We paid a visit to this beautiful old wooden building. One of my New Zealand friends tells me she got married here, what a lovely setting for a wedding. This building used to be the cathedral in Wellington, but that role has now been taken by a bigger, more modern building - also called St Paul's Cathedral. The church was consecrated by Bishop Abraham on 6 June 1866. It is located at 34 Mulgrave Street, Thorndon.
We arrived in Wellington on Boxing Day. It was, at least on a public holiday, an incredibly quiet place. Most restaurants were closed. One thing still open was the funicular which took us up to the top of the hill. From where we enjoyes great views over Wellington and had a lovely wander round the botaens.
The world’s coolest little capital, as it brands itself, Wellington won’t disappoint – more cafes per capita than New York City, centre of Aotearoa’s film industry, Wellywood, thriving arts and culture scene and it’s home to New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa.
Wellington is also known for its unpredictable weather. When it rains it pours, and the wind can be fierce. On a day like that, head straight to Wellington’s number one indoor activity destination: the Te Papa Museum.
Museum of New Zealand: Te Papa Tongarewa
Te Papa is New Zealand’s national museum and offers all the essential interesting bits about New Zealand under one big roof: Maori architecture and artefacts, history, art and lots of information on the New Zealand’s natural environment, all in engaging and / or interactive displays and exhibitions.
Weta Cave is another great indoor destination for rainy days. Get behind the scenes and see interviews with Peter Jackson and other Weta co-founders, props, sculptures, masks and costumes from movies such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Chronicles of Narnia or King Kong. There’s also tons of movie merchandise you can purchase in their shop, from collectibles and jewellery to DVDs and graphic novels. Entry is free.
Great views of the city and harbour can be had from Mount Victoria, a 196m high hill that is easily accessible by car or walking tracks from Oriental Bay. Apart from the platform that gives the spectator 360 degree views of the city, it’s a great place for taking a walk. Lord of the Rings fans will be eager to know that some scenes for the first movie in the trilogy were shot in the forest up there, including the scene of the four hobbits cowering under the root of a large tree to hide from the ringwraiths.
It’s not like you need to look for Cuba Street… you’ll be there at one point anyway. Enjoy the Bucket Fountain, the many cafes, art galleries, funky little boutiques and book and music stores. And if you’re hungry, why not pop in to Floriditas; you might just bump into Brett from Flight of the Conchords, who has been seen dining here with his young family.
Wellington Cable Car + Botanic Gardens
The Wellington Cable Car is, yes, a typical tourist attraction. But the views over the capital and harbour are breathtaking and very much worth it. The cars run from Lambton Quay in the CBD and take you to the entrance of the Wellington Botanic Gardens, which also host the Carter Observatory.
In the evening, why not go to a great bar in the city centre. If you’d like to go a bit off the beaten track, check out Motel Bar. They’ve got a fantastic menu, the design of which is reason enough to visit, and kindly refer you to their “bible” for a far greater list of beverages they can procure if nothing strikes your fancy. It’s a funky little place with very attentive staff and quality cocktails far away from any mainstream crowd or music.
The Te Papa museum of Wellington - located at the waterfront - is a great and very interactive museum featuring the history, culture and nature of New Zealand. It is difficult to appreciate the collection in its entirety due to its sheer size, but even if you concentrate on the topics you find most interesting, it will take you at least half a day. I found the Maori collection (with reconstructions of a Maori Hall and ships), the collection dedicated to European immigration and the art collection the most fascinating.
Wellington is the capitalm of New Zealand and a logical stop if you intend to cross from the North Island to the South Island by ferry. In comparison, I liked Auckland better - which does not mean that Wellington is a bad place. The modern architecture of the Wellington business district was not my cup of tea, but there are also nice residential areas, and plenty of things to do. Some suggestions for Wellington:
- take the cable car to the lookout and the Botanical Gardens
- shop along Lambton Quay
- dine in one of the restaurants in colourful Cuba Street
- visit the excellent Te Papa Museum
- stroll along the harbour
- have an aerial view of Auckland from Mt. Victoria lookout
- spot birds and Tuatara lizards in the Zealandia/Karori sanctuary.
My only regret is that I didn`t do a guided Lord of the Rings - film location tour; several operators offer those tours from Wellington as a base. Next time !
Zealandia (also named the Karori) is an extensive bird sanctuary in a valley of the Karori suburb of Wellington which was established 2000. The wood and wetlands of the Karori Valley have been fenced in (around 225 hectares) to keep out non-endemic animals (rats, stoats, possums) that pose a threat to the local bird species, and native birds (like Kiwi, Kakariki, Kaka, Weka, Hihi, Bellbirds) and reptiles (Tuatara) have been re-introduced with great success. The visit starts with an excellent exhibition on native animal life in New Zealand in the Visitor Centre and the impact of human settlement. Several walkways lead through the sanctuary, and it is very likely that you will encounter local birdlife during your walk. A recommended roundpath takes about two hours to complete. Tip: It is worthwhile to check out the Kaka (parrot) feeding times, as this increases your chances to spot one of the inquisitive parrots. There are also recommended Night-Time guided tours with the chance to spot the nocturnal Kiwi birds.
