13 November 2017

New Zealand Travel Diary: Wellington City Guide

Wellington is a lovely city at the bottom of New Zealand's north island. Located on the coast near the Marlborough Sounds, it has a lovely skyline & is home to some truly beautiful views. We stayed in Quest On The Terrace for 4 nights, which was absolute luxury after weeks spent in various hostel dorms in the north island. The apartment was located a short walk from the Cable Car & botanical gardens, and a street away from Lambton Quay where all the major shops are located. The small studio room offered free Wi-Fi, a kitchen with an oven & stove top, a washing machine and more.We had a little sunshine during our stay, but it was quite windy & rainy for the most part! I loved the feel of this city, it felt very laid-back and safe. It's quite a big city but isn't overwhelmingly busy, which makes it a lot more enjoyable. So although we had bad weather, we did manage to do a few things I thought I'd share a little city guide for anyone thinking of visiting Wellington.


Te Papa Museum

 The Te Papa Museum is located in the city centre and is free entry. It's the perfect place to go on a rainy day, you can easily spend an afternoon wandering around. It's very child-friendly too with an area especially designed for younger visitors. My favourite part of the Museum is the Maori section, where you can learn more about their culture, history, art and more. It's very interesting & educational, and vital when visiting New Zealand. Sadly you can't take any pictures in this area of the museum, but I would definitely recommend going if you're in town. Te Papa also has a section about refugees that have arrived in New Zealand over the years, a small flora & fauna section & and a little cafe. There are also several exhibitions that go on there too.

Mount Victoria

I would definitely recommend walking up Mount Victoria if you're in Wellington, especially if you have nice weather. You can walk through the woods up to the top, where you will be rewarded with stunning views of the coast and the city skyline. If you're a Lord Of The Rings fan, you can also walk to Hobbit's Hide-Away, where a scene from The Fellowship was filmed. All is left is a little hole in the side of the road, however any fans will be happy to recreate the scene. We crossed 4 or 5 other people, all of us wearing the same grin as we knelt in the dirt to get a picture! 
If you are in to off-track biking, Mount Victoria has tons of steep paths in the woods for cyclists. You can find bikes to hire in every town in New Zealand, ranging from $20 an hour. You can walk to most places in Wellington, however it is a bit of a walk and climb to Mount Victoria. It may be worth driving there or taking one the many buses to the foot of the hill.

The Weta Workshop

The Weta Workshop has been a highlight of our trip, definitely a must in Wellington especially if you're a Middle-Earth fan. There are several tours to choose from, we took the cheapest at $65 each which is a two & a half hour guided tour. Once booked, you take a shuttle bus to the workshop located in the film industry area of Wellington. The 1st half hour is spent watching a short film about the history of the Workshop. Weta Workshop is responsible for the props, prosthetics, all things post-production & CGI for a number of films, the most famous being the Lord Of The Rings & Hobbit trilogies. The tour itself is quite technical, discussing the creation process of the props - something that may not be suitable for children but for fellow films graduates & film lovers it is very enjoyable. You can't take pictures during the tour due to copyright, however there is an area where you can touch some of the props & see some beautiful ones up close: props from LOTR, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Amazing Spider-Man, Hell-Boy and many, many more. This is a great activity to do while in Wellington as it only lasts half a day and it's a lot of fun.

As for transport, we walked everywhere but there are tons of buses constantly running through the city centre, aswell as taxis and ubers. Lot's of people tend to cycle in the centre too, thanks to the easy navigable street layouts. 

Since we had our own kitchen for 1st time in weeks, we did cook for ourselves a lot, although we had some lovely meals in Wellington too. There are lots of restaurants and cafes in the city centre so you'll be sure to find somewhere that suits you. I would recommend checking out reviews beforehand, so you don't end up walking to somewhere disappointing.

Great India restaurant, on Manners Street

On our first night we walked to Great India, an indian restaurant we saw of Trip Advisor. Despite having to wait a while, the food was very enjoyable for the price and the service was brilliant too. We shared vegetable samosas for a starter, followed by a vegetable masala & a chana masala for a main.
We were really satisfied with the food & price, it's definitely affordable for backpackers like ourselves who were on a tight budget.

  • Cafe Astoria

We went to Cafe Astoria mostly because it was located a short walk away from our accommodation. Located on Lambton Quay street in the heart of the town's financial district, Astoria offers cafe like treats and meals. It's a cute, posh little place that was always filled with customers enjoying coffee and cakes. A little pricey for what it is, we still had a lovely meal and the portion sizes were more than satisfying. 

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