Lambton Quay & Downtown, Wellington
Lambton Quay crosses Wellington downtown and shops (international chains and local activities) line up on both sides of the road. While shopping and window-shopping also take a look at some "old" buildings around you and rest from the sun under their shadows.
This is one of the most charming sculptures I have ever seen. It shows the pioneer John Plimmer and his dog Fitz. It stands at the bottom of the Plimmer Steps which lead down from Boulcott Street to Lambton Quay. Take care not to run into the two as the statue stands in the middle of the lane.
Down there – at the corner of Lambton Quay and Willis Street - John Plimmer lived and operated a lime and brick works, then called Clay Point. He lived from 1812 to 1905. His grave is in Bolton Street Memorial Park.
John Plimmer was born in Shropshire, England, and arrived in Wellington aboard the ship Gertrude in 1841. As a carpenter and builder he quickly made a good living. First he built houses with material from his lime and brick works but after two major earthquakes he quickly learnt that this was not the way to go in this shaky place. So he went back to building wooden houses which was no problem as he originally had been a carpenter. He built and managed several hotels. Further he realised the importance of wharves in the growing town, and formed a company that built the railway between Wellington and the Manawatu. For his role in the planning he was honoured with the naming of the seaside town Plimmerton. In Boulcott Street Plimmer House is named after him.
Playing so many important roles, it was only natural that Charles Plimmer also became a civic leader. His first post was his election for the Provincial Council in 1857.
In his later years people gave him the inofficial title “Father of Wellington”.
This is where you get to see the world or NZ premieres of NZ made films like Lord of the Rings or the remake of King Kong, by Peter Jackson. Or more likely: Where you might spot more or less famous people walking down the red carpet and attending the premiere. It is THE cinema in NZ.
The Embassy Theatre is located at the top end of Courtenay Place, on Kent Terrace. Built in 1924, it has been fully refurbished to a fabulous standard as a picture palace, and really has this touch of class. Looks very nice at night when it is lit up by spotlights.
Address: 10 Kent Terrace
Phone: (04) 384 7657
If you are interested in NZ film making perhaps the Wellington Movie Tour would be something for you. There is a tour on offer with 25 Lord of the Rings scenes, on-location movie clips, props for pictures, behind-the-scenes stories, King Kong ship and information on future film projects.
Phone (027) 419 3077
See also: www.flatearth.co.nz
The Bucket Fountain is the best-known feature of Cuba Mall, the pedestrian part of Cuba Street. It was installed in 1969, after the tramway lines had been removed from the street.
The fountain was designed by the architects and town planning consultants Burren and Keen, and consists of sugar scoop-like tipping buckets.
The buckets are smaller than you would expect, and the water splashes less at unprepared tourists than you would hope ;-) With its bright yellow, red and blue buckets it looks a bit like a kids playground feature. At least, I had expected much more action and splashing after having read all the exciting comments about it in guide books and on the internet. Every time we passed there I stayed quite a while because I thought I had probably not waited long enough for the scoops and buckets to fill and tip – but no, my expectations had just been too high.
The operating system is simple: Water flows up through tubes into a water tank, and when the top buckets fill they tip water into the lower buckets or scoops.
The fountain is located on Cuba Mall, between Dixon and Ghuznee Streets.
A truly spectacular Italian-style piazza in the heart of the city, surrounded by fabulous buildings, for example, the Town Hall, the Public Library, the City Gallery, a children’s museum, the Convention Centre which includes the Illot Theatre.
We spent some time there on a Sunday afternoon, attending a free show of comedians and acrobats. This demonstrated the great quality of the square. Lots of space for people who also enjoy having their lunch there on nice days, many sitting on the stairs of the City-to-Sea Bridge. Although a big space, the Civic Square did not look as if it could hold 10,000 spectators for concerts. At least, I would not be one of them if that amount of people really flocks to the piazza ;-)
The negative side: After 6pm the square can feel rather dead, as most of the surrounding buildings are public buildings and offices.
The centre in the space over the square is a spectacular artwork named Ferns, by Neil Dawson. It is a globe displaying ferns hovering in the air. Other fantastic artworks are the Nikau Palms, designed by Ian Athfield, bringing NZ nature into the city.
The brick-red paved surface of the square contributes to the great atmosphere, creating a fantastic contrast to the white and light-coloured buildings around.
Photo 2 shows Nikau Palms, by Ian Athfield.
Photo 3 shows Town Hall and the Convention Centre.
On photo 4 is a stone sculpture. Sorry, forgot the name... :-(
Lambton Quay is one of the main shopping areas in Wellington. There are a lot of wonderful old buildings as well. T
his is the James Cook Arcade which was just under my hotel and came out into Lambton Quay.
Cuba Mall is one of the main shopping and dining areas in Wellington. It is closed to traffic which makes is easier to wander around. There are lots of nice pubs, restaurants, coffee houses and arts and crafts shops. Buskers and street performers often perform in the mall in the summer.