New Zealand’s second largest city, Wellington became the capital in 1865, kicking Auckland off the top spot. It’s the home of the NZ Parliament House and the Supreme Court, but even if you’re not on trial or running for office, there’s plenty to do here. Start with a visit to Te Papa, NZ’s national museum. Entry is free, with ever-changing exhibitions and a permanent collection including works of art and historical, environmental and Maori artifacts.
Wellington’s such an artistic city that the art spills out on the streets too. The Bucket Fountain in Cuba Mall is a contraption made of colourful buckets that empty into a fountain below, while Solace in the Wind by Max Patte, on the Wellington waterfront, is a sculpture of a man leaping into the harbour.
There’s shopping to suit everyone in Wellington. Cuba Mall is the height of Wellington’s bohemian side, with cool local cafes, boutique clothing stores, buskers and graffiti-covered alleyways to the side. The Golden Mile on Lambton Quay has a nice mix of department stores and one-of-a-kind outlets. Wellington’s dining scene has cuisine to please everyone, ranging from classy restaurants in historic buildings to wine bars and many, many cool cafes. Then there’s the nightlife, where you’ll find alternative nightspots, cocktail bars, dance clubs and the rest.
If you want to check out some of that lovely Wellington scenery, take a cable car ride to spectacular Kelburn Lookout and the Wellington Botanic Gardens, 26 hectares of lush forests and vibrant flower displays. Feel like getting political? Parliament House is open for free tours.
Sometimes nicknamed ‘Wellywood’, Wellington is New Zealand’s film capital thanks largely to director Peter Jackson, who filmed scenes from the Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong there. Take a LOTR movie tour to follow in Frodo Baggins’ footsteps through Rivendell and the Hobbiton Woods. Visit the Weta Cave, the museum and shop of Jackson’s studio, to see props and displays from Weta’s movies. Finally, you can meet the legendary Gollum. My precioooous!
For a holiday that’s bigger than King Kong, book your Wellington central accommodation and a flight to Wellington with us. But don’t stop at Wellington – check out Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin too! There’s so much to discover in New Zealand.