Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and located at the bottom of the North Island. Known as the “Windy City” or “Windy Wellington” due to the strong southerly’s.
This city review will outline a few of the activities worth doing if you’re travelling to Wellington, although I’ve not lived there for 7+ years I still regularly travel home and I spent one month in Wellington during the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Getting around the city is easy enough on foot and public transport is reliable.
Things to do and see:
Te Papa is a tribute to all that is New Zealand, arts and culture. The museum holds the largest squid ever caught (preserved in a large tank) there’s permanent exhibitions about the natural environment and stories of New Zealand's indigenous people, the Māori. Entry is FREE but you may have to pay for the short-term exhibitions on display. Click on the following link for more information. http://www.tepapa.govt.nz
The Weta Cave is a mini museum showcasing some of the characters, props and displays from your favourite movies. Co founded by Peter Jackson “Lord of the rings” (film producer/director) The Weta Cave is definitely worth a look and entry is FREE. Click on the following link for more information. http://www.wetanz.com/
The Wellington Cable car is one of Wellington’s oldest tourist attractions and runs from Lambton Quay in the heart of the city to the top entrance of the Botanical Gardens. At the top viewing platform you’ll have great views over the city and harbour. A return fare costs roughly $6 (NZ dollars) http://www.wellingtoncablecar.co.nz/
The Botanical Garden is a lovely spot to wonder around the native bush, rose gardens, colourful floral displays and exotic forests. It’s a huge area and there’s a number of walking tracks and spots to have a picnic lunch. You can access the gardens from the Cable car or from Glenmore Street in Thorndon. Click on the following link for more information. http://www.wellington.govt.nz/services/gardens/botanicgardens/botanicgardens.html
If you are into arty things check out the City Gallery in Civic Square, some exhibitions have free entry. Link for more info www.citygallery.org.nz
Take a walk around the waterfront and enjoy the scenery, you can hire bikes and there’s a vertical bungy in Frank Kitts park. Walking around Oriental Bay is particularly beautiful (looking back across the bay towards the city), here you’ll find a number of cafes/restaurants and you can even hire a paddle boat to take out into the lagoon.
If you’re after a spot of shopping, head to the Golden Mile on Lambton Quay. Here you’ll find some of the best shopping and dining spots in Wellington. To enjoy Wellington’s café culture I’d suggest heading to Cuba Street.
For a good night on the town I’d suggest heading to Courtney Place, you’ll find a range of bars/clubs to party the night away. Make sure you finish your night of with the best burgers in town from Burger Fuel (corner of Courtney Place).
Here’s a list of other things to do in and around the city…
- Wellington Zoo
- Parliament buildings (Beehive) Entry is free.
- Mt Victoria, amazing views over the city
- Weekend markets, City Market and Harbourside Markets (by Te Papa Sunday mornings).
- Zealandia, The Karori Sanctuary Experience (home to some of the rarest and most extraordinary wildlife on the planet)
If you have a car and have time to venture outside of the city I would recommend the following:
- Spend a day or two on the Kapiti Coast (45min drive from Wellington). Here you’ll find lovely beaches, shopping and you can do a boat tour out to Kapiti Island, (Nature reserve, bush walks and bird sanctuary). Other recommended activities, Southwards Car museum houses more than 400 automobiles, including a 1950 Cadillac "Gangster Special" that had belonged to gangster Mickey Cohen, and for the kiddies head to Lindale Farm park.
- Day trip to Picton, early morning ferry crossing on the Interislander Ferry.
- Head to Lower Hutt & Upper Hutt, spot of shopping at Westfield Queensgate or relax around the Bays.
Wellington Airport: The Airport is located roughly 30 minutes drive from Wellington city. Rental cars and taxis are available or you can catch the Airport flyer bus, this departs every 15 minutes and costs roughly $4 (NZ dollars) to the city centre. Look out for the Orange buses, last departure daily from the airport is 9.30pm (at last check).
Accommodation: Wellington has a number of Hotels/motels and backpackers to choose from, I’ve stayed at a number of them over the years and I can recommend the following. Intercontinental Hotel - good location across from the waterfront, it’s quite pricey but definitely worth it. SilverOaks Hotel on Thorndon – directly opposite the Botanical Gardens, rooms are quite dated but not bad for the price.Wellywood Backpackers – great location and perfect for travellers on a budget.
Would you recommend this City: Yes
Overall rating: 4 out of 5