Wellington in Brief
On the deep south west tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range is New Zealand’s capital city – Wellington. It is the world’s most southernmost capital in the entire world. Strong winds through the Cook Strait give it the nickname “Windy Wellington”. Wellington, a compact city, which encompasses a waterfront promenade, sandy beaches, a working harbour and colourful timber houses on surrounding hills. Many of the city’s suburbs are high above the city centre and the city’s business centre is located close to the Lambton Harbour, part of Wellington Harbour and lies along a geological fault which can clearly be seen along its western shoreline. From Lambton Quay, the iconic red Wellington Cable Car heads to the Wellington Botanic Gardens.
Wellington is a city that keeps every tourists come to enjoy
One of the most nature-filled places on earth to visit is the city of Wellington, New Zealand’s capital. This compact city with a powerful mix of culture, history, nature and cuisine also makes its cultural, political and culinary capital. Wellington city is trendy, creative and begging to be explored. It is a popular tourist destination and visitors all over the world flock here to take in its natural splendour, with its picturesque harbour and green hills, populated with colonial villas. This city has plenty of great restaurants, night markets and food trucks makes Wellingtonians, the masters of casual dining. With the fresh ocean winds blowing off the Cook Strait makes it very inviting to kayak in the harbour or simply exploring the beach. Wellington city is surrounded by picturesque walking and hiking tracks, both inland and coastal and the city centre is replete with museums, street arts and imbued with creativity.
It was with this mind-set and anticipation that I set out to explore this beautiful city of Wellington in the morning as the day begins with the populous of Wellington city go about doing their daily routines. I began with a cup of coffee at a downtown cafe and once my eyes were open, I began my tour with a drive up to Mount Victoria, which is within walking distance from Wellington central city. To the Wellingtonians, this city is nicknamed “Windy Wellington”, but ironically, the day I was there, it was picture perfect. There was not a cloud in the sky, the cool breeze was flowing and not a sight of storm. As I ventured on top of Mount Victoria, I was rewarded with the 360′ panoramic view of the city, the hills and the ocean. With the impressing breathtaking views, it was hard to walk away from it. Without missing out on the view, I had to take a photograph of the city in its splendour.
Leaving this incredible views of Mt Victoria, I ventured off to see the flora and fauna of Wellington’s city botanical garden. Like many other botanical gardens around the world, you tend to be faced with flowers, plants, design, styles and the structure of the area but they are all unique in their own ways. This was no exception. The Welling Botanic Gardens, covers 25 hectares of land on the side of the hill between Thorndon and Kelburn, near central Wellington. The garden features 25 hectares of protected native forest, conifers, plant collections and seasonal displays. They also feature a variety of non-native species, including an extensive Rose Garden which was my favourite. It is classified as a Garden of National Significance by the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture. Amazingly, there is a Cable Car that runs between Lambton Quay and the top of the Botanic Garden, and it is the most direct way to get from the top part of the garden to Wellington’s Business District. The Gardens features a large Victorian-style glasshouse, the Begonia House, the Lady Norwood Rose Garden and the Treehouse Visitor Centre.
After enjoying the fabulous nature of Botanical Gardens, it was time to observe the eclectic architecture, including the Parliament building with its beehive-shaped executive wing and the old Government Buildings. Here I could feel the grace and elegance of the 1800s at Government Buildings, the largest wooden building in the southern hemisphere.
The next on the tour-card was to ride a historic Wellington cable car from Lambton Quay to the Botanic Garden and then making my way back down slowly on foot, weaving through the gardens on scenic paths. No trip to Wellington is complete without taking a short ride on this famous Cable Car. Here I get to enjoy the great views from the lookout and easy access to the Botanic Garden, Cable Car Museum, Space Place (Carter Observatory) and Zealandia.
It was time to look at the history of this South Pacific capital. I headed to Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, New Zealand’s national museum which is located on the waterfront. The museum outlines the country’s cultural heritage. Te Papa, as it’s colloquially known, means ‘our place’ and is one of the best interactive museums in the world. This museum has four floors covering the history of Wellington. Celebrating the city’s maritime history, early Maori and European settlement, and the growth of the region. The museum seeks to tell Wellington’s stories and how the city has evolved over its 150 years as capital of New Zealand.
To cap off my day of Wellington sightseeing, I headed to the wharf with a sip of locally brewed beer and enjoyed some fine dining at one of the many cozy city centre restaurants.
Getting to Wellington is easily accessible with direct flights to Wellington from major cities. To be adventurous, you can take a direct flight to Auckland and leisurely drive down to the bottom of the north island with scenic detours along the way.
Where to stay?
There are various types of accommodations in the area to suit all budget ranging from resorts, backpacker, holiday houses, apartments, B&Bs and camping nearby. Also, the town offers a range of properties throughout the region to fit most holiday styles and budgets.
Wellington is jam-packed with things to do. The hardest part of planning “what to do” is deciding “what to do first”. Some of the most popular attractions include the Museum of Wellington City and Sea, Welling Zoo, Botanical Garden and the Zealandia and Wellington Cable Car.
Driving around in this area is possible if you have the time and want to see more of the area on your visit. To fully enjoy your stay in this area and to make the most of the region’s attractions, I’d recommend staying right in the main centre of the area. This way you don’t have to fight the traffic from locals on their daily commute and you get to sample the beautiful Wellington
Exploring the area
The city of Wellington has action-packed adventure activities like mountain biking and sea-water kayaking, as well as beautiful walks around the harbour and surrounding hills. Many visitors try the visually stunning Makara Peak track, as well as the City to Sea walk where you can experience the best of Wellington’s waterfront. It is entirely possible to get around and visit many attractions and places in this area and many are within walking distances. However, my recommendation would be to hire a car or do a self-drive tour and explore the area on your own time. Driving in this area is straightforward as long as you keep your wits. When visiting new areas, be aware of no-drive zones and one-way streets. Sometimes, you will save yourself a few headaches when it comes to parking or driving around places to locate the area, it is best to go on a tour and get away with less stress.