New Zealand
Mount Cook

Discover travel destinations of travelers writing a travel journal on FindPenguins.

42 travelers at this place

  • Day76

    Zealandia, a Trip Back in Time

    February 24, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    New Zealand was once an isolated land free from mammals, except for bats, which meant native plants and birdlife flourished, including flightless kiwi. When humans came, so did the pests and predators that they brought with them. This left a lot of the original wildlife extinct and many species endangered. Zealandia, a pest-proof ecosanctuary in Wellington is the closest thing in New Zealand to be like what the country was like before humans were here.

    Introduced predators almost wiped out New Zealand's native and endemic species, that had evolved without needing defence from mammals for millions of years. Since human arrival, at least 51 bird species, three frog species, three lizard species, one freshwater fish species, one bat species, four plant species, and a number of invertebrate species have become extinct.

    Zealandia is Time Magazine’s 2019 pick for one of the World’s 100 Greatest Places to Visit in 2019.

    The entire 500+ acre area, around a pretty reservoir, is surrounded by a 8.6 km predictor-proof fence that we could see in some areas on the hill. There is a 500-year (!) long range plan to restore the valley’s forest and freshwater ecosystems as closely as possible to their pre-human state. Can you imagine?!!! 18 species of native wildlife have been reintroduced back into the area, some of which were previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years.

    A visit to Zealandia can be done in two ways, with or without a guide. We chose to do it on our own and follow the map with the bird/animal guide that was giving to us. The plants were identified in signs on the way.

    There were several trails to chose from, some harder than others. We were always surprised when we turned a corner and there was a rare bird feeding at a station or on the ground in front of us. At one point, we questioned if the creators had installed speakers and were running a sound track of birds singing. There were so many birds in those woods.

    One of our favourites was the little New Zealand Robin, Toutouwai, which is a very friendly and curious little bird. Another beautiful one was the Stitchbird, Hihi, that eats nectar from plants.

    We saw an unusual lizard with a third eye and spines on his back called a Tuatara. This lizard has been around since the dinosaurs.

    A little list of some of the unusual birds that we saw - Tui, Kaka, Kereru, Tieke, and Hihi . There are kiwis, but since they are night birds, we didn’t see them. There is a night tour at Zealandia that is supposed to be very popular but has to be booked weeks in advance.

    Anyways, we wandered around the reservoir and in the forest for a few hours and loved the peacefulness. A nice break from the business of the city which is only a short distance away.

    At 4 p.m., we had to pick up a new rental car from the Apex office downtown so we took the cable car down and walked the rest of the way. We ended up with a different car this time, a Toyota Corolla.

    We had a restful evening, just getting caught up with news and footprints. We were a little tired today after walking 12 km up and down on trails, but it was a good day and the cooler weather was perfect.
    Read more

  • Day76

    Up to the Top in Wellington’s Cable Car

    February 24, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    In most Wellington brochures, there is a photo of the historic Wellington Cable Car. Today we decided that we were going to take a ride on it and find out what is at the top of the hill.

    Opened to the public in 1902, the cable car is still running strong and has become a city icon. It links the fancy Kelburn suburb with Lambton Quay, the city’s main shopping area near the harbour. The cable car serves as more than just a tourist attraction as locals use it as part of their daily commute.

    The track climbs 102 metres over the city and we found out that it brings passengers, in 5 minutes, to a beautiful landscaped botanical gardens which overlook the city. There is also a small museum that gives a great overview of the history of cable car use in hilly Wellington.

    At the top is the location of the former 'Kelburn Victorian Tea Rooms' which was a special destination for Wellingtonians and visitors for over a century. The views from this location are great. The Tea Rooms burned down in 1982, but in its place arose another building which for 30 years was a popular restaurant called the 'Skyline'. Now, it is called the Kowhai Cafe.

    Besides a cafe, the building also houses the “Fragrifert Parfumeur, the Victorian Perfumery” and what a fascinating place that is!

    All around the perfumery we found items relating to Gustave Fragrift's (the perfumer who the shop is named after) life. The sea chest that contained some of his belongings, including two of his encrypted formula diaries, a perfume organ with raw materials and ingredients used in creating the perfumes, scales and weighing equipment of the period, a range of perfumery ingredients that we could smell as well as two stills for extracting essential oils. It was a very unusual place with a lot of history.

