Our local guide took us wading through an underground river to get us to a cave. He turned off the flash light while we were still knee high in water, and to our amazement, tiny lights in the ceiling revealed that the cave was full of glow worms. The sight was absolutely amazing. When asked why this wasn't a huge tourist attraction, our local guide told us that, "oh, there are bigger caves further north, where the entire way is paved." He gave us a big grin. "It's just more of an experience to wade through the underground river to get there."
Cuba Mall is one of the main shopping and dining areas in Wellington. It is closed to traffic and is a pleasant part of town to wander around. If you walk out of the Civic Square, head south down Willis St., and then turn left into Dixon St. you'll get there (its about 5 miutes walk). There are lots of nice pubs, restaurants, coffee houses and arts and crafts shops. Buskers and street performers can often be seen in the mall in the summer.
Kapiti Island is a native bird reserve which can only be accessed by chartered boat with a special permit issued by the government. There is one caretaker stationed on the Island which is some 5km off shore from the beach resort town of Paraparaumu.
This photo is taken of Kapiti from our home.
Ok, if you are into bush walks, Wellington supports quite a number of those within the area. One in particular is around a 20 minute drive from downtown Wellington, to another little city within Wellington, called Porirua. We have a walkway through bush called 'Colonial Knob' which to me would be just for the fit, I have only seen it, but many a tourist has walked it and enjoyed it and the view at the end.
This is a memorial in a cemetary of most of the people who died in earthquake of 1931. It is a very interesting cemetary. It is on top of a hill and is called Island Park Cemetary. There is a very good view from there of Napier. It is about 10 minutes drive from Napier, to Taradale.
Steam Train buff's The Mainline Steam Museum and Workshops at Paekakariki are a must. Also a few miles north of Wellington but for the enthralled in this ancient form of rail a wonderful experience , at certain times one is able to drive the steam engines , for a donation of course. The engine sheds and workshops plus the yards are full of the wagons, coaches, spares and working units of the steam era , many an hour may be spent wandering there
Remember the days of the Trams , the Clang of the brake bell the hustle of the comuters scrambling to and from from the steps of the trams all rushing to work and home again , well re-live that experience without the crush , at the Queens Elizabeth Park Tram Museum , just North Of Paekakariki, Where sevral working trams run a 3 Kilometer line out to the beach and back , and a large workshop and Museum allows you to slip back in time , the Drivers are pleasant and the people you meet on board extremely helpful, and friendly
Titahi Bay Beach , in the Northern city of Porirua, a jewel in the sun , no more than 30 ks North of the city a tranquil beach , catering for all coastal activities , from swimming , surfing, rock climbing , walking tracks encompassing fantastic vista's of the South Island and Mana Island. Also fishing , diving and all manner of water sports , a safe beach patrolled during the summer by life guards.
The Open Air markets , like very where in the world New Zealand have the Markets. the One picture one of two on Saturdays in the wellington Area, in the grounds of the Porirua hospital, running from about 7.30 till 11am all manner of activites and products maybe found there, from McDonalds toys to Muisc tapes.
Known as the second chance Market the market in the town centre runs from 4am ish till 9am when the retail centre opens up, all the main centre's have a market , just as a local.
Not off the beaten track but a must to see and do , as all roads east head there, The Wine growing region of Martinborough over the Rimutuka Hill and in the Wiarappa , several world class vineyards, have established themselves in the rich river flat valley, Bus companies run day tours there , or you can take you car and do your own thing , Martinborugh host several wine and food festivals there throughtout the year, buy the wine from those who produced it at good prices,for something different hold your wedding or celebration at a vineyard, the town of Martinborough has many small resturants and cafe's fearturing a wide variety of quisine and local wines, there is a Golf course as well for some alternative activity,along with fishing, rafting, canoeing, diving and surfing. Shopping at the many towns you pass is also good especially if you are after the antiques and or something different.
Kaitoke Regional Park - This is only for LOTR fans, as the park was used in the film as the location of Rivendell, the Last Homely House of Lord Elrond. Of course, there is nothing left of the film scenes.... but the park is nice and with a little imagination, you may even see elves behind the trees :-).
The Park is close to Upper Hutt, about half an hour drive from Wellington.
These things are more things that depend on your interests as to whether you'd like them or not:
RAINBOW'S END - it's our one and ONLY theme park people. I only really like 3 or 4 rides there, been there TOO much but it's nice for kids etc. and if you miss roller coasters etc.! If you go DO check out the Flume Ride, very nice!
CAMERON POOLS: Sauna, Steam Room, Spa and two indoor pools, one for swimming lessons.
AUCKLAND ZOO: Not really off the beaten path but I have mixed views on zoos - on one hand I feel sorry for the animals! But we had a lovely time here overall and fun and you can walk through tunnels (they're dirty though and I had to overcome my claustrophobia to get through them!) to see mercats playing with balls and eggs to get at their food! (they apparently need intellectual stimulation, nothing too easy!) Also, seeing elephants walk past you while you are having coffee and a burger in the cafe is really cool which happened to occur when we were there!
Near Matamata (in the foothills of the Kaimai ranges) in the east of the Waikato, about 2 or 3 hours south of Auckland, is a camping group with a restaurant with the unique hangi pie which is cooked based on the traditional Maori style and also offers a range of other foods. The link is http://www.pnbfoods.co.nz/restrnt.html and the people who run it are lovely! A real taste of NZ and noone paid me to say this! The contact details are: Puff'n Billy Quality Foods Ltd,
PO Box 343, Matamata, New Zealand.
Ph. +64 7 888 2711
Fax +64 7 888 2848
Mobile 025 985 661
MOTAT is Museum of Transport And Technology and is near Western Springs Park which you can walk around, also near the Speedway (in Summer) So several possibilities there. Haven't been to MOTAT for a while but great for especially transport enthusists! You can also ride in trams! Well you COULD!
Wellington is close to a number of other activities including: rimataka incline (mountain bikers) 45mins, tararua national park (hiking) 90mins, car museum 60mins, kapiti cheese & icecream factory 60mins,
Other activies in Wellington: James Caberet for comedy & shows, Old St James for shows, Rialto for movies (or Penthouse in Brooklyn).
Novotel is conveniently located downtown with direct lift access to Lambton Quay, a shopping area....more
214 Main North Road, Paraparaumu, NZ
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Couples
My stay at the Bolten was great. After a flight in from Seattle, connecting in Aukland, I arrived...more