New Zealand is a popular tourist destination famed for having a lot of sheep, strong sporting prowess – the country holds the record for having the most Olympic medals per capita – and of course, incredible scenery. Since the release of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, which was filmed entirely in New Zealand, nature lovers have flocked to the country to visit its unique landscapes. Once you’ve had your fill of awe-inspiring locations, Wellington, NZ’s capital, is great place to visit. The tiny cosmopolitan city welcomes many tourists each year and offers culture, cuisine and great views all at once.
On top of it’s better-known attractions, Wellington’s locals enjoy some simple pleasures that will turn your time there into a fantastic experience. Here are 5 that we recommend.
1. Start your day with world-class coffee
One of New Zealand’s claims to fame is it’s excellent coffee, and coffee lovers will agree that Wellington takes the lead. Coffee culture is a big part of the city’s lifestyle and identity – enter any cafe and you will be served with high quality, tasty coffee made by baristas who really know their stuff.
2. See the Botanic Garden, a paradise for nature fans
Located in downtown Wellington, the Botanic Garden is a 26 hectare paradise filled with protected native forest, floral displays, and specialised plant collections. Since it was established in 1868, the park has been admired by millions of people from all around the world. It is the perfect place to relax after a hard day working day or touring, where you can enjoy the greenery, birdsong, flora, colorful flowers and wander the garden paths.
Admission to the park is free.
Tip: for the best experience, take the Wellington Cable Car from Cable Car Lane (off Lambton Quay) up to the top of the Botanic Garden and walk back down to the city.
3. Bliss out with a stunning sunset
Situated in between mountains, Wellington is compact and easy to traverse.
If fitness and exercise are your thing, try hiking or biking around. If you’re a little less energetic, it’s an easy town to move about in a hire car. Whatever your mode of transport, there are amazing sights at every turn.
At sunset, take your soulmate or friend to one of Wellington’s high points for a spectacular view. We promise it won’t disappoint.
4. Make a wish upon a star
Did you enjoy the sunset? Now head to Space Place at Carter Observatory for some star-gazing.
At the observatory you’ll visit the state-of-the-art full-dome planetarium, and also have the chance to look through the 150 year old Thomas Cooke telescope at distant stars, galaxies, and the moon.
Tip: Don’t miss out on a visit to the museum where you can touch real space rocks.
5. Have a cocktail in a cool bar
For those who like a beer or a cocktail, Wellington’s nightlife offers several great bars. The Hawthorn Lounge is one Wellington’s best kept secrets; it has a speakeasy vibe and is a home-away-from-home for the cocktail connoisseur or curious alike.