I had a lot of fun relieving my travel experiences through my Sydney Adventures series. I’ve got a couple more ideas for travel series from when I went down to Peru for a month a few years ago, spending a few years growing up in the Philippines, and other places I’ve visited around New Zealand. Before diving into those, I thought I would do a few pieces about my hometown, Wellington.
I’ve lived here for pretty much all my life so I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable of this city. I thought it would be fun to look at what the internet (mainly TripAdvisor) considers the top sights of Wellington and offer some local opinion on it.
So strap in and brace for my ramblings. Here are the top 5 things to do in Wellington according to Trip Advisor, and my personal Wellingtonian opinion on it.
1) Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa)
(Photo credit goes to Discover Wellington. Apparently I never took a photo of the outside of Te Papa.)
I love Te Papa and it deserves the top spot. They have a number of permanent exhibitions (I love looking at the giant squid, and going in the earthquake house), but also a lot of fixed term exhibitions. One of the latest and biggest exhibitions has been . Gallipoli: The scale of our war. There are huge lifelike models created by Weta, each based on a real life kiwi who was in the First World War. It’s amazing, and if you come to Wellington definitely go see it before it goes in 2019. Like most exhibitions in Te Papa, it’s free. We went in the first weekend it came out, and the line went for around 40 minutes.
Every time I’ve visited, there’s been something new to look at and explore. It’s also a great place to bring kids, there’s so much interactive areas and areas that cater specifically to children. The day care centre I work at is in town, and we often come here to bring the kids to spark wonder and project ideas. Their favourite area is outside where you can discover dinosaur fossils by digging around in the sand.
Personally, I love the main exhibitions the best. There is a cost to these, but it’s pretty standard pricing. These change every four months, so I always keep an eye on what’s coming up and make a plan to go see it. Being a local, there’s no rush for me to go, which is lucky. The current exhibition is all about bugs. I went and was fascinated and disgusted at the same time. Weta again had a hand in making these models, so they’re very lifelike (and giant).
The previous one I went to was about Dreamworks Animation which I adored.
But honestly, there’s so much to do there. We’ve wasted whole days there before, and will again in the future. It’s also located on the waterfront which is a beautiful spot, especially on a sunny day.
2) The Great War Exhibition
This is at the National War Memorial Park. I very much enjoyed the one at Te Papa, and I’ve been told my friends and family who have gone to it that there is some similarities, but that the Park one is much more detailed and informative. I do plan to visit it soon, but it is not really an interest of mine so I haven’t actively made an effort to see it. It is also very popular and often has a long line to get in. If it does interest you, then definitely go.
3) Wellington Botanic Garden
Credit for the photos go to my mum. I searched through my own photos and found that one of the few photos I’ve taken at Botanical gardens is the one below because I couldn’t stop laughing at it’s name.
Regardless, I’m here every few months. It’s a beautiful area which often has events going on, especially during summer. I went with work friends a few weeks ago to a free concert in the Soundshell. It’s definitely somewhere to spend the morning/afternoon and have a picnic. There’s a decent playground up the hill too, as a child (and adult) I have spent a lot of time there.
Otherwise, the gardens have a lot of winding paths up and down hills and you get to see a range of different flowers, plants, trees. It is one of the more picturesque places in Wellington. Check out some official photos of the Botanical Gardens, don’t just take my word for it.
4) Mount Victoria
(Photo credit to Discover Wellington again)
Ah yes, Mt Victoria. One of my earliest memories is driving up here with my family to look down and around the town. Dad would often point out where our house was, as it was next to a big grassy area so we could spot it. Nowadays, Rory and I often walk up the track to the top. It’s a nice walk, but I do get winded heading up it still. It’s also very popular with joggers and locals.
It holds an even more special place in my heart than the other places, since this is where Rory proposed to me last year.
5) Zealandia Sanctuary
Previously called the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, Zealandia feels like another world. New Zealand is considered to be one of the more beautiful countries on earth. Look online and you’ll find many photos of otherworldy scenery. I’ve only seen a small portion of it, but I consider Zealandia to be a good example of this. It’s very peaceful, and you’ll come across a number of birds and critters just running around minding their own business.
There you have it, the top 5 things to do in Wellington! Any places you think should be in the top 5 instead? I’d love to know.