Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and its third largest city, located on the bottom of the North Island. Here are the highlights:
Mt. Victoria – The summit has a beautiful panoramic view of the city and on the way there you can see the Victorian style houses like the ones from San Francisco.
The waterfront – Because of the cold (and my laziness), I hadn’t gone on a jog in NZ yet, but I had to do it here since it was our last stop in the North Island. The waterfront was the perfect spot for it, alongside the harbor and the super clean beaches.
Parliament Buildings – Nothing special besides the weird beehive building and Katherine Mansfield’s house a few blocks away. She is NZ’s most famous author and now I’m eager to find some of her short stories after reading this quote: “What can you do if you are thirty and, turning the corner of your own street, you are overcome, suddenly by a feeling of bliss – absolute bliss! – as though you’d suddenly swallowed a bright piece of that late afternoon sun and it burned in your bosom, sending out a little shower of sparks into every particle, into every finger and toe?”
Cable Car and Botanical Gardens – An old fashioned cable car takes you up the hill to the gardens, where you follow a path back down to the city. There are many different trails that make it one of the most beautiful city gardens I’ve seen.
Te Papa Museum – full of history about New Zealand and its earthquakes, marine life, Maori natives, and immigrants. Too much information, but I enjoyed a house that shakes as if in an earthquake and the giant squid they caught in 2011. They were also having a temporary exhibit on Impressionism and Renoir (yay, my favorites!) and another one on Andy Warhol that was amazing. I finally got to see his Marilyn Monroe pop art work up close.
Cuba Street – The place to go shopping and see the famous water bucket fountain.
Courtney Place – The theater district full of bars and restaurants, but unfortunately I still haven’t had a superb meal in NZ. Everything is super salty. The highlight was watching “Swan Lake” by the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Wellington was the perfect place for my culture fix (especially after watching all the bar games the night before).