Permulaan Winter, Hujan Hail di Wellington New Zealand

Cuaca semakin tak menentu di Wellington. Beberapa hari ini, saat menjelang libur perayaan The Queen Day yang jatuh pada hari Senin 1 Juni 2009, cuaca semakin menggila. Hari Minggu, 31 Mei 2009 kemarin turun hail (semacam hujan butiran es di Indonesia). Meskipun tidak banyak tapi cuaca hari itu terasa sangat dingin.

Cuaca di Wellington memang sangat tidak menyenangkan, sehari bisa terjadi empat musim sekaligus. Malam yang dingin membuat badan menggigil, pagi yang sedikit dingin dan siang yang terasa panas (meskipun suhunya ga lebih dari 15 derajat celcius). Lalu sore hujan dengan angin dingin yang membuat kami bergegas masuk ke dalam flat, masih dingin juga.

Perkiraan cuaca di sini juga biasanya mencantumkan Wind Chill, sebutan umum untuk angin yang membuat kita terasa lebih dingin dari suhu sebenarnya. Bisa jadi suhu asli tanpa angin adalah 11 derajat celcius, tapi karena tiupan angin selatan dari kutub selatan membuat suhu seakan di bawah 2 derajat celcius.

Saran saya, kalau kondisi kayak gini. Pakailah baju hangat beberapa lapis, kaus kaki panjang, sarung tangan dan rain coat kalau Anda ingin keluar dari tempat tinggal untuk pergi jalan-jalan atau berbelanja dan beraktivitas. Beberapa teman saya yang biasa hidup di negara yang suhunya di bawah minus sering mengatakan bahwa Wellington terasa lebih dingin dari negara mereka, itu karena Wind Chill yang bertiup kencang dan masuk ke badan kita.


The Karori Sanctuary, Wellington

The Karori Sanctuary offer an opportunity to see New Zealand’s rarest animal dan wildlife in its natural environment. Tucked away in a forrest-clad valley just ten minutes from Central Wellington. We can go there by hire a car or by cable car.

By bus is the cheapest choice, we can buy the day tripper ticket with five dollars New Zealand. Day tripper ticket is designed to give us freedom to go around Wellington by using one ticket. In every bus station we will able to get off and caught bus anywhere that we want by show the ticket to the driver.

The Karori Sanctuary is the place to protect original New Zealand wildlife. Kiwi is one of them. Tour provide us encounters with birds and reptiles normally just found on offshore island, and a chance to learn about unique vision to turn back the clock to the time before humans arrived.

Walking track is include a cruise accros the lower lake and change to look New Zealand’s living dinosaur the Tuatara. The best time to running the tour is when darkness has settled, if we lucky we can see the New Zealand’s national mascot, that is Kiwi. Over 100 Kiwi live in this park, so there is a good change of spotting one.

There are differences of price between day and night tours. We can go there in day time and the ticket to enter there only NZ$ 14, but in the night we have to pay more, Nz$ 60 to see Kiwi birds.

The Wellington Cable Car Museum

The Cable Car is another of a series of sculptures crowning sculptural signs in the city. All the signs feature Wellington street maps and show the way to nearby attractions.

The Cable Car provides a unique form of transport to the city to the suburb of Kelburn and the top of the Botanic Garden. We are situated at the end of the Cable Car Lane off Lambton Quay in the heart of Wellington’s Central Business District.

There are three intermediate stops. Clifton, leading to the Terrace and the Student Accommodation at Everton Hall. Talavera, the mid point of the track, where the cars pass each other. Salamanca, linking to the Victoria University and more student accommodation at Weir House.

The Wellington Cable Car Museum is located just a few metres from the cable car’s upper terminus and from a lookout with spectacular views over Wellington, this museum tells the story of the country’s only remaining public cable car system.

Visit us to catch up on the service’s colourful history, marvel at the machinery in the old winding room or climb aboard one of the old grip cars.

The museum shop stocks a great selection of Wellington and New Zealand gifts and souvenirs as well as a range of specialist transport books, DVDs and models.

The Wellington Cable Car Museum has Qualmark endorsed visitor activity status and was the 2006 Tourism Industry award winner for visitor activities and attractions: culture and heritage tourism.


The Mount Victoria Tunnel in Wellington

The Mount Victoria Tunnel in Wellington is well known in Wellington as being the location of “the beeping game“, in which motorists sound their horns as they go through the tunnel, often in response to the tooting of other drivers. This is particularly popular after 5pm on Friday nights. The white building above the tunnel is Wellington East Girls’ College..

