and the kids obviously haven’t been doing enough walking lately because they complained incessantly. By the end of the day they must have readjusted because they made the whole walk back (after walking though the museum all day) with barely a complaint.  It helped that Bodie invented a game whereby we were prohibited from stepping on cracks or yellow lines (they were everywhere) and that kept all of us entertained the whole way back.  I think Bodie especially enjoyed being everyone’s center of attention without having to misbehave to get it.

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Unfortunately our afternoon was somewhat marred when our plans for Christchurch (our next port) abruptly fell apart.  I had been having trouble booking a car for our day in Christchurch (nobody would even email me back!) and knew the iSite (equivalent to Europe’s TIs) handles car reservations.  After stopping at the one in Wellington I was informed that every car rental agency in Christchurch was sold out.  I was depressed because the two quintessential South Island experiences that I was hoping to have – river jet boating and views of the Southern Alps – were both dependent on getting a car in Christchurch! Jennifer, who had previously delegated all New Zealand shore excursion planning to me, was furious with me (unfairly I thought – but that’s a whole nother story) and we sat there in the iSite with her glaring at me as I desperately tried to find replacement activities for the next day.  After about an hour I had booked a private car that would take us to Christchurch city, take us jet boating, and take us off-roading in the foothills of the Alps (not the Alps proper – but this would have to do).  It was a lot more than I wanted to spend, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

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