Despite the cold windy climate conditions, Wellington stands out to be a quirky and stylish city. Be it arts and culture, food and beverage or fashion and style, New Zealand’s capital city has something for everyone to be impressed about.
Why we love it: When guidebook giant Lonely Planet called the city ‘the coolest capital in the world’ and placed it among the top 10 cities to visit in 2011, you know there is something about Wellington. For the stylish and sophisticated women Wellington has everything we need under the sun. Fantastic boutique shopping, excellent coffee, beautiful water front and an A-list film industry. Even the strong winds from the south can’t dampen this lively city.
What to do: For such a small city Wellington has so much to offer. Catch the cable car up the hills for a panoramic view of the city; stroll along one of the walking paths in the Botanic Gardens; catch a planetarium show at the Carter Observatory; visit Te Papa museum and learn about all things Kiwi; enjoy strong aromatic coffee in one of the city’s excellent cafes; wonder through Cuba Street and soak up the Bohemian atmosphere and shop the boutiques of local designers. If you get a bit bored of the city, get a train out to Wairarapa and enjoy a day trip in the valley, taste some wine and cycle through the vineyards. You’ll never run out of things to do.
Who to go with: Wellington caters well for all types and styles of travelers. Families with children will enjoy the cable car and the museums and observatory; get a bunch of girlfriends together, gossip over coffee and go on a shopping spree on Lambton Quay, then enjoy the night life at one of the city’s quirky bars.
How long to go for: Wellington is perfect for a weekend city break; however you’ll find that there are enough activities and sights to keep you occupied for a week.
How to get around: Walking is the best way to see the city and all its laneways, however there are regular buses that runs around the city centre as well as beyond its boundaries. Taxis can easily be hailed off the streets.
5 must dos: Besides enjoying the culinary delights of Wellington, there are five things you can’t miss while exploring this city.
1. Take a ride on the cable car: Wellington’s iconic cable car takes you up the hills for a gorgeous view of the city, and browses the cable car museum to learn the history of its construction.
2. While you are up there, pay a visit to Carter Observatory, where you can catch a planetarium show that takes you beyond the galaxies to visit other planets and stars.
3. Visit Te Papa Tongarewa: Museum of New Zealand. This excellent museum is located right on the harbor and has fantastic exhibits throughout six floors.
4. Visit Zealandia: An ambitious experiment that is to last 500 years, attempting to restore a patch of fenced off land back to it was before human occupation. Join a night tour and listen to the bird songs that have returned to this part of the world, and the opportunity to sight a Kiwi.
5. Go on a Movie Tour: Wellington is Sir Peter Jackson’s playground and as cheesy as it sounds, you can’t pretend you don’t like the idea of being able to visit the locations where parts of the Lord of the Rings series were filmed. The tour will also visit Weta Cave, where many of the special effect and models for films are on display.
Shopping: Many of the New Zealand designers call Wellington home and you can find excellent boutique shopping. Some of the best are Karen Walker (www.karenwalker.com), Robyn Mathieson (www.robynmathieson.co.nz) and Andrea Moore (www.andreamoore.co.nz). Do pay a visit to The Village Goldsmith (www.villagegoldsmith.co.nz), whose award winning jewelers are behind some of the most exquisite rings and necklaces you’ll ever see.
Wellington also has its own version of department store similar to Harrods of London. Visit it in a heritage building on Lambton Quay, complete with a smiling door man.
When to go: Visit any time of the year and you’ll find something happening in Wellington. Visit the event guide to coincide your visit with anything that might take your fancy.
Prices: A room at the Rydges Hotel Wellington start from NZ$179 per night; the hotel is also home to the Portlander restaurant, whose NZ$12 burger lunches are excellent value; a meal at the popular Floriditas Café on Cuba Street will cost around NZ$30 per person; a cup of coffee cost on average NZ$4.
For further info: www.wellingtonnz.com
What are some of your favorite places in Wellington? What else would you recommend to do? Share it with us in the comments below.