Middle Earth

Trip Start May 18, 2005
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Trip End May 18, 2006


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Thursday, April 13, 2006

So it was straight from Christchurch to Wellington. We took the bus to Picton on the top of the South Island and the ferry across to Wellington. The ferry is meant to be one of the best ferry rides going for the scenery (yes, more scenery) but we didn't get to see any of it because we did it at night.

Wellington is a nice little place, maybe even nicer if we hadn{t arrived over the Easter weekend when everything was closed (more on the Easter Weekend Fiasco later). One thing that was open was the Te Papa Museum, the National museum. Unlike most museums round the world that are in old colonial looking buildings this one is in a really stunning modern building. And what made it all the more appealing was that there was a new Lord of the Rings exhibition opening up that weekend!! They had an exhibition a few years ago but had to close i t down because it was too popular and no one was going to se any other parts of the museum. But they decided to open it up again anyway.

I must say it was very impressive and tastefulloy done, no Hollywood gltz and glam stuff. They presented everything as if it were a historical artefact, and at times you would nearly think that they actually were. There were loads of the original costumes and weapons from the movie, some of which were really beautiful with loads of detail in them, videos and commentaries from the makers about making the movie most of which was new and not on any of the DVD's. They even brought in the original miniature sets that they used in the movie as well as explain how they made the hobbits look small. And they showed the Ring itself, which was cool. Overall the most impressive thing about it was realising how much work and time went into making every little item used in the movie. It sounds a bit dorky but it was actually really interesting, especially if you're a fan of the movies. Aishling wasn't really a fan but she thought it was pretty cool too. The only bad thing about it was that you were not allowed to take any photographs of anything.

The rest of the museum was equally as impressive. What sets it apart from any other museum I've been to is that everything is interactive and entertaining. Its not just a matter of walking around a room full of glass cases. There was an interactive movie called Golden Years about the history of New Zealand which was cool, an Earthquake room in which you could actually stand and experince what it feels like to be in a mild earthquake and there was even an exhibition on the importance of wool and sheep to the New Zealand economy which was surprisingly entertaining. The Maori culture and history section was cool too, if a little depressing in the sections about how thier land was taken from them. There was loads more in the museum but I won't bore you any further with the details.

It being Easter weekend and all we suddenly realised that we had not booked anywhere to stay from Saturday onwards. Thats when the Fiasco began. We couldn{t find anywhere to stay in Wellington, or in the next town we planned on visiting (Taupo). So we endedn up having to get a late bus on Saturday night to a place half way to Taupo called Turangi, pretty much the only place we could get a bed. And Turangi is a story in itself...
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