wellington harbour

Wellington's City Streets, Mount Victoria Lookout, Beaches & History

3 hours. That is all I needed to drive around the bustling city streets and surrounding beaches of New Zealand’s creative capital. Wellington is lined with art, unique architectural buildings & an array of people. Did you know that Wellington consumes more coffee per capita than New York? Did you know that New Zealand was the first country in the world to introduce a law that allowed women to vote? Did you know that New Zealand has amazing boutique brewerys? Me neither... until today.

I jumped onboard yet another mini bus with 2 elderly Dutch couples – they were lovely. We set off with our guide Jenny who was full of interesting facts and weaved our way through the art filled laneways and harbour side roads. Wellington’s Parliament building is shaped like a bee hive, and the city is home to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest wooden building – made entirely of NZ native trees.

As we zipped through the streets, Jenny told of us of her favourite free activities: Te Papa Museum, free Parliament tours & the City and Sea Museum. We reached the Botanical Gardens – another of Jenny’s favourite freebies. In the middle of the gardens sits the Lady Norwood Rose Gardens as well as access to the Wellington Cable Car – a cute, red cable car that offers a scenic ride back to the city centre.

St Paul’s Cathedral was our next stop. This historical and quaint little church was once to be pulled down but plans came to a halt as the local community stood in protest. The Church is now an open church that allows a bearer of any religion to appreciate and utilise the facilities – a true representation of the Kiwi way of life.

Then we were off to explore the southern coastline. We followed the harbour past the ‘rich peoples’ houses. Some of these houses were built on top of a steep hill and actually have their own Cable Car from the garage below to their front door... envious? We ventured past the ‘Wellington’ (Hollywood style) sign and continued through to the surf beaches of Lower Bay. It felt that we were miles from the nearest city.

As we drove along the beautiful coastline that looked out towards the South Island, we made it to Mount Victoria. This is a popular Lookout destination that I most definitely recommend – you have 360 degree views of the city.

3 hours later I was back at Base Backpackers eager to explore more of the city. If you are travelling on the Kiwi Experience or Stray Bus – Hammonds can tailor the tour to your group (if you have a few of you) – just chat to your bus driver a few days in advance. It is a great way to see all of Wellington, gain an insight into the city’s history and experience the beautiful surrounds in a short time frame. If you are planning on spending a while in Wellington, the tour is a cheap way to gain a taste of the city and where you would like to visit during your stay.

Great Day! I love Wellington! Now time for a beer...