The tunnel is 623 metres (slightly more than a third of a mile) long and 5 metres (16.4 ft) in height, connecting Hataitai to the centre of Wellington and the suburb of Mount Victoria, under the mount of the same name. It is part of State Highway 1.

The tunnel was built in 15 months by the Hansford and Mills Construction Company. The project cost around £132,000 and greatly reduced travel time between the Eastern Suburbs and the central business district of Wellington. Construction employed a standard tunnel-excavation technique in which two teams of diggers begin on either side of the obstacle to be tunnelled through, eventually meeting in the centre.

The initial breakthrough, when the two separate teams of diggers met, occurred at 2.30pm on 31 May 1930, and the first people to pass through the breakthrough were tunnellers Philip Gilbert and Alfred Graham. The tunnel was opened officially by the mayor of Wellington, Thomas Charles Hislop, on 12 October 1931.

Although the tunnel has been eclipsed in terms of features and amenities by more recent tunnels around the country, such as the Terrace Motorway Tunnel, the Mount Victoria Tunnel was the first road tunnel in New Zealand to be mechanically ventilated. Around 32,000 vehicles pass through it each day. The tunnel also accommodates pedestrians and cyclists, who use an elevated ramp on the north side of the roadway. In the late 1970s, a number of crime incidents resulted in an alarm system being installed based on buttons spaced along the length of the pedestrian ramp – the system was removed several years later, as it proved ineffective. Recent additions include new lighting, CCTV cameras, brighter cleanable side panels and pollution control. These have significantly improved safety in the tunnel.

There has been a long standing designation for a second parallel tunnel to the north, in order to relieve peak period congestion resulting from lane merges at both ends of the tunnel. A pilot tunnel was bored through in 1974 to investigate the technical feasibility and still exists, although the eastern end has been bricked up and the western end lies on private property. Plans to build the second tunnel paralleled the original plan to complete the Wellington Urban Motorway to the tunnel to provide a motorway bypass of the whole of central Wellington. The second tunnel component was shelved indefinitely in 1981 when budget cuts meant that a scaled-down motorway extension was proposed that would terminate at the existing tunnel.

The tunnel currently is a traffic bottleneck in the morning peak from around 7.30 to 9.00am on the Hataitai side with traffic sometimes backing up over 1 km and in the afternoon peak between 5 and 6pm on the city side with queuing back around 0.5 km. Buses to the eastern suburbs bypass this congestion by using the much older single-lane Hataitai bus tunnel.

Some interesting stuff

During World War II, the government planned to use the tunnel as an air raid shelter if Wellington were attacked. However, the plan was scrapped as the tunnel was thought to be too vulnerable to assault from either side by hostile troops.

A murder occurred during the construction of the tunnel. A young woman named Phylis Simons was murdered by her lover, who buried her in the fill from the tunnel. Police ordered workers to excavate the fill in order to find the victim’s body.


Wellington, Four Seasons in One Day

Wellington is very unique city. It is known as “Windy City”, because the wind blows strongly and every time. The weather also terrible, four seasons can happen in one day, winter, summer, spring and autumn. Very cold at the night, little bit cold in the morning, hot and sunny at noon and very shower or heavy rain in the evening.

We have to read the weather forecast every day that is published in newspapers, website and telephone. The forecast usually is provided for two or three days. We can use the forecast if we want to arrange activities.

In spring season, summer and autumn are the most interesting season in Wellington. Most of the restaurants, cafes, accommodation agents also offered open space to service the customers. The Cuba Street and and The Courtenay Place are the busy places in summer. There are many tourists and citizens spend much money in both of the places.

In winter, open spaces are not too busy. Many people do not like spend their time outside the restaurants and cafes. They will choose inside them to enjoy their lunch or dinner inside because it is warmer and more comfortable than outside.

However, some restaurants and cafes provide heaters outside in the open space. They install heater outside to service the customer if inside very full and busy. Wearing warm clothes and jackets are the most important thing to eat our dinner outside the restaurant or cafe.

Hamil di New Zealand, Gimana Nih? Pelayanan Kesehatan Kehamilan di New Zealand Gimana?

Alhamdulillah, setelah setahun menunggu akhirnya Allah memberikan kepercayaan kepada kami untuk mengasuh anak. Istri saya saat ini sedang hamil muda. Dia lagi manja-manjanya dan muntah hampir setiap malam. Kota Wellington yang dingin kadang memperparah kondisi itu.