Wellington is the worlds most southerly capital. It was made the capital of New Zealand for no other reason that it was 'in the middle' of the country and it had a harbour. It is now the centre of political and economic power. Wellington lies nestled between rugged hills and a spectacular harbour and actually sits over the intersection of two major tectonic plates. There are five major faults in Wellington. Considerable parts of the capital are built on land raised up by an 1880's earthquake and a fault line lies within half a kilometre of the government buildings.
Wellington is often compared to San Francisco with its brightly painted timber Victorian houses, cable cars and cosmopolitan lifestyle. The central city area has hundreds of houses clinging aesthetically to the hills, and there are approximately 50 private cable cars (the only access these residents have to their homes. The centre of the city and the port itself has been built on reclaimed land. Wellington is also compared to Chicago for being the windy city.
Cuba Mall is a great place to expericance a bit of Wellington alternative life style, alot of young people find their way here for the funky shops,jewelry, recycled music shops, men's and women's clothing shops, alot included up and coming NZ fashion designers, there is alot art gallerys and cafe's....check out 168 Cuba Mall for a great cuppa coffee, and a very cool, laid back atmosphere. the food is pretty amazing too.
Wellington has been our nations capital since 1865 due to its location. Parliament buildings including the beehive are located in the middle of town as are lots of good shops, Te Papa (Museum) and Courtenay Place for entertainment. Not too far away are the Ferry terminals and the Caketin (Wellington Stadium).
The town itself is a really cool place to visit as it's quite compact with most things to see within a short distance (the centre is only 2 kilometres in diameter) of each other. Unlike Auckland, the public transport is very good with train and bus catering to most needs.
My favourite 2nd hand book stores are also located here - Arty Bee's and Busy Bee's - and I must spend at least 2 hours wandering around their bookshelves during each of my all too brief visits.
Good places to eat include One Red Dog (who also brew their own yummy beers!!), Coyotes, Neo's (breakfast) and the Lone Star. There are heaps of options for a quiet beer including Molly Malone's which is a busy Irish bar on Courtenay Place.
Wellington is the capital of New Zealand at the bottom of the North Island. It has a reputation as a windy city and they are not wrong!
There are lots of things to do here:
Twenty-five hectares of protected native forest, conifers, plant collections and seasonal displays. reached by a cable car from the city centre and also containing the planetarium.
Exhibitions and events at Wellington's principal public art gallery.
Colonial Cottage Museum
Wellington's oldest identified building.
Kapiti Island Nature Reserve
A bird sanctuary near Wellington
Karori Wildlife Sanctuary
Tours, educational programmes and visitor information.
Katherine Mansfield Birthplace
The childhood home of one of New Zealand's most famous authors.
Museum of Wellington City and Sea
Exhibitions and visitor information.
Work from local, national and international artists, with a range of heritage and social history exhibitions.
Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand)
Exhibitions, news and events at New Zealand's national museum. A very funky modern museum
Wellington Cable Car Museum
New Zelands houses of Parliament.
in addition there are great shops, loads of restaurants, theatres and cinemas. There is a city loop bus that covers most of the attractions.
If you are planning to just get to Wellington to catch the ferry to go to the south island don't overlook Wellington. try to put at least 2 days into your travel plan to see it.
One of the striking things about New Zealand's Parliament building, located in the heart of Wellington, is its modern architecture. It is affectionately (I think) referred to by the locals as "The Beehive" -- a fact we know thatnks to our local friend Lisa, who seemed affectionate when she told us this. Tours of Parliament are available and it is possible to sit in on sessions, though we were there too late in the day to avail ourselves of these options. The Beehive is adjoined by more traditional buildings that hold parliamentary offices and the library.
We really enjoyed Wellington. Part of the reason, of course, was that our friends Lisa and Kirk did a great job showing us around. We got to eat Italian ice cream on Oriental Parade, Malaysian Food in downtown. we also got to sample some excellent Belgian beers at a center city pub whose name I forgot. But part of the reason is Wellington itself. The city is very compact, making it excellent for walking. while the downtown is at the harbor, the residents live on the hills above, waking every morning to fabulous views (although this is followed by harrowinbg commutes by narrow, sinuous roads leading -- if you survive that long -- to the city center). The premier site in Wellington is the Te Papa Museum, but we didn't have time to do it justice and therefore decided to save it for the next trip. Furthermore, the weather was beautiful, compelling us to stay outside and walk around the city, taking in the atmosphere and watching the triathletes run past. What a nice capital city New Zealand has.