It dawned on me recently that there are millions of websites out there rattling off their list of top things to do in a particular city or country.
It’s great and all… BUT…
They NEVER tell you the order in which you should do these things to maximize your experience. It’s so darn important! Because let’s face it, the more time you spend in a city, the more you get to know it, therefore, you don’t want to sign up to a tour on day 3 that would’ve been waaaay more useful (info-wise) on day one.
Now before we get to the nitty gritty, I would like to quickly herald to the heavens that Wellington is swell-ington! This city doesn’t get enough love in my opinion. Might I remind you that Wellington (Not Auckland!) is the capital on New Zealand folks. So let’s give credit where credit’s due – This city is the creative and culinary heartbeat of New Zealand with stunning scenery to boot. And though it be but little, it has a heck of a lot on offer for trespassing travellers like you and me.
And to make life easier for you, I’m giving you my #WINNING WELLINGTON ITINERARY!
Every time I land in a new city I hunt out any sort of walking tour. Why? Because it gets my neighbourhood bearings in check and uncovers hidden city charms right from the get go.
The best part about the Wellington Zest Food Tour? It boasts a winning formula of a city exploration by foot and feasting, feasting, feasting! What’s not to love?! Plus, whilst you’ve got your first real life tour guide on hand, you can unload all your questions on day one to prepare you for the days to come.
HOT TIP: Whatever you do, DO NOT do this tour on a Sunday. Many places, including the chocolate factory, are closed so you risk missing out on some seriously tasty delights. Bugger!
HIGHLIGHT: Visiting the gelato shop and taste testing exotic flavours. My hands down winners were the ginger beer and rhubarb crumble gelato.
No trip to Wellington is complete without a visit to the incredible Te Papa Museum. Endless wonders to be unearthed here. Once again, I can’t recommend a tour guide enough. You’ll barely scratch the surface without one. And you won’t blow your budget as entry is completely free! #huzzah.
I think what sets this museum apart is the interactive exhibits. I got to experience an earthquake simulator and control the expressions of a giant (and somewhat scary looking) puppet.
ABSOLUTE MUST DO: Gallipoli: The Scale of our War Exhibition. This was the most powerful, moving and heartbreaking experience. The giant, to-scale, detailed sculptures truly brought home the magnitude of such tragic events. I could’ve spent hours in here pouring over every anecdote and war story. This exhibition blew me away.
For novelty purposes and just a few dollars you can take a joy ride on this locomotive piece of history from the heart of Lambton Quay up to the lookout right at the top of the Botanical gardens. It’s a charming little ride and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the tunnel light show. My inner 8 year old was squealing with delight. It was a real Harry Potter-esque moment for me.
And just for sheer convenience, you can take a free shuttle from the top of the cable car straight to…
An impressive 225 hectares of wilderness, I loved every second of getting lost in this heavenly eco sanctuary. It’s crazy to think that this wonderland of birds is a mere 2km from downtown Wellington! The second I stepped inside, I felt miles away from city clutter.
HOT TIP: Get off the beaten track and adventure through the “more advanced” bush walks of Zealandia. My hubby and I felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. We didn’t pass anyone for an hour. It was just us and the songs of birds – heavenly!
I’ll let my photos do the talking for this one…
Because it’s your final night in Wellington and you deserve to treat yo’self. And if you’re a foodie like me, your taste buds are in for a treat! I had the classic “I don’t know what to order, everything sounds amazing!” problem. So I took myself on a wee food safari and ordered lots of smaller dishes to taste ’em all (well, mostly).
HIGHLIGHT: The oysters. Nuff said!
It’s the final day so let’s get adventurous!
Here’s a fun idea, let’s go count sunbathing seals… one, two, ten, twenty… Oops lost count. Now if you’re a sucker for wildlife then you will LOVE this safari tour. But before you get to the prized seals you will rough it out on a rugged 20km drive over rocks, around headlands and finally hit the beach. The views are sublime, the seals are wild and the tour guide Kent is an absolute legend! This was a standout highlight of the whole trip. And in my opinion, one should always save the best for last!
HOT TIP: Prepare yourself for the smell of the seals. This isn’t like a zoo where they’re tucked away neatly behind thick glass – these seals are wild and free and smelly as can be. Just prepare yourself for the worst and the stench ain’t so bad, promise.
So there you have it! A fabulous getaway neatly packaged into 3 whole days. Wellington has the goods for a good time and is certain to quench your wanderlust thirst!
Have you visited Wellington before? Let me in on your hot tips and secret spots below!
Love Peanut xo
By Gemma Pranita
Photography | Gemma Pranita + Matthew Rooney