Wellington. The city that just keeps on giving. As a first time visitor, I could’ve spent days and days exploring the cities urban nooks. Not because it is a huge place, but because around every corner there is another cafe, another piece of street art, or another chatty local keen to share tips on their favourite shoe factory or carpark come restaurant to try. Despite the urban fun, it didn’t take too long before those recommendations were sending me beyond the city skyline. The tips became all about ferries, bays, nearby villages in valleys and the hobbit like hilly landscape that rolls out to the sea.
One afternoon, I headed north west to the coast past those hobbit like hills. I ended up at Boomrock Lodge, an eight kilometre stretch of untouched coastline at the top of a 250 metre cliff. I can’t say I expected any of the afternoons activities to come, but I can say that I’m not sure the last time that I had that much packed in action and fun. I somehow ended up 4WD-ing on an all terrain track alongside many a wooly sheep, shooting claybirds over the Cook Straight (I surprised myself here!) followed by a cosy wine by the fire with the friendly staff and with sunset views over the ocean and out across to the South Island. Heaven.
Another day was spent exploring around Petone in the Hutt Valley, only 20 minutes drive from the city. My new Wellington friend Alex was kind enough to take the day off work to show me around. First, I was introduced to the character filled and incredibly fun cafe Seashore Caberet, then on to the Dowse Art Museum where I fell in love with the Museum staff and became enthralled (read obsessed) in learning about the protective measures to prevent earthquakes smashing the museums ceramic collection. Lunch was a blow me away bowl of bibimbap and not your average peanut butter on toast at Comes&Goes cafe on Jackson St, followed by a trip to the artisan textiles mill, Stansborough, to see where woollen fabric for The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and Narnia is made. We ended the afternoon in Days Bay with a bit of drift wood scouting on the beach followed by a sunset ferry ride back to the city.
For those lucky enough to find themselves exploring this cool little capital, I hope you also get to explore the villages, nature and fun beyond the city. The list is endless (I'm still working through it)
but here are some of my favourites so far:
Boomrock Lodge | 292 Boom Rock Rd, Ohariu Valley, Wellington
Seashore Cabaret | 160 The Esplanade, Petone, Lower Hutt
The Dowse Art Museum | 45 Laings Road, Lower Hutt
Comes & Goes | 259 Jackson Street, Petone
Stansborough | 68 Fitzherbert Street, Petone
Petone Settlers Museum | The Esplanade, Petone, New Zealand