Monday, April 27, 2009

ANZAC Dawn Service and the TranzScenic

Whilst it was still very early, cold and dark on Saturday, Mum and I left the comfort of our hotel room, laden with our luggage, and got a taxi to the Cenotaph in Wellington, with the gathering crowd.

Standing in the dark, cold centre of town, we watched as the Returned Soliders, serving members, and their families, gathered to form the parade to the Cenotaph to begin the ANZAC Dawn Service. With a rifel fire into the air the service began, with prayer, welcome, a minute silence, and the ever haunting Last Post.

Meaning more and more to me, I aimed to be over here this year, after Melbourne two years ago, and Gallipoli 4 years ago. Jessie and Heath were at the Gallipoli service this year, as Mum and I were in Wellington.

As the Dawn light started to spill over the waterfront, Mum and I took our bags the two blocks to the Railway Station, and checked in to our TranzScenic Overlander journey up the North Island. Leaving the station at just after 7.30am, we settled into our comfy seats for our feast of spectacular scenary.

Through river gorges, past the national parks and volcanic plateau, and through the Raurimu Spiral. The lunch stop was at Ohakune, just after the sighting of Mount Ruapehu. Amazing trip, with the open air viewing deck, to the back carriage with a lounge for viewing from the glass windowed back of the train.

Arriving into Auckland, to the first proper miserable weather of our trip, we walked from the station, to our hotel, just at the foot of the iconic SkyTower.

Friday was our full day in Wellington, and we actually did what we had done the day before, but in reverse, and in daylight. We walked down Willis Street, stopping for brunch along the way, to find the Cable Car station. Mum and I rode to the top of the hill overseeing the town of Wellington.

Leaving Mum at the top, I wandered down into the Botanical Gardens, to find the Sundial, and the Peace Flame. Back down to sea level, we walked through the main street of town, before again walking along the Waterfront, and having Fish and Chips looking out over the habour.

Back to Te Papa for a proper walk through of the cultural musuem of New Zealand, we took in the art and history of the land. Learning much of the settlement of the land over the ditch, reading up on the Treaty Of Waitangi...makes me wonder why Australia is so far behind in recognising our indigenous culture. This treaty was signed in 1840! The Australian government's true acknowledgement has just happened in the last few years! Disgraceful!

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