THE QUIRKIEST CITY IN NEW ZEALAND
Wellington, also known as the ‘Windy City’ is the capital of New Zealand and the third most populous urban area in the country. This is contrary to most people’s belief that Auckland is the capital, when in fact Wellington, with its bohemian feel is the true hub. The cities stunning architecture and eclectic vibe give this city a great personality that should not be missed.
It has so much character and provides an incredible array of nightlife, restaurants, art exhibits, museums, activities, which makes it a must visit destination.
Here are my Top 10:
1. Walk around the waterfront near Oriental Bay
The waterfront is a walkable public space with cafes, parks, sculpture, bars and ice cream vendors. Lots of people enjoy walking, jogging, skating, or cycling along the main beach front, especially when the sun is out. There are a few markets open on the weekend, then relax and swim at Oriental Bay in the beautiful calm waters and lovely beach.
This is a great, free way to spend a day in Wellington, with some amazing views.
2. Check out Te Papa
The national museum is huge, covers Maori and Colonial history, is great for kids, and has an extensive section on the geology of New Zealand. The exhibits about the biological, cultural, and social history sections fo the museum are innovative and interactive. Best of all? It’s free and has dinosaurs!
3. Head to the lookout points
Wellington City is surrounded by hills, so there are a number of good vantage points. Head up to one of them by bike, bus, or cable car and get an insane view of the surrounding hills.
One of my favourites was Mount Victoria, which offers great views of the city harbour. It is a 196m high hill that is easily accessible by car or walking tracks from Oriental Bay. Apart from the platform that gives the spectator 360 degree views of the city, it’s a great place for taking a walk.
Lord of the Rings fans will be eager to know that some scenes for the first movie in the trilogy were shot in the forest up there, including the scene of the four hobbits cowering under the root of a large tree to hide from the ringwraiths.
4. Become hip on Cuba Street
Welcome to the infamous Cuba Street! Here you can watch the hipsters, artists, and vintage-styled dressers drinking coffee and playing live music. Cuba Street has a bohemian vibe with lots of colorful shops, bars, and cafes. There are also lots of quirky monuments such as the bucket fountain (as shown above).
5. Rent a car and drive the Kapiti Coast
Kapiti Coast is Wellingtons answer to a typical seaside destination. With kilometres and kilometres of beach, and locals have found this the perfect place to walk their dogs and create awesome teepees made from driftwood sticks that are scattered throughout. The tide and the driftwood have created all sorts of crazy patterns on the beach, making it a must see and the chance for some awesome photos. Amongst the driftwood, you will find heaps of closed shellfish, however due to regulations you are not allowed to collect.
It is definitely worth a visit on a beautiful sunny day, take a towel, some suncream (believe me you will need it) and hit the beach!
6. Visit the infamous Wellington ‘Hollywood’ sign
Welcome to Wellywood! The home of the infamous Wellington-Hollywood style sign, with the last of the letters being ‘blown-away’ by the windy conditions often found in the Windy City. Most people often see this sign when flying to and from, but you can also drive and take photos (like mine above) of the sign at your own leisure.
7. Surf at Lyall Bay
The bay is a popular surf beach, featuring a breakwater at the eastern end. It has also been the site of surf lifesaving championships, and is home to two surf lifesaving clubs. If you go down at any time during the day you will see a number of surfers and windsurfers enjoying the swells, making for some great photo opportunities.
8. Jump around at Uptown Bounce
This has to be the most fun I have had in ages! Whilst slightly out of breath after only ten minutes of jumping around, I finally built up the courage to start doing front flips and varian flips, which was awesome!
With a number of interconnected trampolines wall-to-wall, angled trampolines allow you to literally bounce off the walls, airbags, Olympic trampolines, wall running, dodgeball, slam dunk, parkour vaults, rock climbing wall, battle beam, there is definitely something for everyone!
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9. Relax in the Botanic Gardens
A nice place to go for a picnic or just an afternoon walk. You can take the Cable Car from Lambton Quay for a quick five-minute trip to the top though you can walk up to the gardens. They are filled with great views, colorful flowers, dinosaurs in ponds, lawns to hang out in, and pretty much everything you need to have a great day outside. Entry is free!
10. Wrights Hill Fortress
This circular artillery embankment was built in the early 1940s, and is made up of long underground tunnels which were actually used to create the sound of the dwarven mines of Middle Earth for Lord of the Rings. Completed in the final years of World War II, the fort was meant to house three guns, although only two were ever built.
Although the base never saw any action during the war, both of the guns were fired in the years following. Today the fortress has been restored and officially named a historic landmark. TV shows and movie scenes are often shot here, even in the Fellowship of the Ring.