Wellington, the wondrous and windy, capital of New Zealand. A city strung together with walking in mind, where roads were merely an afterthought. A place that is large in size but will forever have a small town feel. A place thriving with a mix of students, businessmen, politicians, hipsters and budding actors (actresses) and musicians. A Place I am proud to call my home.
Follows is my list of the ten things I wouldn’t dare miss doing while in wellington;
1: Oriental Parade
Number one has to be a walk down Oriental Parade. Here is where I fell in love with this city, one of my favorite places in the world. On a sunny day, chuck on your walking shoes and head for the water. You can start by swinging out around the front of Te Papa Museum, pass by the Solace in the wind sculpture (also known as the naked man), the Clyde Quay Wharf Luxury apartments, shaped like a boat and pop down in front of the blue and white boat sheds. You’ve now made it to Oriental so just keep walking, walking, just keep walking. Lay a towel out and enjoy the sun. This surely the inspiration for the classic #cantbeatwellingtononagoodday. Once the ultra violet rays have done there thing pop in to Kaffee Eis for ice cold gelato. There flavors change daily and they’re always willing to give out tasters, but if you get the chance, the Bon Bon Rocher (a twist on the classic Ferrero Rocher) is a fave. After sunset this walk becomes even more magical if it’s possible. The lights in the trees twinkle above as you look out over the explosion of city lights across the water.
2: Mount Victoria
If you’re looking for stunning 360 views over Welly then Mount Victoria Lookout is your one stop spot. The lookout can be conquered in a number of ways so all ages can enjoy the area. If you’re after a little exercise take the track that starts at the top of Majoribanks Street, or up one of the many tracks leading off of Oriental Parade. Or if you want a more relaxing activity you can drive or take a bus up to the car park located at the top of the hill.
3: Te Papa Tongarewa
While in Wellington you can’t pass up the opportunity to visit the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa. A great place to learn about the culture and heritage of New Zealand. Te Papa houses a full scale Marae (meeting place), a colossal squid and much more, as part of its permanent exhibitions. Well worth a watch is the ‘Golden Days’ movie which runs every 20 minutes located on level 4. Te Papa also has ever changing temporary exhibits within the museum. Currently running is a ‘Dream Works Animation’ exhibition that’s there till 28th March 2016 and a major highlight is the ‘Gallipoli: Scale of War’ Exhibit which is here till 2018. Te Papa has free entry for most exhibits.
4: Weta Workshop
Lights, camera and action! Calling all LOTR (Lord of the Rings) and movie fans time to head on over to the Miramar Peninsula and check out the world famous Weta Workshop. Weta, discovered by Richard and Tania is home to the leading design and effects facilities servicing all manner of creative industries. Entry is free to the Weta Cave which houses props and collectables and a free behind the scenes film. But I would recommend taking a tour and learning more about the artistry and creativity behind the many movies and shows that we have all come to know and love. Get the opportunity to see the artists in action and hear exactly how the movies came to life. There is varying length tours with varying prices allocated to suit your needs.
5: Coffee and Food
Now let me just put it out there and say that it would be impossible for me to tell you about all the best and favorite coffee joints, cafes, restaurants and food trucks in Wellington in this already jam packed posted. But I will let you in on a few of the gems that top my list. Wellington has to be one of the coffee capitals of the world (no seriously, CNN recently named us in the top 8 international coffee destinations) and nearly all cafes will serve you a good cuppa joe. However, Memphis Belle located on Dixon Street offer great coffee at even better prices. The Flight Coffee Hangar and Raglan Roast also get a special mention. If coffee is not your thing but a creamy hot chocolate is more to your palate, then hit up Scopa on Cuba Street for creamy, rich decadence. Oh and the food there is exquisite also. Duke Carvell’s gets a special mention here too. For food I’ll just quickly list the best of the best.
Snickers milkshakes at Fidels Café,
Fine dining at Logan Brown,
The best brunch in town at Prefab Café,
Sharing plates at Matterhorn,
Cocktails and deserts at The Library.
If you are lucky enough to be in Welly in September and October then pull on that special outfit and grab your heels and enjoy a night of non-stop entertainment at the WOW, Wellingtons World of Wearable Art show. This 2 hour spectacular showcases the international talent of designers, fashion, dance, theatre, music and art. WOW has been around for 27 years and continues to bring people from all over the world to the TSB Arena, but get your tickets quick because shows do sell out. Tickets go on sale in March. If you’re not able to make it to Welly during this time then don’t fret, Welly offers multiple collections of theatre, music and dance performances. Check out the St James Theatre on Courtney Place and Circa Theatre just opposite Te Papa Museum.
7: Wellington Zoo
As a lover of all things nature, a trip to Wellington Zoo is highly recommended. Get a chance to watch penguins swim, kangaroos hop around and cheeky monkeys play. If you’re lucky you might be able to spot a very special flightless bird, the national icon of New Zealand, the kiwi, in one of the nocturnal houses. If you plan ahead you can get the chance to enjoy one of the close encounters with Cheetahs, Lions, Giraffes, Lemurs, Meerkats or Red Pandas. Prices range with adults at $21.00, children at $10.50 and concession at $16.00.
8: The Bays
If you can get your hands on car then definitely take a drive out of the city centre and around the bays. Follow the road around Oriental Bay, past Evans Bay and out towards Shelly Bay. Pop into the Chocolate Fish café for some lunch or a coffee in the sun. Then lookout for the Massey Memorial sign, park up the car and take the short walk up the hill to the memorial. Enjoy the scenic views as you keep driving around through Scorching Bay, Breaker Bay and over to Lyall Bay.
9: The Embassy Theatre
When it’s time to catch that new flick that just came out, that you’ve been dying to see, head to the top of Courtney Place and grab a ticket for the Embassy Theatre. Grab your popcorn and drink and enjoy the classical styled architecture as you make your way to your seat. As the only custom built 1920’s cinema still running within New Zealand, it makes for a top pick.
10: Cuba Street
Cuba Street encapsulates the true essence of Wellington. A Street teeming with culinary delights and creative and quirky shops you really need only walk and explore this street to feel a part of the city culture. A registered Historic area since 1995, the cobble stoned path is lined with a clash of historic and modern architecture. Cuba is hard to miss in the centre of town and is always full of people meeting, shopping, dining, busking and going about their everyday routines. Cuba is absolutely and positively Wellington.