Wellington is surely the city in NZ with the most character. Not just in the society and people, but also in the architecture.
Maybe because of the layout or the "terrain" of the city, which has many hills and valleys, there seem to be a few of these interesting buildings that are only one shop wide but two or three stories high.
Fondest memory: I love this example of these skinny buildings. It has been renovated well and looks very resplendent in its painted glory.
This is the official Visitor & Travel Centre for the Capital City, operated by Positively Wellington and backed by Wellington City Council & part of New Zealand's national Visitor Information Network (VIN). The centre is located on the corner of Victoria & Wakefield Streets, in Civic Square.
You can seek help all your travel plans for Wellington, as well as all of New Zealand. You can also pick up free brochures on everything about Wellington and visitor guides for other regions. A range of maps & phonecards are available for purchase here. Before you arrive, you can plan & book your accommodation, activities and transport on-line @ www.WellingtonNZ.com. Phone: (04) 802 4860.
Other facilities you'll find while you are @ the centre... the Simply NZ store for souvenirs & gifts, send e-mails @ their E-Mail facility, or step into Nui Espresso to enjoy a cup of coffee.
Visitor Centre hours (close on Christmas Day):
8:30am-5:30pm, except Thursdays opening @ 9:30am
December - April open until 6pm
• Weekends and Public Holidays
9am-4:30pm (May - November)
9:30am-5pm (December - April)
Favorite thing: Wellington still has electric buses running. That means that many of the streets have wires and cables hanging around...making it nearly impossible to make nice strret pictures, because these wires ruin it all...well, at least I think so.
Is that Gollum I saw at the Wellington Airport terminal?????
He was adorning buildings in the city at one time, but seems he has ended up here for visitors to see. What a wonderful creation he is, be sure to look out and see if you can spot him. Wellington benefited in so many ways from the production of Lord of the Rings, and will always make it's appearance in one way or another. You can sense that the city is proud of it's production.
As we were wandering the streets of Wellington, I happened to notice a sign announcing the Alliance Francaise, and as I am a member of this organisation in Australia, I decided to check out the building....and found one of the prettiest, most colourful (yet still restful) that I'd seen yet....a green roof with yellow trim at the top skirting, 3 toned walls, and a blue area beyond an arched doorway.
It was just such a beautiful foyer to me.
Unfortunately when we went there, the Tattoo museum was closed, but there was a fairly good write-up about it in the Lonely Planet Guide.
Maori tattoo art has a very long tradition in NZ, and though I didn't see any maori men with traditional art on their faces, i'm sure there is still plenty of it tattooed elsewhere, and we saw several maori tattoo art studios on our travels around NZ.
I found the Tattoo Museuam building quite interesting and impressive to look at on the outside.
It's just around the corner from the Chancellor Hotel in the Cuba Quarter)
Fondest memory: Another thing I found interesting about Wellington city was the presence of huge monsters on several cinema buildings, no doubt a remnant from Lord of the Rings. Te Papa museum also had a kind of huge rubber monster attached to the outside, moving in the wind.
Wellington had some particularly nice examples of wooden churches, which I rather enjoyed seeing (perhaps because most of our churches in Australia are either bluestone or stone or brick)
I was particularly taken with their steeple towers.
I was rather pleased with this photo. If you blow it up, you'll see that I caught a photo of a woman crossing the square, just as her coat billowed out behind her. Maybe I was thinking of the Matrix but the coat was the wrong colour?
There were also buskers in the square, and chess being played on one grassy corner with huge chess pieces about 50 cm tall.
We came across the civic centre quite by accident, and found it quite impressive.
Imposing buildings of different styles - some modern, some more traditional, the library is on one side, Visitor Information Centre also nearby.
There is a large cobbled square in the middle with modern art, and a cobbled walkway which goes over an interesting footbridge (under which actually flows the motorway, almost right into the very middle of the city) and then the walkway continues on along the waterfront in both directions. Turning right you pass waterfront restaurants and cafes, and within a few minutes the way will take you directly to Te Papa Museum.
My first visit to Wellington was on a school trip when I was about 7. We travelled overnight on a sleeper train, toured the important buildings in Wellington the next day and made our return the next night. My first big adventure away from home. All I mainly remember is falling out of the top bunk on the train and being given a meat pie which made me feel ill afterwards. I was to return to Wellington quite a few times over the years but this time by car or by plane.
Fondest memory: Not so much fondest as memorable. There were two especially memorable trips. One involved the motel in which we were staying. One of the legs fell off the corner of the bed resulting in a lopsided thud in the middle of the night. The knob fell of the t.v. and we experienced further earth tremors that we had experienced in Taupo on the way down. The other was in 1986, January 28th, watching t.v. early that morning in my room in the James Cook Hotel and seeing that the space shuttle Challenger had exploded 73 secs after launch. I just sat there in disbelief at what I was seeing. I shall never forget that.
Favorite thing: And still more churches (for a part of our walk, there seemed to be one on almost every corner, as we headed away from the direction of the waterfront)
Favorite thing: Another attractive church we came across on our on foot explorations of the city centre (which is quite hilly in parts)
Favorite thing: More nice wood work in the interior of St Peter's Church in the city (not far from the Cuba Quarter)
Fondest memory: Once over the overpass, on our walk to Te Papa along the waterfront, we stopped to admire this interesting statue/sculpture.
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