Wellington, New Zealand. Windy Wellington. Wellywood. The coolest little capital.
They say you can’t beat Wellington on a good day, and as far as New Zealand travel goes, they might just be right. I have had the pleasure of calling Wellington home for about four and a half years. It is a great place to live and an equally great place to visit. The weather can get pretty bad but if the sun is shining and the breeze is not too strong you are in for a stunning day.
Making the most of a sunny sunday.
Yesterday was one of those stunning days and my boyfriend and I made the most of it, doing some activities that tourists and locals alike can enjoy. We started the day at the Harbourside Market. As locals we do this every Sunday. It is a cheap way to buy all of your fresh produce for the week. This time though we were making a day of it, so once our fruit and veg was bought, we headed over to the other side of the market. As well as plentiful produce Harbourside Market offers plentiful food stalls where you can buy yourself a snack or lunch. This time we opted for one of our favourites, Brahman. This stall offers tasty Indian food. We had a Masala Dosa and an Adai and Tamarind curry. As well as curry there is a wide range of other options including burritos, kebabs, pizza, ice cream, and other sweet treats. You are sure to find something you will enjoy. The market is right next to Waitangi Park so there is plenty of grass area to sit and eat, or you can stroll along the waterfront and find a bench.
Te Papa, Wellington’s iconic museum.
As locals we have seen the permanent exhibitions lots of times and they are certainly worth going to but we were headed for a visiting exhibition, Dreamworks Animation. If you enjoy Dreamworks’ movies and do have the chance to visit this exhibition then I recomment that you do. It only takes an hour or two. It is split into three sections; Character, Story, and World. It is an exhibtion sure to make you appreciate how much work goes into the movies, and probably make you want to go home and watch the movies too! If you’ve missed the Dreamworks Exhibition (in Wellington until 28th march 2016) then go and enjoy what the museum has to offer in the permanent exhibitions, including an earthquake simulator.
More ways to enjoy the waterfront.
After we were done spending time with the characters of Dreamworks’ wonderful movies we wanted to spend more time appreciating the sun. We opted for a walk around Oriental Bay and milkshakes from Beach Babylon. Caramel for me, lime for the boyfriend, both taken vegan with almond milk. Super yummy, perfect for the hot afternoon. Other options for getting around and enjoying the waterfront are roller blading, cycling, or crocodile biking! All fun choices. Check out Fergs Kayaks and The Enormous Crocodile Company for hire. Whether you decide to walk, ride, or roll along the waterfront, there are plenty of places to stop for refreshments. Cold drinks, coffee, and ice cream are all easy to find. If you want something a little stronger there are several licensed cafes and restaurants along the way too, but maybe not until you’ve returned the wheels to their hire places!
Once our shakes were all slurped up we wanted to finish the sun worshipping afternoon at a beach. You could stay along Oriental Parade. There are a couple of small sandy beaches that you can swim at, and one of them has a playground. They get very busy on sunny days but are a great option if you don’t want to go further or don’t have transport to get further from the city.
For the more adventurous there a few popular spots for wharf jumping, including this walk the plank style spot.
Our personal pick yesterday was Scorching Bay. Scorching Bay beach is a popular spot about 20 minutes drive from the city. There is a cafe there and a choice of sand or grass area to spread your towels and soak up the sun. The bay is fairly sheltered so the waves are tame. It is a very family friendly spot.
Whether you stick to the city centre or venture to the suburbs Wellington offers a lot for a little city. There is plenty more to look out for just along the waterfront. There are often street performers, offering entertainment in the form of music or circus acts. There is a series of quotes that make up the Wellington Writers Walk. There are market stalls selling crafty items such as jewellery and lampshades; some permanent along the side of Frank Kitts park, others in pop up containers, and on Saturdays there is the Underground Market. There are also some quirky little things like a colourful piano, situated near Frank Kitts park, where any passerby is welcome to play a tune.
Step back from the waterfront.
There are plenty of other great spots around Wellington. Cuba St is the most notable of these locations. Also a hotspot for street performers, Cuba St boasts many cafes and bars, and the iconic bucket fountain. Once the evening draws in stay on Cuba St or take the short walk to Courtenay Place. Both streets have plenty of options for dinner. Get something to takeaway, go to a night market, or eat at a restaurant. Cuba St has two night markets. Friday night market on Left Bank, about half way up Cuba St. Saturday night market on Lower Cuba St. Both have lots of food options. If it isn’t Friday or Saturday or the weather is not lending itself to street food, no worries. There are plenty of restaurants where you can have a sit down meal.
Once you have had your fill of food the night does not have to be over. Wellington also has some wonderful bars. Look out for more on these bars and eateries in my next post.