You know how high expectations can often ruin a place? I was so ready for that to happen to me with Wellington. I’m still yet to meet a person who didn’t gush about how I was just going to looooove it. Being the contrary lass that I am this meant I went in almost wanting not to like Wellington. I mean honestly, am I really that predictable?
Yes, as it turns out!
It’s a sure sign that you like a place when you’re planning a return just moments after you arrived, quickly realising we were only going to be able to scratch the surface. We only had two days in New Zealand’s ‘coolest little capital’ and because we camped outside the centre this list couldn’t even include the bars and nightlife. Guys, I loved a city without drinking in it. This must be love!
Here are the things I fell in love with first time around. Until next time, Wellington, when I’m sure I’ll have many things to add ot this list.
No one gives a shit about Earthquakes
We were halfway through our supermarket shop when I felt the floor start to move. I looked up at Mikey, panicked.
“Is this an earthquake?” I managed to squeak at him. He nodded. “Yes.”
A 5.5 magnitude quake was happening about 50 miles away and the shelves wouldn’t stop shaking. I was absolutely terrified. Unusually speechless I looked at the man next to us. He just shrugged and carried on shopping. Apparently, we were the only people inside who were bothered by the fact that the ground was moving beneath our feet. Cashiers continued to scan items, chatting with customers, as the tills wobbled.
Aside from Mikey and I no one gave two hoots. I thought it was the best thing I’d ever seen.
Beautiful nearby beaches
So this is probably not news to anyone else, but the coastline outside of the city is just utterly breathtaking. I’d been told about the cafes, art and museums. No one thought to mention the sharp cliff faces, seal colonies and endless empty beaches. We drove along the coastal road to Owhiro bay and my eyes were glued to the windows. “I could live here,” I told Mikey.
As we came within view of yet another postcard-perfect vista my heart tugged towards the ocean. “I could live here,” I sighed with a smile, a smile that Mikey returned.
Street art everywhere
On the floor, on the walls, hanging from the ceiling. There seemed to be more quirky sculptures or interesting graffiti than there were people. I can definitely imagine spending an afternoon wandering the city and looking for hidden gems!
Watersports in the harbour
Stand up paddle boarding in the Thames? No – I can’t see it either! But when you’re in Wellington you’ll see companies along the waterfront offering kayaks, SUP boards and more to those wanting a different view of the city.
Swimming in the City
The water is so clean that the council have installed various places where you can jump in for a swim. I was too scared to walk the plank below but I bet getting to the end and launching yourself in would be a hell of a lot of fun!
We also walked past a large set of stairs with various jumping boards at increasing heights. I may have felt some scepticism that anyone would use it if not for the group of guys drying off beside it. What a way to spend an afternoon!
We had one of our best lunches of the trip eating kilos of shellfish at The Crab Shack. After seeing the menu on our first afternoon I couldn’t get the thought of crabs doing backstroke through garlic butter out of my mind. (Reason #142 I will never be think).Rationalising that our camping diet of toast and pasta wasn’t costing us
Rationalising that our camping diet of toast and pasta wasn’t hurting our wallets (although probably hurting our health!) we splashed out. Oh my word, it was 100% worth the indignity of getting sauce literally all the way up to my elbows.
Beeping in the Victoria tunnel
I’ve got no idea why this is a thing, but I’m not going to question it. Apparently it’s against Welltonian law to drive the tunnel without honking your horn. We drove through a few times and beeped away until we couldn’t stop laughing!
Move over Melbourne, Oceania has a new king of coffee. The best bit? It’s served with about 50% less pretension and in biodegradable cups.
There’s a giant squid inside – need I say more? Oh. I do? Well it’s 100% free, has amazingly fast WiFi and exhibits on everything from earthquakes to modern Maori art. Doing it all in one go is a bit overwhelming (we got museum fatigue after a few hours) but I can imagine popping here on the weekends and discovering it bit by bit.
Views from Mount Victoria
Getting to see a city from above is always nice, it’s great to map out the place in your head. Or is that just me? The views from the top are wonderful and it’s definitely worth getting yourself to the top – just try and pick a day without too much wind!
The Kiwis have a notorious sense of humour, and this certainly extends to the sign greeting visitors at the airport. Wellington is known for it’s extreme winds as weather gets funnelled up through the narrow cook straight, so you can see why this is appropriate!
So there you have it! Having read my reasons can you blame me for loving this city?