The previous day we had travelled down from Napier via the bird sanctuary of Mount Bruce to Upper Hutt, just north of Wellington, traveling over the dramatic Rimutaka Hills from Featherston over to the mountain crossing to reach Upper Hutt (sorry I was so busy driving I didn’t take any photographs) later in the evening. The following morning we travelled down to Wellington Harbour and around the bay into Wellington town center itself. Taking heed of the advice from the owner of the Upper Hutt campsite, we headed for the parking spaces of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa, where we could park all day and even overnight there, this turned out to be a good tip.
The museum was really interesting, tracking the history of the country, the abundant and unusual wildlife, the geothermal and geological makeup of the varied landscapes. So even though we could have seen more and it took us a while, after four hours that was enough, time to go see the city.
The central area of Wellington is built up along a central road that itself is bent around the curvature of the Harbour, some parts still small town in scale in comparison with European cities, other parts consisting of high-rise blocks more associated with Victoria’s Melbourne CBD. At some point after traveling around essentially in the countryside for a couple of weeks we want to escape the narrow streets and go searching the cable car up to the Botanical gardens. Wellington is hilly ! I mean every street is crossing over or under another, we soon find this out as we are transported in the cable cars up the side of the hill, over and under roads past houses and the cricket ground and up to the cable station overlooking the bay. At the top we take a wander around the Botanical gardens, taking in the extensive views out over the bay and towards the distant surrounding mountains, our gaze scrapes over the highest tower blocks in the foreground.
As we head back down the inner child wants me to sit at the front next to driver and film the route down through the illuminated tunnels, filming the twin Cable car as it rises up to meet us at the halfway point. After being dropped at the bottom station, we head for the waterfront cafes and bars the line the quayside. Strangely we come across a Munich beer hall decked out in Bavarian sky blue covered beer tables and beer glasses, it’s too much for us to take in and we find another place in one of the renovated fish market buildings called The Boatshed with a balcony facing out over the quayside. We decide to go looking for the local brewery in the center of Wellington as a small pilgrimage to all the cool bottled beer we’ve drunk on our travels around NZ, Black Dog Brewery one of the favorites, unfortunately I’m still driving today so, no beer for me but it’s a cool bar /store where T-shirts can be bought and proudly worn. The waterfront is however the place to be in Wellington, lots of pubs, restaurants, green spaces and of course the prominent NZ Museum surrounded by green urban spaces, we find another restaurant Shed 22 later just outside the museum to test out the ambiance, before leaving sadly Wellington to drive up the coast towards Kapiti Island our favorite freedom camping site for the evening.
6th January 2017
Check out the Te Papa Museum of New Zealand : Te Papa
Where : Wellington, New Zealand
Travelling : From Upper Hutt, no distance at all, maybe half an hour to the centre of Wellington.
Camping : Upper Hutt on the outskirts of Wellington. Only thirty minutes to the centre of the city.
Next Up : Sunset over Kapiti Island