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On our holiday in New Zealand, myself and Ms Larsbaby's next stop after Auckland was the capital city of Wellington. Thanks to the scenic Overlander train, we saw some nice views on the 12 hour train ride. Once there we had a good look around in the time that we had.
We stayed in Wellington for 2 days and it rained most of the time, unfortunately, which cut our options to look around a bit. With the help of the Lonely Planet though, we tried to see as much as we could.
When we arrived after the train journey we were pretty hungry, and so skipped our usual restaurant trip and headed straight for a shopping mall and cinema, to an all you could eat Asian buffet as the restaurant was clearing up for the day. Great value and we stuffed ourselves silly with Thai curry, spring rolls and rice. Onto the hotel then, which was the excellent Copthorne hotel by the waterfront. This hotel looked pretty new and had impressive rooms. One of the most expensive and renowned restaurants in the city was across the road, a bit out of our price range though. The immediate area around here was by the waterfront, and the nearby Macs Bar and Restaurant offered us a great night of microbrewery beers and tasty bar food.
Around Courtenay Place there was a large, busy, area full of trendy bars and restaurants. These certainly looked like lively places and the arty looking people patronising them looked like the kind of media city types you see in any capital. They had that look to them that suggested they considered themselves and the city the centre of the world. There seemed to be a range of places here, from fancy cocktail bars to down to earth pubs. I liked the look of the restaurants, which seemed varied and bustling.
Shopping on Lambton Quay was interesting, which was the main shopping area including a historical arcade. Here you could also find many tourist shops. We got chatting to one guy working in one of them and explained how we had a friend who'd emigrated. "So any chance we can snag you 2 then?" he asked. I don't think he was quite prepared for the emphatic "no!" we replied with. Not that I didn't enjoy the place, but a holiday is one thing, moving there quite another.
I really liked Cuba Street, which seemed to be another trendy area but perhaps a bit more down to earth that Courtenay Place. Here we had an excellent fish and chip lunch in Wellington Trawling Sea Market, followed up by a tasty cappuccino and white chocolate cheesecake at Espressoholic down the road. Cuba Street seemed a popular dining, drinking and shopping area and I felt a really good vibe there. There are certainly several interesting looking cafes, bars and restaurants highlighted in the Lonely Planet guide.
The pretty and extensive Botanical Gardens are also worth a visit, with various trails marked out that you can follow. At the top of the hill which you reach by cablecar is the old cablecar museum interesting, which has the history of the cablecar which is preserved and restored there. This was one of the original cablecars and had seats on the side facing out, open! This was working until the 1970s. It's a pretty old car and it's interesting to see the old cable winching room, which has been restored for the museum, and how the system actually worked. I'm not sure how well known this is but I'd certainly recommend it for a visit.
The highlight for me was the amazing Te Papa, The Museum of New Zealand, which we spent a large amount of time in, hiding from the rain. A huge, interactive museum, it had many exhibits about natural history and Maori culture. I found it fascinating (and disturbing) to find out about how imported species have wreaked havoc on the local wildlife. One very clever screen was set up as a departure board in the style of an airport and showed all the imported species as well as native ones that have become extinct. There is also a very funny short film about the Karkapo parrot, once commonplace but now an endangered species that has had its 124 or so survivors relocated to predator free island, where they are monitored and encouraged to breed. One thing I was fascinated to learn about was the Moa, an extinct, flightless bird that was effectively eaten out of existence by the original Maori settlers hundreds of years ago. There is a mock up of an ancient forest, showing what this might have looked like, with native birds and sounds. Did you know that the only mammal native to New Zealand is the bat? Pretty amazing! No wonder there were lots of flightless birds like the Kiwi and Moa, filling that particular ground niche. Pride of place though was for the giant squid, a preserved squid caught by some local fishermen relatively recently and donated to the museum. Groups of schoolparties came and went to gawp at the impressive specimen, which is exactly what we did.
Although we didn't have so much time to explore and the weather wasn't great in the springtime of November, I still liked Wellington and its various attractions. It's worth visiting for Te Papa alone, and it has a lot to offer in terms of nightlife. It certainly didn't quite hold the appeal of Auckland, but had enough in its own right to be considered worth coming to visit.
We were lucky enough to have friends who live in Wellington, New Zealand, so on our 4 month trip around the country we thought we'd stop by for a couple of weeks! The city itself sits around a large harbour, which instantly gives it appeal, with everlasting views across the sea. Its a very vibrant city, famed for its fantastic eateries, and vibrant culture! The Museum of New Zealand, set on the harbour is fantastic and well worth a visit, in fact you could spend at least a day in here! The botanical gardens are beautiful, take the train up the hill from the city centre and you get fantastic views right across the city! The parliment building is a fantastic building to view with its unusual shape and design. There are many fantastic eataries along the waterfront too. The zoo isnt great I wouldnt visit. You can hire kayaks from the harbour front to paddle about and get a view of the city from the sea.
Having back packed in new zealand for nearly 7-8 months i spent almost 4 happy months in this fantastic city, there is so much to do and see you will be spoilt for choice, for starters why not check out the great museum they have there, it has many interactive systems that are not only informative but fun too, if this bores you maybe i should add that this is free! there are many cafes that you can while away your time offering good coffee and delicious cakes.
Night life is great too and wont break the bank if you know where to go, be aware that being a tourist you will need to have your passport on you for ID check depending on you age you can expect to be asked at all the places you go, so be careful if you do as they can easily be stolen.
If you are looking for some extra cash this is a great place to get some temp work , i managed to get some work on the restaurant called the tugboat and while the work wasnt very glamourous the people who worked there made up for it, great characters!
