The capital city of New Zealand may not be the largest urban area in the country, but it is definitely the hub of culture. Wellington is located right on a harbour, surrounded by mountains, and boasts a number of great attractions and festivals. If you only have a few days to explore Wellington, having your own vehicle is a huge asset, as this will allow you to bypass the hassles of having to use sometimes unreliable forms of public transport. Here are some of the top suggestions for places to visit in wonderful Wellington.
Te Papa Museum
If you only have the chance to visit one attraction in Wellington, it should be Te Papa. This is New Zealand’s national museum, and it is completely free to all visitors. The collections of Te Papa are varied, which means that there truly is something for everyone. Whether you are most interested in Maori culture, New Zealand artworks, regional plants or the nation’s wildlife, this museum certainly won’t disappoint. There is plenty of parking for visitors arriving by car, and the 24-hour parking lot is monitored by security around the clock.
Oriental Parade Beach
Also known as Oriental Bay, this incredible destination is one of the few places in the world where the beach legitimately is just a short walk from the city centre. The water is inviting and ideal for swimming on hot days, but that is far from the only reason to visit Oriental Parade. The scenic pathway along the coastline lets you walk, jog or cycle, and there are several playgrounds for children. As a bonus, Oriental Bay is just a 5-minute walk from Te Papa. Many visitors park at the museum and then head over the beach for an afternoon walk or swim since it is so convenient.
The Observatory was closed for several years for refurbishment, but its reopening in recent years caused a lot of excitement for local Wellingtons and visitors alike. There is a planetarium that shows the modern sky, but the real appeal is the multimedia exhibits. These displays show how ancient Maori, Polynesian and even European settlers arrived in New Zealand and used the stars to navigate. Carter Observatory is an intriguing and informative tourist attraction that will appeal to children as well as adults.
Few travellers ever make it to the Seal Colony of Wellington because the journey takes two buses and a short walk, but those who have a car can easily make the trip. The beach is made up of distinctive red rock formations, but the highlight of the area is the incredible seal colony living in the area. While you shouldn’t get too close for your own safety, you’ll still be able to take some amazing photographs.
Although this is a chain cafe in Wellington, this definitely doesn’t mean that you should skip the visit. KaffeeEis is an iconic place to enjoy a scoop of refreshing gelato on a summer day or a warm latte on a rainy afternoon. The clientele is typically a mix of students, locals and travellers, which means that you won’t ever feel out of place. There is one situated right on the beach of Oriental Parade where you can watch the surf as you nibble on a cone, but the most popular branch is found in the heart of the city on Courtenay Place. Kaffee is is best known for offering lots of gelato samples, and you will love trying all the delicious flavours before making your final decision. Most of their locations offer onsite or nearby parking if you are travelling by car.
There are few places where you can see a restored ship inside of a bank building, but you can in Wellington. When a bank was built on an old shipwreck, they were able to preserve some of the ship’s remains. Signs for the Old Bank Arcade will direct you to the building where you can find the structure of the ship to this day.
The city of Wellington has a lot to offer travellers. By hiring a car, you can pack more attractions and adventures into your trip and really make the most of your time in the city.
—Written by Stephen Frazer from www.slowrollerabroad.com