    But that is not all that is at the top of the cable car run. I have mentioned the gardens but there is also another amazing place close by called Zealandia that Time Magazine declared as “One of the Greatest Places to Visit in 2019”. It was a must-see for us.
    Read more

  • Day19

    Zealandia (by day and night)

    February 15, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Zealandia is such a wonderful natural valley - unbelievable that it is located not even three km away from downtown Wellington. Once more, I enjoyed the forest with the only noises coming from birds and insects. I tried to spot some birds (even had my binoculars with me) and, every now and then, was succesful. I could observe some tuis, saw some whiteheads, as well as some kakas, but that was at a place where they get additional food. Furthermore, walking around in this peaceful nature was so nice. For dinner I went shortly back in the city before I had to be back at Zealandia at a quarter to eight at Zealandia because I had booked a night tour, mainly in the hope of spotting a kiwi. The night tour was gorgeous. We started in dusk, so we could still see pretty much. The guide showed us a shack colony, as well as something very special, two Takahe. Takahe are very threatened. Only 418 birds are known to be still living in New Zealand, so the takahe is much more threatened than the kiwi. It got darker every minute, but we were equipped with torches. We saw several tuataras, reptiles similar to lizzards, but in fact tuataras date back to the time of the dinosaurs. We passed by the kaka feeding station and our guide explained to us, that the reason of feeding them is to bind them to the area and to make them more visible for the visitors. They would find way enough food all around Wellington without the additional feeding and they do live all around the capital again - a success of Zealandia. We made our way through the forest, but had no kiwi spotted yet. In a creek we saw two huge eels. Their size was quite impressive. In some part of the forest we could see glowworms on both sides of the trail, almost more formidable than in the cave in Waitomo. And then, it happened. A kiwi on its search for food appeared😁 We could observe it for some minutes. What an amazing moment. Some minutes later we passed by a second one, but that one dissappeared again quite qickly. What an experience, this night tour in Zealandia, but after 2.5 hours it came to an end. I could have stayed much longer. Since the cable car does not operate after 10 p.m. I walked the three km down to the city. I passed by the university with some beautiful buildings. Actually, I had planned to check out the bars in Cuba Street, but I simply was too tired.Read more

  • Day63

    Interislander

    October 3, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    Donnerstag morgen sind wir nach Wellington gefahren. Wellington hat zwar viel weniger Einwohner als Auckland, ist aber viel moderner und fühlt sich viel eher an, wie eine Großstadt. Da kam dann schon ein bisschen Heimweh nach Berlin auf. In Wellington haben wir nur einen Tag verbracht. Wir haben nämlich relativ spontan entschieden, schon früher auf die Südinsel überzusetzen, als Ursprünglich geplant. (Warum ist noch Geheim ;))
    Da wir mitten in der Nacht gefahren sind, haben wir den Nachmittag und frühen Abend im Schwimmbad und Fitnessstudio verbracht

    Wir haben also die viel zu teure Fähre gebucht und um uns das Geld für den Campingplatz zu sparen, sind wir um 03.00 Uhr morgens gefahren. Es war schon witzig, mit dem Auto in diese riesige Fähre reinzufahren. Die Überfahrt hat ungefähr 3 1/2 Stunden gedauert, in denen Isa geschlafen hat und ich in dem Versuch mich nicht zu übergeben, über die Aussenbereiche gewandert bin, oder so geatmet habe, wie man eigentlich nur Atmet, wenn man meditiert.

    Naja auf jeden Fall waren wir dann um 07.00 Uhr morgens auf der Südinsel.
    Read more

  • Day203

    Oei oei

    March 5, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Lieve allemaal,

    Oei oei, wat is het lang geleden dat we geschreven hebben. Maar we hebben ook zoveel te doen gehad!

    We:

    - hebben er vier dagen over gedaan om van het fijne Thaise eiland met trein en bus naar Kuala Lumpur te reizen
    - hebben 12 uur doorgebracht in Kuala Lumpur
    - hebben ons open water duikbrevet op Bali gehaald
    - hebben een week lang op Bali (ja het is paradijs) met een motorbike rond gecruised
    - zijn voor exact dezelfde klachten in het ziekenhuis behandeld (een trapje verder dan dezelfde kleding dragen) (was onschuldig, oorirritatie na het duiken)
    - zijn naar Melbourne gevlogen voor een weekend en logeerden in een penthouse met view bij couchsurfer Anders
    - hebben het nieuwste model mitshibishu aangeschaft voor onze road trip in NZ. En onze auto volgeladen met slaapzakken en camping gear.
    - en nu zijn we al een week op pad in dit super mooie land dat alle verwachtingen overtreft ook al zijn ze zeer hoog gespannen. Het was dolle pret om te kamperen met Remko en Hans en twee dagen achter hun witte busje aan te rijden waar soms Celine Dion uitschalde! (It was me die het nummer aanvroeg ;)

    En dat allemaal in drie weken!