There are plenty of places to stay best i think is Nomads, prices are reasonable if you are willing to share, meaning ear plugs are must, showers are actually hot! you meet fantastic people and also you get a free meal at night which depending on what you are used too is not too bad!
this is only a small slice of that is a very big cake you will not be sorry even if you decide to spend on a few extra days in the city, wether walking along the harbour, going out at night or even eating out can be an adventure with tons of different cuisines on offer, go there now!
As someone who lived in Wellington for two years, I feel I got to know the city. A city that many backpackers fleeting round New Zealand overlook for the solitude of mountains and adventure. Yes, my initial trip to Wellington was for just two nights whilst driving round New Zealand and as the weather wasn't great my visit was doomed to a bad review status... the touristy Botanical Gardens and Beachfront were just not that appealing in torrential gales and horizontal rain.
However, going back there and eventually living there I discovered what a true delight this place is as cities go. The place is relatively small, especially for a capital, yet highly compact in a way that feels not in the least crowded. There is also everything people need and more and due to the low population and the small size this works magnificently as one doesn't get burdened with excessive choice and can spend time enjoying all the city has to offer.
And it offers a lot: when the weather is good you can't beat Wellington. From it's bustly beach bang in the centre of town (Oriental Parade) to it's myraid of isolated coves, seal-strewn pebbled beaches and decent surf all within 10 minutes drive. Parks too and greenery are everywhere and mountains, oceans and pastures surround this magical city at all angles.
If the outside life isn't for you, the chicness of Welly's cafes and bars are a joy, as are the cultural elements. About 15 years ago Wellington, rather than Christchurch or Auckland, became the centre for the arts in New Zealand and talent blossoms from every street (possibly the most famous inhabitants are the two Flight of the Conchords). Nights out are also varied from the mainstream but hassle free clubs on Courtney Place to the exciting and alternative Cuba Street which spits on the dirty streets of Camden as an alternative.
People moan about the congestion but a decent bus and tram network help and due to the size it is possible to get around without a car very easily.
All in all this city is, weather permitting, exceptional.
I have been to Wellington twice once in 2005 and again in 2007. Wellington was not may favorite place in New Zealand, however as it is a city it has really good night life, with many bars, pubs, and restaurants. So if you need a good night out then Wellington is definately one of the best places to go out. During the day Wellington has many good shops so if you enjoy shopping then you could easily spend a whole day shopping in Wellignton. When you come to the end of your stay in Welington and you need to decide how to get to the south island then I would recommend the ferry wich takes you across into the small town of Picton which is very nice, or plane which is a lot quicker and takes you into Nelson. I have done both and the plane is a lot quicker but I spent one night in Picton which was really relaxing and I really enjoyed the coach journey from Picton to Nelson.
There’s nothing really wrong with Wellington as such but it’s not really a place I warmed to. The first day we were there, we went up on the Cable Car, we had breakfast out, we looked around and, it’s just lacking something. I think we pinned it down to the lack of landmarks in the end. From the top of the cable car, Wellington is simply a featureless sprawl. Sydney has the harbours, the opera house, the bridge, Auckland has the Skytower, some less impressive harbours and a less impressive bridge, but hey, they’re landmarks. Wellington just seems to have, well, buildings and not particularly special ones at that. This moves onto accommodation. I know this isn’t the hotel section but we stayed in a hostel in Wellington centre and it was awful. Noisy (no official quiet time) and cold (1 blanket each only). The next day, we packed our bags, upped sticks and headed for Plimmerton on the train (a village which acts as a commuter suburb) to the nicest hostel I have ever had the pleasure to stay in. It’s called Moana Lodge and it is paradise. Double rooms-a-plenty, cheap prices, a weekly group cooking session, a dishwasher, a proper dining room, in a well heated beautiful wooden house with resident friendly cat. What’s more, this is all on the beach, which would have been fabulous had it not been for the wet and windy Wellington weather. You can use Plimmerton as a base to travel into Wellington for the (limited) sights or just go for some peace and quiet. During winter months, they also organise some tree planting on one of the islands offshore so you can even do your bit for the environment. Don’t forget to drink a bottle of wine, save the cork and write a message on it. If you look, you might find mine, if you knew who I was… So all in all, the points system is apportioned as follows, 1 for Wellington, 5 for Plimmerton – average of 3.
Yes, Wellington is the capital of New Zealand.. which not many people understand. Most of the time people automatically assume that Auckland is the capital.. probably because it's more talked about and is bigger! Actually, I was watching Good Morning where they did the phone in to win £1000 per question.. anyway one of the questions was: "In which country can you find Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch?" The ladies answer was: "Australia" ....close.. but not close enough dear! Didn't you study your geography at school!!!??? Wellington has a reputation for being windy, and so it has the nickname 'Windy Wellington'. A bit of history is the story of the 'Wahine' ship that sank in bad weather while crossing the straight and quite a few people lost their lives, very sad and very 'Titanicy'. The boats don't sail on rough days so it has 'progressed' since then so don't panic! The Beehive (because it resembles a bee hive),is where you can see the local politicians, not as extravagant as the House of Lords, but still... it's parliament! Wellington is also very hilly and when you come into land at the airport, all you see is water and waves! So.. when the plane's rocking a bit you kinda wonder where you're gonna land! The skyline of Wellington and the harbour at night is superb with all the lights of the city shimmering on the water. Wellington has got everything that a great capital city needs, great pubs, clubs and restaurants, great shopping and great places to visit. Here is where you can catch the boat to Picton and journey down south. The boats are often accompanied by dolphins when travelling across the Cook Strait. Leaving and entering is both spectacular.. but don't drink too much on the boat!
The capital city of New Zealand, Wellington is the country's second most populous city (after Auckland). It is located at the northernmost tip of the North Island.