Wellington’s attractions include ‘Te Papa’ the National Museum of New Zealand and the excellent Museum of Wellington City and Sea. Wellington is home to the Royal New Zealand Ballet and the National Opera. Cultural attractions include several live theatres and regular performances by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. At the other end of the scale, Wellington has a throbbing nightlife with hundreds of excellent restaurants, cafes and bars. Courtenay Place buzzes with activity seven nights a week or you can attend a sports or concert event at the Westpac Stadium.
Wellington’s waterfront is a great place to stroll and features more great places to eat and drink at the harbour’s edge. Downtown Wellington has many high-rise buildings plus great architecture from earlier eras. Lambton Quay’s west side has a kilometre of shopping, uninterrupted by cross streets and bustles with activity. Enjoy a coffee at a sidewalk cafe and watch the world go by or shop ’til you drop.
Parliament and the Beehive occupy a special precinct at the north end of Lambton Quay. Directly across the street is the original historic Parliament Building, the largest wooden building in the Southern Hemisphere and now the Law School of Victoria University. Wellington’s Anglican Cathedral and historic Old Saint Paul’s church are nearby. Visitors are welcome everywhere in Wellington.
The Academy Award winning movie ‘Lord of the Rings’ was created by Wellington’s Peter Jackson whose film studios are located in Miramar. Guided tours of the many Wellington ‘Lord of the Rings’ film locations are a very popular attraction with ‘Rings’ fans.
Nestled between the high surrounding hills and the harbour, Wellington has a fascinating topography all its own. Winding eighty kilometres around the harbour is Wellington’s Marine Drive, which varies from the stylish promenades of Oriental Bay to remote and rugged coastlines. Stop en route and explore the beaches, enjoy the South Island views and the spectacle of Wellington’s rugged coastline. Return via Brooklyn and view the city from high above.
Other activities include great mountain bike riding on Wellington’s hills, sailing and ferry trips on Wellington Harbour. Highly recommended is the Wildlife Sanctuary for bush walks among the many native birds.
More Wellington information plus suggested itineraries and maps are available at www.wellingtonnz.com
Our Wellington Tour: Walk the city and take the cable car back!
Walk to the Rose Garden up the steps directly across from the end of St Mary Street. After visiting the Rose Garden and the Begonia House, head across behind the playing field, Anderson Park, to the historic Bolton Street Cemetery.
Pass through the cemetery (there are some very interesting paths within it to the left) and over the motorway via the footbridge into the city. When you see the “Beehive”, walk across Bowen Street to get to Parliament Buildings.
Just uphill from Parliament is the Cathedral and one block down Aitkin Street (then turn left) is the historic Old Saint Paul’s Church. This is an excellent example of an early carpenter’s Gothic church and well worth visiting.
Opposite the Beehive to the east are the original Government Buildings, now the Victoria University Law School. One of the largest wooden buildings in the world, it’s open for visitors. When built it housed every branch of government.
Back across the street is Lambton Quay, Wellington’s main shopping and business street. Walk up the right side of the street which is uninterrupted by cross streets.
After about 500 metres, look for Panama Street and follow it to Queens Wharf where you’ll find harbour views, bars and restaurants, the Academy Gallery and the highly recommended Museum of City and Sea (it’s free). Helicopter flights are available further out on the wharf and at NZ$95 for ten minutes are highly recommended.
Walk to the south along the waterfront (to your right) from Queens Wharf to Frank Kitts Park, bars, cafes and the Rowing Lagoon. Further along the waterfront is the Museum of New Zealand, known as Te Papa (Our Place). Allow at least a few hours for Te Papa, though one could spend several days there.
Or, return to the city by crossing the City to Sea Bridge to the Civic Centre and the Nikau Palm colonnaded Public Library. Then continue west to Willis Street then turn right to get to Lambton Quay. Near Panama Street is the Cable Car (just ask anyone). Ride the Cable Car to the top, enjoy panoramic views at the lookout then start your walk down through the Botanic Gardens back to Gardens Homestay.
Head for the Children’s Playground, then down to the Duck Pond and explore the flowerbeds of the main gardens. Exit through the main gates and cross the street on the pedestrian crossing. St Mary Street is just down the road, second street on the left. There are several interesting antique shops and art galleries and specialty shops in the area plus a number of restaurants and cafes. Enjoy your walk! Keep in mind that you can also search Wellington tour attractions through online travel websites. Unlike other sources of information (i.e. books or pamphlets), online travel guides are constantly updating, give you the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding Wellington. You can also use an online guide to book a hotel, making it a reasonable choice for those who want to both save time and plan their vacation based on accurate and up-to-date room and board information. This information takes seconds to look up, and it might help turn a good vacation into a great one.