    We zetten nog wat fotootjes online voor de mensen die in retroperspectief nieuwsgierig zijn naar alle plekken. Tot snel(ler) weer!
    Read more

  • Day64

    Wellington/ Newtown Festival

    March 4, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 19 °C

    Am Morgen starteten wir erst mal auf dem Sonntagsmarkt im Stadtzentrum um frisches Brot (richtiges Schwarzbrot) und Obst zu kaufen 🍑🍞. Anschließend ging’s ins direkt dahinter liegende Te Papa Museum of New Zealand. Schon von außen wirkt das Nationalmuseum imposant, innen bietet es auf 5 Stockwerken sehr interessantes und abwechslungsreiche über die Geschichte, Kultur, Zivilisation und Natur des Landes. Ich beschränke mich hauptsächlich auf die Maori Kultur und deren Niedergang mit dem Eintreffen der europäischen Siedler! Alles war sehr interessant dargestellt und die Zeit verging wie im Fluge!
    Am Nachmittag ging’s dann weiter nach Newtown einem Stadtviertel von Wellington. Hier fand heute auf etwa 2 Kilometern Länge Das Newtown Festival statt. Auf 12 Bühnen wurde Livemusik 🎶 in allen Variationen geboten. Es waren super Bands dabei die zum verweilen einluden, dazu perfektes Sonntagswetter 😊 Dazwischen unzählige kulinarische Köstlichkeiten 🍤🍛🥟🍦und auch allerhand Skurriles (teilweise ein echter Krämermarkt, die Muswiese lässt grüßen 🤣).
    Am späten Nachmittag sind wir dann in Richtung Norden aufgebrochen, haben noch einen kurzen Stopp am Outlet eingelegt und sind am Abend in Whanganui eingetroffen. Im 19. Jahrhundert war hier ein großer Umschlagplatz/ Hafen für alles von Norden oder Süden kam und ins Landesinnere musste. Als ich am Abend noch etwas zu Fuß durch die Stadt gelaufen bin, kam sie mir ziemlich ausgestorben vor. Kein Mensch und kaum ein Auto auf der Straße, dabei ist sie nicht ganz klein...
    Read more

  • Day133

    Wellington Zoo

    February 19, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Das mit dem „Nationaltier“, dem Kiwi ist so eine Sache... Er ist zwar flugunfähig und nicht besonders schnell, aber er ist nachtaktiv und es gibt nicht viele von ihnen in freier Natur. Deshalb haben wir leider noch keinen in freier Wildbahn gesehen und fast hätten wir auch keinen im Zoo gesehen. Doch Kimo erspäht einen in der letzten Ecke des Kiwihauses. Man kann zwar nicht viel erkennen, da den Kiwis vorgegaukelt wird es wäre Nacht, aber wir haben immerhin einen Kiwi erahnen können. Die anderen Tiere können wir dafür umso besser sehen und den Kängurus kommen wir sogar ganz nah. Als wir wieder aus dem Zoo raus kommen, sind wir froh, dass Bo noch steht und nicht umgekippt ist, denn so schief haben wir noch nie geparkt.Read more

  • Day39

    Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferry

    November 27, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

    Depature Time: 14.00
    Arrival Time: 17.30 - actually
    Now it's 18.15 and we're arrived. The storm outside was too heavy today.

    I startet at the shelter at 12.20 by the way. I had to check in at 13 o'clock. More people thought the same - go earlier I mean. The streets were f*cking full.

    First I went outside to look at the big waves. The scenery was sl beautiful. Wow. But the stuff tould us we have to go in, because the sea gets too rough. As I went inside and saw all that tables you could charge your phone at, I couldn't believe I left mine inside the car. 🙈 No matter, no matter.
    I went into the cinema and saw the rest of Mama Mia. After that I fall asleep for an hour. Oh, I needed it. I could see the rest of the second film till the end before we arrived.

    I left the ship at 18.40.
    Read more

  • Day39

    Wellington

    November 27, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

    Incredible. New Zealand has got skyscrapers. I thought I will never see one. Now I know why this is the capital city. It seems little on the map, but noo, it isn't.
    While driving throjgh without any plan, I fall in love with this city. Forgott I love to be in big citys. Miss them soo much.
    I will stay here for longer. Sure.

    But now, I only wanna come to my campground. It was just too cold at the ship, my feets become block of ice. The rain don't make it better. Only wanna sleep. 💤
    Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Mount Cook, MON