Another travel blog for you and, as the last one on Napier seems to have gone down so well, I hope you enjoy my quick visit around this windy & cool (in both senses of the word!) city as much!
Wellington is New Zealand's capital city and what I wasn't expecting was how gorgeous the buildings and scenery were and how easy it was to walk everywhere. There was an interesting old street, building or architectural delight around every corner. And I love the way the houses are built up hills, much like a tiny San Francisco, overlooking the pretty bay.
Every visitor's favourite area to visit in Wellington is Cuba Street. Known as one of the more trendy, edgy areas of the city, it's full of eclectic cafes, pre-loved & vintage shops, independent boutiques, art galleries & bars - galore. I just loved it, but amazingly didn't buy a thing. It was the most expensive vintage clothing I have ever come across! But a very enjoyable few hours was spent wandering up and down this interesting street and the surrounding area.
There was only one dry, sunny day while I visited Wellington, so I spent a lot of time at the gorgeous Embassy Theatre dodging the rain and catching up with movies. Art Deco and stunning inside, it's the only custom-built 1920s cinema still in use in New Zealand. Apparently millions of dollars was spent on it for the Premiere of the Lord of the Rings, money well spent I'd say!
Oh, and New Zealand & Aussie audiences are much better behaved than UK & US ones.....little chatting, mobile use, crunching noisy food & fidgeting! (Hello to Jason Isaacs). If you have no idea what on earth I am wittering about you are obviously not a member of The Church. If you love movies, you need to join up immediately! Please let me know if you're a fellow wittertainment follower.
How's this for a cinema and just look at those loos!
And culture.....there's culture galore in Wellington. Te Papa Museum is really interesting and well worth a visit, especially on a wet day, and I was lucky enough to be in town for Waitangi Day to see some of the local kids singing Kapa Haka ( Maori dancing & singing to express their Polynesian identity) in the blistering wind. It was magical. Sorry, too noisy to share a video with you, here's a photo of a bad Wellington day instead!. Reminds me of home.
But the best cultural highlight for me has to be the hotel I stayed at. The QT Museum Wellington is central, just across the road from the Te Papa museum, walking distance to Cuba Street & everywhere you're likely to want to go, and is like the wackiest museum itself, with amazing art and eccentric objects in every corner of the huge downstairs area. I spent hours there!
The hotel very kindly gave me an upgrade to a stunning apartment, which I could have lived in, room service was fantastic, essential for the wet & windy nights, and the renowned, hotel's Hippopotamus Restaurant did not disappoint, at all! Thank you Chef Laurent Loudeac for preparing that gorgeous sushi and seared yellow fin tuna for me so I could have a taster of your fabulous food. Delicious and beautiful too!
There's also a lovely pool & small gym at the QT Museum Wellington should the need arise. But I was as happy as Larry eating beautiful food, admiring the art & resting in my lovely room after walking my socks off all over this beautiful city.
Finally, I have to share this photo with you, 'cause I love it and it brings home the reminder that even New Zealand isn't entirely safe. It shows the Reading Cinema car park being pulled down because of quake-damage. NZ is such a nice change from Australia because you know nothing's going to kill you in the sea or hinterland, and then you see what the earthquakes can do.
I had an absolutely brilliant time in Wellington, despite the weather, and it is by far my very favourite city in New Zealand, and I'm pretty sure I've visited them all now. If you love shopping, quirky shops, interesting architecture, and great food, (and need to renew your visa for Australia, as I did!) you'll love it - and there's even a beach! Just pack an umbrella & a windproof jacket and have a brilliant time.