New Zealand is obviously at a more remote end of the world. I once read in some statistics that Auckland is the most remote city with inhabitants over 1 million people. It takes long to get to other places and other countries. Its about a 3 hour flight to Australia and the time difference with Australian cities makes it already difficult to go away for a quick weekend away.
That is why, when living in Auckland, and you want to go on a weekend-city trip, you are really only left with one choice. The capitol. Wellington. It may not be a Venice, but it is actually a city with a very nice vibe.
Recently a friend and I decided to go on a weekend city trip to Welly. I had been many times, but I was still exited to go. We booked an early flight Saturday morning and a late night return flight for Sunday, and booked a city hostel. It is only a 45 minute flight and the return flight cost about $100 new zealanders dollars.
Wellington is a very windy city, which makes for bumpy landing.
On arrival at Wellington Airport, you are welcomed with a ‘big as’ sign that says ”WELCOME TO THE MIDDLE OF MIDDLE EARTH”, followed by a Giant fishing Gollum hanging in the arrivals lounge.
After a short bus ride into the heart of a very wet Wellington, we checked into our hostel and headed off to one of the many local cafe’s for a Wellington roast lunch. As it was a rainy day, we spent it experiencing Wellington’s indoor activities. We started off with Wellington’s underground market, where we saw many locally made products.
We continued on to my favorite museum in the world, the Te papa museum, the national museum of New Zealand. It’s an interactive museum that explains the history of new Zealand from all angles. Also it has a massive preserved squid. Called the squid collosos. This museum also shows you the original document of the Whaitangi treaty, that was signed between settllers and Maori chiefs to keep the piece.
As the stormy day continued, we had lunch and headed off to the movie’s at Wellingtons most famous cinema. The Embassy Theatre. Here, the lord of the rings trilogy and the hobbit have premiered. The advantage of Wellington City is that nothing is too far, even after a few drinks out, you can just walk back to your hostel.
The next morning, we got some sunshine, the perfect opportunity to visit the botanical gardens. They are literally on the top of the city and you catch a cable car from the high street to get there. The Gardens feature flora from all over the world. You can go on a short stroll around the gardens or bring a family picnic and spend the whole day there.
Wellington is the only city in new Zealand that has an actual shopping street. Cuba Street. So a little shopping was indulged on our weekend-getaway.
We also went to visit Weta studios, the special effect company that has worked alongside Peter Jackson on the lord of the rings movies. The studios are a little out of the centre, but accessible by bus.
Later in the day, we climbed Mount Victoria, the highest mountain in the region. There we took some nice scenery shots of the city by the sea. And from up there, you can see the Cook Straight which leads to the South Island.
Finally, after a dinner by the sea, we shuttled back to the airport to catch our flight back to Auckland.
I know that it may not be anything compareable to city trips in Europe but if you are in New Zealand, were you rather experience the countryside. For a country known for its pristeen countryside, jurassic wilderness, inspiring mountain range, tropical islands, and endless golden beaches, the City of Wellington is the place to go.