Lalu bagaimanakah pelayanan kesehatan untuk kehamilan dan secara umum di New Zealand? Menurut saya adalah very-very worst, sangat buruk dan lambat. Lalu kenapa mereka masuk dalam jajaran negara yang sehat? Menurut saya karena pelayanan kesehatan yang buruk inilah yang membuat orang malas berkunjung ke dokter atau klinik sehingga laporan orang sakit tidak setinggi di Indonesia. Akhirnya data orang sakit yang masuk ke Depkes-nya New Zealand jumlahnya sedikit.

Seburuk apapun di Indonesia kita dengan mudah bisa mendapatkan akses pelayanan kesehatan misalnya di Puskesmas, dokter umum atau klinik-klinik yang terdekat dengan tempat bermukim kita. Tanpa memandang apakah Anda warga asli atau pendatang, harga juga tak terlalu beda jauh.

Lalu bagaimana dengan di New Zealand? Berikut ini saya jelaskan berurutan:

  1. Pertama Anda datang ke GP (General Practisioner), atau katakanlah Puskesmas kalau di Indonesia Anda harus registrasi dulu dan menunggu selama dua minggu untuk proses pendaftaran, padahal saat kita mendaftar itu benar-benar sedang sakit.
  2. Setelah dua minggu approved by GP, baru mereka membuat appointment untuk bertemu dengan dokter, bisa jadi kalau Anda beruntung Anda bisa langsung ketemu dokter hari itu, tapi kalau tidak siap-siaplah ketemu dokter 5 hari sesudahnya. Inilah yang istri saya alami saat mau memeriksakan kehamilan.
  3. Habis ketemu dokter, baru mereka memberikan nomor telepon/kontak untuk Bidan/Midwife yang bisa kita hubungi untuk menangani kehamilan. Lagi-lagi harus appointment dulu dengan mereka melalui telepon atau datang langsung ke kliniknya.
  4. Pemeriksaan dokter kebanyakan tidak sedetail dokter-dokter di Indonesia, jarang diberi obat, seringnya vitamin saja. Pada beberapa kasus sakit apapun diberi obat yang sama, yaitu Panadol.
  5. Pemeriksaan kehamilan di sini sangat njelimet dan rumit, selain itu jika Anda bukan warga asli sini atau pendatang dengan Student Visa kurang dari dua tahun jangan harap dapat biaya murah.

Jadi, secara umum saya menganggap pelayanan kesehatan di New Zealand tak sebaik di negara kita Indonesia. Akses secara langsung bisa Anda dapatkan tanpa melalui prosedural yang njelimet dan berbelit-belit, biaya pun hampir sama biarpun Anda warga pendatang atau bukan.

Di New Zealand, Kangen Keluargakah?

Sumberejo, Japah, dan Blora. Aku merindukan mereka, merindukan Ayah dan Ibuku serta adik kecilku Wandono. Mau tak mau, kerinduan terhadap kampung halaman dan keluarga adalah hal yang harus kita tanggung saat kita berada di luar negeri.

Kakak perempuanku bilang bahwa Bapak minggu ini sedang pergi ke Ambon menemani adiknya, Pamanku, Lik Sadik. Sepertinya untuk urusan bisnis adiknya yang saat ini mulai tumbuh lagi.

Ibuku adalah seorang wanita Jawa yang lembut terhadap anak-anaknya, namun keras dalam menetapkan aturan. Ibu yang bisa mengerjakan pekerjaan multi task, kadang sebagai ayah saat Bapak sedang pergi keluar kota. Bapak lebih bersifat memberikan kebebasan pada anak-anaknya, jika menurutmu apa yang kamu lakukan benar, lakukanlah. Saya masih ingat saat Bapak marah besar dan mencambuk saya dengan cambuk rotan. Saya tak berani pulang, orang sekampung akhirnya mencari saya.

Sudah hampir 6 bulan kami tak bertatap muka dengan mereka. Mudah-mudahan saja Allah memberikan kesehatan pada mereka. Terakhir kami pergi ke sana adalah saat Lebaran 2008. Saya dari Surabaya menuju ke Semarang dan istri dari Jakarta menuju ke Semarang. Kami berdua akhirnya menginap di hotel Surya Semarang sebelum pulang ke Sumberejo Blora.