Wellington is a gem of a city. About the size of Cork, its location on a fault line has resulted in some stunning surrounds. Everything is within walking distance in the city center. The people are great. Friendly, helpful and always up for a chat. I lost count of the number of times a conversation started over my Munster Rugby jacket. Wellington is also the safest city I've ever been to. I've never felt safer walking alone through streets at 4am as I did in Wellington. Not once in 6 months did I witness a fight. Like CK I'm a bit of a cinema fan and if there's one thing New Zealand knows how to do its cinema. Imagine watching a movie slouched in your very own Laz-E-Boy chair with all you can eat popcorn and all you can drink soft-drinks for around 15 euro. Heaven.
Like Peter Jacksons trilogy the real star however is New Zealand's countryside. It simply is Middle Earth. Stunning. New Zealanders have made a massive effort to preserve their surrounds and it puts Ireland to shame. The best way to see the countryside is by car, however in doing so you run the risk of getting nowhere fast as you'll likely be pulling over every 5 minutes to take a picture. Places like Milford Sounds, Arthurs Pass, the inter-island ferry route (indeed all of the South Island), Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Queenstown, Wellington and countless others have to be seen to be believed. If you do come here don't fly, DRIVE!
I am not now, nor have I ever been associated with the Tourism New Zealand, but please, do yourself a favour and visit this amazing country during your time on this planet.
Of course pretty much every reader of this blog, save those from Australia, will be presented with quiet a trip in order to do this and this brings me to the only complaint I have; location. New Zealand is almost as far away from Ireland as it is possible to get, before you start to come back again. Thus, I propose that we swap the two islands of New Zealand with the British land mass. The South island would fit nicely in between Ireland and France whilst the North Island would have the entire North Sea to itself. The 4 Nations as it would become, would be very difficult to win I accept, but having Queenstown a 40 mintue flight away would be worth it.
I am but a computer scientist, so I'll let Simon, a real scientist, come up with the mechanics of it. That, or come up with some type of matter transporter that cuts 26 ohours or so out of the journey.