Wellington, the windy city, is the capital of New Zealand but only the second largest. It’s amazing how many people think that Auckland is the capital. It has absolutely loads of attractions, and though I was only there for a week or so, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
There are a few ways to reach Wellington, but if you’re coming from the South Island I would recommend taking the ferry from Picton for a relaxed few hours. One thing I noticed straight away is just how hilly Wellington is. That’s because it’s built on the foreshore of Wellington Harbour and ringed by mountains.
When I was in Wellington, it was in February (Summer) and I don’t remember it being either sunny or above 24ºC (75ºF). However, I still managed to get a wickedly horrifying tan in the shape of my Teva sandals in the total of 20 minutes that I was outside in the rain. I highly recommend wearing sunscreen, always. It’s now almost a year later, and I still have it unfortunately.
Wellington, for its size, is actually pretty easy to get around. Bus stops are prevalent. Make sure you don’t catch an airport tourist bus though, because they’ll charge you three times the amount.
Also, one of my favourite things about New Zealand is it’s airport shuttle service. It’s incredibly convenient and it’s called SuperShuttle. Reasonably priced, it will take you either to or from the airport, with the option to share the bus with others. Wellington City is very close to it’s airport. In the end I turned up to the terminal before check in started.
There’s some pretty nifty accomodation options around Wellington, though I chose to stay in a hostel. You’ll need to book very quickly. When I booked about six months in advance I found out it was almost full.
This little hostel, called The Dwellington, had comfy beds and a well stocked kitchen. However, it wasn’t the best. It also wasn’t that close to the city centre, but was only a short bus ride away (again, the tourist bus goes to the same region).
One thing I can’t seem to do is go to a new country and not go to a museum. So, due to the rain (which stopped me from doing anything else essentially), I decided to spend an entire day in the Te Papa Museum, known formally as the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
This is a free museum that only has a couple of exhibits that you do have to pay for. When I was there, they had something called the bug lab. However, this was far from the best exhibit there. My personal favourite was the of Gallipoli, which had huge figures of people – from soldiers to grieving widows.
The museum has quite a big focus on natural history, from native animals to geological history. One particular thing that sticks out to me was an earthquake simulator, the first I’ve ever been to. That was quite popular, there was always a line to go in. You’ll have to jump to gun and just queue, it doesn’t take more than a few minutes.
Unfortunately, because at the time of my being in Wellington it was raining, I didn’t venture out any further from the Museum. I’d highly recommend going to Zealandia, a native flora and fauna oasis and the Wellington waterfront. These things alone would help you kill a few days, and then you can go out of the city to places such as Princess Bay.
Wellington is definitely a place I’d go back. I feel like ultimately, I didn’t explore as much as I would like to and it’s actually a pretty cool city with loads of things to look at.
PS. Cuba Street is a good place to visit as well, it’s the hipster hangout with many cafes and small bohemian shops.