Tied up outside Te Papa is the former navy ship F69, open on weekends to visitors for a gold coin donation. This Leander Class Frigate is the former HMNZS Wellington (F69). F69 served for 18 years in the Royal New Zealand Navy and travelled some 352,000 nautical miles as an ambassador of NZ and the City of Wellington. On or around the 12th November 2005 F69 will find its way to the seabed off the south coast of Wellington to create an artificial marine reef and a world class recreational diver facility.
I didn’t take the tour below decks but the upper decks and bridge were open for inspection. I was struck by the cramped nature of the spaces. A few years ago a submarine visited and was open to tours. I regret now that I didn’t take that tour. I’ve heard how cramped a submarine is. I was thinking of that when I toured F69, which must be a dozen times more spacious.
Click on my small photo above for a larger version. It was taken a few weeks ago from the top of Mount Victoria at the time of the Lions rugby tour. The Pacific Sun in bottom right was used as accommodation for visiting rugby fans. The F69 is tied up at Taranaki Wharf outside the Te Papa national museum Between the two is the marina and a construction area where the waterfront is being redeveloped and a wetland is being restored. At the top of the photo are the Rowing Club (on the left) and then Frank Kitts Park.