Explore New Zealand’s constitutional and cultural capital, infamous for its windy weather and was voted as 'The Coolest Little Capital in the World' by Lonely Planet.
Wellington offers a vibrant city centre with museums, theatres, galleries and boutiques. It has been said that this pedestrian friendly city has more bars and restaurants per capita than New York. Take some time to soak in the creative vibes and check out the great craft beer and café scene during your visit.
Te Papa Tongarewa
A must visit whilst in town is the Te Papa Tongarewa museum, New Zealand’s highly interactive national museum. Explore an amazing collection of Maori artefacts, natural history and environment exhibitions. There is also a hands-on discovery centre for children. The general admission to the museum is free but some temporary exhibitions may have an entry charge. The Te Papa Tongarewa museum is open from 10am to 6pm daily.
This is a behind-the-scenes look into the creativity of 20 years of work on films such as The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Hobbit, and Thunderbirds Are Go. There are a variety of tours on offer depending on your interests. Take a morning or an afternoon to discover this impressive creative Weta Workshop.
Take a trip up the steep slope from Lambton Quay to Kelburn in a historic Cable Car. At the top, soak in the views over the city and visit the Cable Car Museum, the Carter Observatory or the Botanic Gardens. The cable car runs approximately every 10 minutes and prices are $9 for adults and $4.50 for children (return).
Stroll through the colourful floral displays in Wellington’s Botanic Gardens. Spread over 26 hectares these gardens are impressive. Take a walk amongst the gardens at your own pace during the opening hours from sunrise to sunset. If you wish take part in one of the garden tours offered – these need to be pre booked.
Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary
Just a 5-minute shuttle ride from the top of the Cable Car lies the Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary. The world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary tells New Zealand’s unique conservation story on 225 hectares. Pay the sanctuary a visit and learn about their 500 year vision ‘to restore one of Wellington’s valley forest and freshwater ecosystem as closely as possible to its pre-human state’.
You can visit the sanctuary from 9am to 5pm daily (except Christmas Day) with a general admission of $19.50 for adults and $10 for children (5-17 years old). There is even an option to visit Zealandia at night from 7.45pm.
Mt Victoria Lookout
Enjoy stunning vistas of Tinakori Hill, the Hut Valley, Eastern Harbour Bays and the Miramar Peninsula from Wellington’s most accessible view point. Walk, drive or take the bus (No 20) up the 196m high lookout point.
As a Tolkien enthusiast it might interest you that a location on the slopes of the mountain was used by Peter Jackson filming the first movie of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – but being a real fan you might already know that.
Makara Walking Track
If you are keen to do some hiking around the region you should not miss out on the 6km Makara Track. Hike along the wild sea coast and explore a Pa (Maori fortress) site which lies on the western end of Fisherman’s Bay. Pass gun emplacements at the top of the cliffs marking Fort Opau. The track takes 3 to 4 hours (return), for more information on what to take and when the track will be closed for lambing visit the website of the Department of Conservation.
Red Rocks Reserve
This one hour walk on the South Coast will lead you to unusual rock formations. The rock formations at Red Rock Reserve were created when an outcrop of ancient volcanic pillow lava was embedded into younger greywacke, along with red and green siltstone. The coastal walk continues to Sinclair Head, a great location to spot New Zealand’ fur seals. Note that there is no vehicle access on the weekends as the gates are locked.
Wellington will blow your hair back.