Known as the windiest City in the Southern hemisphere, and the last stop before heading into the South Island of NZ. Wellington is fast becoming the capital city of business and finance. With a young atmosphere, alot to do, connections to both islands, theres no wonder it is very popular for tourists throughout the year.
The accommodation I stayed in was a Hostel, in the centre of the city BASE, but there is also YHA, Nomads and Hotels for a little luxury. The price range for teh Hostel was 20NZD (£10) per night, with a great location to walk anywhere in the city .
1. Te Papa Museum – One of the best museums I have visited in a long time, it was full of exhibits for everyone, art, history, culture, photography. On a windy and rainy day, it was the perfect distraction. A beautiful building full of the history of New Zealand the first settlers, the animals which roam the country and the ocean around it. With modern and contemporary art pieces, as well as the traditional and old ones. I spent 4 hours there and still wasn’t finishes but all that learning works up an appetite!
2. Weta Studio Tours – The Wellington based studios were a huge part in the success of the LOTR films. The studios produced weapons, costumes, set designs, makeup and so much more to make the films that bit more authentic with the smallest of details and the upmost research. It was an amazing tour to go and see it with alot of props and models still there to get me even more excited. LOTR weren’t the only films they have worked on, with over 30 years in the business they work world wide with alot of block busters.
3. The LOTR premier cinema
I didn’t even know this until I arrived in Wellington but Peter Jackson has a strong connection to this city throughout the time the Lord of the Rings films were being made. Which is why the New Zealand premiers were actually in Wellington in the Embassy Theatre. A beautiful 1920’s art deco building, I visited with 3 friends on one of the many windy days here to go see a film. The theatre we were directed to was the main one which is where all the actors, directors and crew went to watch the films when they came out. I screamed when I saw the seats I was sitting in was Frodo Baggins, Orlando Bloom, Aragon and Gandalf’s seats where they sat! This nearly out did the actually film we saw!
4. Climb Mount Victoria, or drive up if you are lazy (or have a friend with a car), the views on a clear day go on for miles. With the harbour and clear view of the Te Papa Museum even along the front. It is just Wellington showing off again with the mountains surrounding the city to make it feel protected. The hill which looks over Wellington City, and a steep climb it is in deed, but so worth it for the views. My hike was due to some insider knowledge of knowing some of the scenes from the LOTR trilogy film Fellowship of the Rings was filmed on the way up. Well I obviously had to go check this out, so visited the Kataitai pathway, where the Hobbit Hideaway locations is, can you guess which scenes 🙂 For the nosey parkers, its a great drive down through the millionaire houses on the opposite side of Mount Victoria hill.
5. Brunch is biiigggg in Wellington, especially when the sun is out and the wind is on vacation. I headed for food along the Oriental Bay over looking the Harbour and the Carter fountain and came across Beach Babylon cafe which has incredible choices for everyone. I went for the famous Mince eggs benedict, which is apparently a weird but wonderful New Zealand favourite, with a celebratory Mimosa and catchups, life I was good!
6. I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in 7 years (Hi Bekki), and she had a whole list of things we were going to get up to, one of the main ones was Kayaking around the Harbour, and just enjoying the weather while it lasted. Along the water front there is tones of entertainment with musicians, people jumping in, food stalls and ofcourse the water clubs buildings, with rock climbing as well as the kayaks to rent for around 20NZD for an hour.
7. Go rent a scooter or some roller skates if you don’t fancy the water, which are just different ways of seeing the open Harbour fronts, take a break at the restaurants, have a look at the amazing boats that are docked, or get an ice cream from one of the many parlours. The scooters are all done from an app which you can download on your phone, Flamingo, or rent the roller skates from the kiosks along the bay.
8. Venture to the Botanical Gardens , with beautiful views, perfect picnic locations, and also a quiet atmosphere compared to the city sounds and volume. Its a luscious oasis of all kinds of plants from the English roses, to the tropical palm trees. The gardens are around a 35 minute walk from the city centre, but easy to access with the number 1 bus as well which runs round the city.
9. Wellington cable car is the last option to arrive at the Gardens in style. The famous red painted cable cars which are a picture perfect scene on alot of postcards for Wellington. Its been around for over 120 years, and provides some beautiful views of Wellington city and the Harbour , as well as Kelburn Park on the left. Its also a good price for such a huge landmark.
10. Cuba Street is the place to be for anything social, with bars, restaurants, cafes and amazing weekend night markets, it comes alive with backpackers, students and the locals to let their hair down. They have fusions of Thailand, Vietnamese, Japan and so many more cultures to really get your taste buds going. At the end of the day though all some people want is a local British or Irish pub and Wellington does that perfectly in this area.
11. One afternoon with my friend who lives here I ventured up the Road to Lower Hutt , its a suburb of Wellington, with supermarkets, cute wooden built houses, cute little streets, and alot of commuters from the city. It has the Victorian and old school buildings on the main high street. It has pubs with beer gardens and mainly gives a real local feel to Wellington. It was nice to relax, have a bbq and play games with my friends housemates and just chill as if I lived here.
12. The final adrenaline fueled activity that is very popular in Wellington is the 4 by 4 Quad Bikes which take you way up high in the surrounding mountains and dirt tracks, overlooking the ocean where you had basically started the trip. There was 1 hour to 2 days trails for those who wanted that extra adventurous level, but when you reach 900metre above the ocean all the mud and bumps is worth it! http://www.wellingtonadventures.co.nz/
Ofcourse Wellington is also the gateway to the South Island of New Zealand (Te Waipounamu), on the Monday morning after a great weekend in Wellington I was on my way. The one way ticket was 55NZD which was booked in advance to make sure you get a spot, and a huge ferry which takes 3 hours. There are three per day from Wellington Ferry Terminal. https://www.greatjourneysofnz.co.nz/interislander
Its one of the most picturesque boat rides I have ever been on, and that’s mainly from the last hour on the ferry when you are welcomed to the South by huge hills and breathtaking mountains, with beautiful bays and the most extraordinary colours and scenery. What a welcome!
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