Ok, I’m going to say this up front – Wellington is one of my absolute favourite cities to visit. It’s got a harbour, it has great food, it has amazing views and it’s got soul. The advertising is right – it really is the coolest little capital, and I really do need to come up with a story that will showcase this fabulous city in a way that does it justice.
I’ve been coming to Wellington most years since my bestie first moved back – 2004? or thereabouts – and the colour (and weather) never ceases to amaze me. It’s the perfect getaway for when life gets a tad noisy, or I need some bestie time, or…just because.
I’ve posted heaps over the years, so if you’re interested, check out the Wellington posts here.
Flying into Wellington…
Flying in is part of the fun – if the day is clear the views as you cross the Sounds are incredible. The waters around New Zealand have a particular blue-green colour that is truly unique. Of course, a photo out of a plane widow doesn’t do it justice, but you get the idea.
Then there’s the airport itself – Wellington is known for its winds – why else would the rugby team be the Hurricanes? And those winds can give you an awful lot of landing for your money…just saying.
Where we lunched…
Where’s Charlie? I’m a huge fan of Vietnamese street food – you all know that, right? And one of the things I’ve missed since moving to the Sunshine Coast has been a decent pho – although Nguyen Brothers at Maroochydore has given me hope.
Walking into Where’s Charlie? on Lambton Quay, you’re immediately met with the smell of amazing beef broth – just like in Vietnam.
Yes, the pho is good.
Where we touristed…
Parliament. Yes, really. I love finding out about the political systems of other countries, and was surprised to find that New Zealand’s is so different to ours – and, in may ways, more progressive and inclusive than ours.
Even if, unlike me, you’re not interested in the political system, the buildings themselves are well worth seeing – even if it is just for the art and the architecture.
Without going too far into the history and the politics, the NZ system is responsible for a number of firsts on the world stage – including giving women the vote. As I said, well worth a visit.
Tours are free and run on the hour from 10am – 4pm.
Oh, one last thing, the tours take you down into the basement to show you how the engineers have strengthened the building in the event of an earthquake – bearing in mind that Parliament is just 400m away from the main Wellington fault line…or something like that. Really fascinating stuff. For more information, check out the website.
Where else we touristed..
We called in and had a look at the Supreme Court. there was a rather riveting sounding case going on at the time – something about fluoride and water levels I think – so we couldn’t actually have a look at the chamber. We could, however, peek through the glass – and well worth a peek it was, even if the photo is crap.
Where we wandered…
Pukeahu – National War Memorial Park
The park houses memorials from a number of countries that New Zealand either fought with or in. There are still more to come.
The Belgian memorial was unveiled in October 2017 to mark the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele.
The Australian memorial is below…so is the spiel from the website.
“The rugged red sandstone columns represent the heart of Australia: the ‘red centre’. Each column stands on a band of the same red stone, between them bands of grey stone symbolise the New Zealand landscape: the interweaving is a perpetual reminder of the united destiny of the two nations.”
My favourite was the English memorial – Whakaruruhau, which in maori means to protect, shield and shelter. Essentially it combines an English Oak and a Pōhutakawato form one single leafy canopy – the shelter of the name.
Where we cocktailed…
At Hot Sauce, the the QT Museum Hotel (the old Museum Hotel). And spoiler alert – the cocktails were good.
Where we dined…
Pomelo, Oriental Bay. Ok, this place isn’t just good, it’s great. Really great. Seriously amazing Asian food.
Of the entrees we had I’d be hard pressed to pick a favourite – although if I could only eat one of them again I think it would be the soft-shelled crab…or the tataki.
If you do go, you absolutely must have the duck red curry – with roti and rice on the side. Fabulous.
You’ll find them on Facebook.
Afterwards, take a walk along the harbour front to work off a smidgeon of it and take in the colours of the long twilight.
Where we tasted the waters…
Te Puna Wai Ora – meaning the spring of life – is a public water fountain supplying pure untreated artesian waters from the springs running beneath the Hutt Valley.
Locals bring their water bottles to fill from the springs. Seriously cool…and good tasting water too.
Where we took a drive…
Out to Makara Beach.
On Wellington’s west coast, this is a relatively narrow, but very pretty drive that brings you out at a windswept pebbly beach with everything a good windswept pebbly beach should have – views, driftwood, and blue blue water.
At this time of year the lupins and other wildflowers are out – so are the cyclists, as this climbing, windy road is a popular training choice for those preparing for the Taupo circuit…so keep an eye out for them.
Because it’s Thursday, we’re celebrating our happy. Wellington makes me happy, but what about you?