I’ve got to be honest with you, I am not great at photographing cities, probably because, generally, I don’t like them. I get lost between the buildings, the people and the chaos.
Concrete jungles don’t impress me as much as natural landscapes do, but there was a certain charm about Wellington that’s difficult for me to explain.
Wellington has been the capital of New Zealand since 1865 and recently it has celebrated its 150 year anniversary. For someone like me, coming from Europe, 150 years isn’t really that long. If you are looking for ancient history you won’t find it here. What you will find are quaint streets and harbours intertwined with a hippy atmosphere.
I spent a couple of days in Wellington exploring the city at my own pace. If I were to compare it to any other place in the world that I have visited, it would be San Francisco. Its location, housing and windy weather took me back to my awesome memories from my life in California. Maybe that’s why I liked it so much.
The top attractions you shouldn’t miss when visiting Wellington
The Solace of the Wind Statue was created by Max Patte. His inspiration during the creation process was Wellington, its elements, its culture and its people.
The statue itself is of a naked man taking in the Lambton Harbour.
2. Mount Victoria
One of the absolute must dos in Wellington is hiking to the top of the Mount Victoria lookout. It takes 45 minutes to walk there from the city center and it’s well worth it. Driving there is also an option. On the top you can spot native birds and enjoy the 360 degree view over New Zealand’s capital.
3. The Wellington Botanic Garden
The botanic gardens are situated high above the township. It’s a short walk or a thrilling cable car ride. At the botanic gardens you’ll be able to spot native fauna and flora. Whilst I was there the ground was covered in the biggest pine cones I had ever seen.
Keep an ear out for the call of the native Tui. It’s a mimic bird that copies other birds songs (mostly common songbirds) but it has a distinctive post song ‘cough’.
4. The Carter Observatory
The Carter Observatory is one of the main highlights of the Botanic Gardens. It’s an interesting place which has lots of interactive elements. In my eyes this is what makes it stand out amongst other museum like attractions.
You can book yourself into one of the planetarium shows and take a peak at the stars through their historic telescope. It only costs $12.50NZD for an adult, a real bargain.
New Zealand is one of the best places in the world to see the stars so don’t pass up this opportunity to look through the famous Thomas Cook telescope.
5. Cuba Street
One of my favorite things there was the bucket fountain – an iconic kinetic sculpture, which consists of a series of “buckets” that fill with water until they overflow, spilling their load into more buckets and the pool below.
The level of busking here is just phenomenal. Don’t forget to tip!!!
6. The Harbourside Market
Unfortunately it’s only on Sundays but does run all year round. In the summer the operating hours run from 7.30am until 2pm and in the winter it closes an hour earlier than this.
The year 2020 will mark the 100 year anniversary of this event.
Where to stay in Wellington?
As you would expect in any capital city around the World there is no shortage of tourist accommodation in Wellington. Below you can find few of my personal recommendation to make your stay as awesome as possible.
Have you been to Wellington? What’s your favourite spot there? Share in the comments below!
If you are planning a trip to New Zealand make sure to check out my New Zealand Travel Guide for information on road trip itineraries, hiking, backpacking and photography locations.