Google Transit comes to Wellington

In a New Zealand first, Wellington’s public transport info is now available in Google Maps letting you plan trips via bus and train with Google’s Transit service. To test it out, I gave it a simple trip from home to Molly Malones on Courtenay Place and it presented an interesting solution first up,

Google Transit service

The recommendation (to get me to town at the earliest time possible) was to take a bus the couple of hundred metres to the end of the street, walk down to the airport, then jump on the Airport Flyer to town. The second option was to wait 20 minutes and get a direct bus to town arriving 15 minutes after the first option. Think I’ll stick to number 2!

This type of public transport trip planning was already available in Wellington via the metlink website, but Google’s implementation is far superior in that you can enter business and place names, not just streets or addresses as with the metlink journey planner.

The real benefit however, is likely to be for Google Maps users on mobile phones. Google’s services work particularly well on cellphones (esp “smart” phones) and this will be a boon for anyone out and about in town (even those enjoying a beer at Molly’s) wondering about public transport options…

So props to Greater Wellington and Google for further improving an already useful service!

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New Caledonia

Had a quick trip to New Caledonia last week on business, seriously it was for work (honest!). Here’s the local met office in Noumea to prove it,

The hotel we stayed in shared a nice big pool with a somewhat flasher hotel right next door, but the accommodation was comfortable and air conditioned. Just two nights in Noumea with a full day in the office didn’t leave much time for sightseeing. We did manage a couple of good meals however, including a nice crab curry and Italian pizza for me.

Tip for travelling in foreign countries: figure out the currency first! Turns out our first meal was rather pricey at 10,000 XPF for two, or around NZ$166. The bottled beer at NZ$13 a pop probably didn’t help!

For a few more photos, head over to my albums at Picasa.

Perth Pics

A quick heads up on some additions to the Photo Gallery from our trip. Click through for travel pics and also a few of the wee man…

Crikey Mate!

Airfares to Perth via Brisbane: $2000

Two weeks accommodation: $0 (friends/family rock!)

The wife’s shopping: $…? (to scared to ask!)

Basking on a white sand beach with a cold one in between swims and blats on the jet ski while your mates freeze their butts off back in NZ: $ PRICELESS!!! 🙂

A quick bach break…

A gap in my roster let us get over to the bach earlier this week – Matthew’s first trip on a ship and a nice break with family for us. Here’s a few photos and a sound clip…

Spotted this setup when we arrived at the ferry terminal. Yes that is a truck with a car and trailer, towing a boat and a caravan.

Glad we didn’t meet that on the narrow and windy Queen Charlotte Drive!

Next up is the view from the bach after some extra pruning opened up the view to the bay a litte more.

The sound clip from our time in the sounds is of the early morning birdsong that started soon after 5am (click link to play or download mp3).

And finally, here’s three generations of Noblemen 😀 – John, Matthew and Chris.

First trip on a plane

Matthew has now had his first trip on a plane. Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly of the weekend…

The Good

  • The little man didn’t seem to mind the plane at all – some drinking on the up and down obviously helped and he even managed some sleep in the cruise.
  • In more first time family greets Matthew met Aunty Sarah from Perth and was very happy to do so!
  • The wedding of Steve and Jane in the Catlins went off without a hitch. Nice ceremony, good speeches and a superb buffet.

The Bad and the Ugly

  • South Otago weather. Brrr. Cold and wet. Luckily there was a wet option for the wedding which included a large open fire.
  • Air New Zealand leaving two bags in Wellington and us having to chase them up all afternoon to get a straight answer on if and when they would be delivered. The lack of apology by baggage staff at Dunedin airport didn’t help either.

Despite the bad and the ugly the weekend was a success overall and proved to us that it’s not impossible to travel with an infant!

Since arriving home we’ve moved Matthew into his cot, which looks way to big for him, but the bassinet is getting a little small. This has resulted in many houdini acts – he can get out of his bedding within minutes!

He’s also taken a liking to talking to himself… (click to play or download mp3)

More from Melbourne

Now that I’m back on affordable internet (!) here’s the latest update to the photo albums.

BoM muralIn fairness to Melbourne, the weather did improve but remained a little cool (as the folks from the north of the island on the course will attest to!) This pic is part of the rather interesting mural in the foyer of the Bureau of Meteorology.

For more photos, mainly from around the Docklands area where both the accomodation and the BoM are based, click through to the Melbourne 2006 album

The course was fantastic and as a group we had some fun times, dined out lots and managed not to lose too much to the casino! I also enjoyed (well kinda!) my first live game of AFL which turned out to be much less of a walkover than anticipated. Even better was being surrounded by Aussies when both NZ rugby teams won in the semi-finals of the Super 14!

Once again I really enjoyed Melbourne (even though work dominated this trip) and look forward to returning again…