Location: North Island, New Zealand
Dates: 11th – 13th January 2019
Reason for visiting: Lord of the Rings
Base: Nomads, Wakefield Street
After a busy few months working away, I decided it was time to take another weekend trip and this time I headed down to New Zealand’s capital city.
From work, I hopped across to Auckland airport and jumped on my Jetstar flight down to the Windy City. It was fairly straightforward catching the bus from the airport to the city once I arrived in Wellington and it was a great way to start seeing the landscape. Let me tell you something, there’s a few steep and windy roads around here!
Once checked in to my hostel, I headed for a walk around town before stumbling across a small night market before getting some food and having a quiet night as the tiredness from the working week caught up with me.
I started off my day by heading up Mt. Victoria around 7am and what a beautiful walk that is. I headed up Majoribanks Street and began the ascent from there walking through a beautiful forest and seeing small snippets of the city from a different angle every few 100 meters. As you arrive at the top of the Mt. you have 360 degree views of the city; the waterfront one way, the airport behind you and the mountain ranges to the side. With the flight path being just to the side of Mt. Victoria, I stood here for a little while watching the planes come in to land before setting off back down towards Oriental Bay. It’s a beautiful walk down this way, winding through the trees and then houses before popping out at the bay and seeing all of the morning fitness classes on the beach. From here I headed back to the hostel to shower and get ready for the rest of the day.
I headed out for a spot of breakfast first at a small cafe called QBA Cafe on Cuba Street. Cuba Street is famous for it’s bohemian vibe with cafes and eateries and is a great spot for taking an hour or two out of your day to people watch and enjoy good food and coffee.
Next I headed to the Wellington Cable Car up to Wellington Botanical Gardens. The sun was starting to shine through and that made for a stunning walk around the gardens and back through the city over a few hours.
Once back in the city, I met up with a friend and we spent the afternoon eating ice cream on the waterfront whilst watching some kids (and grown men) jump off the Wellington Diving Boards. It was a perfect afternoon for it as I discovered coming back sunburnt that evening.
The following day I went for coffee at a different cafe (sadly I cannot remember the name) before heading to Te Papa Museum. I’m not the biggest fans of museums unless they are dinosaur or space related however this museum is something else. Firstly it’s free to enter for both residents and visitors and there’s a variety on offer to explore. At the time I visited, they had the Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War exhibit on display looking into the war and the stories along with a permeant exhibit on the Maori origins which is a great way to learn about the basics of the culture. They also had a paid exhibit on which was the Terracotta Warriors containing artefacts found and 7 of the army on display and honestly it was simply amazing to see. I cannot express how intricate and detailed all the artefacts are and I fully urge everyone to attend any exhibit anywhere in the world if there is ever a similar showcase.
That afternoon I headed across the city to “get my geek on” at the Weta Workshop. This is where they make props and costumes for characters for films such as Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, Avatar and Mad Max to name a few. I started by wandering around the gift shop after taking my photo with one of the Giant Trolls outside before heading on my first tour which was primarily Lord of the Rings focused before my second tour which was Thunderbirds based. It’s amazing to see the production process and how much goes in to creating the items that vital to a film. In terms of the tours, unless you are a super fan of this sort of film activity, then I don’t recommend visiting as it was a little slow and in parts empty.
From there it was time to head to the airport and head back to Auckland before going back to work the next day.