My niece and I just spent Two Days in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. It was a quick visit. We tried to be economical but I think we would have had more fun if we had a week in Wellington.
We called it express travel to the world’s southern most capital city. We made a plan and hit the highlights.
Our two day in Wellington itinerary:
We started with an early morning flight flight from Auckland. As we were only going for one night, luggage was not an issue. I could shove a change of clothes and a few toiletries in my handbag, while she took a small day pack. Once in Wellington we took the Super Shuttle with our drop off point at the base of the cable car. We purchased one way tickets, and took the cable car to the top.
At the top, we enjoyed the view, then entered Wellington’s lovely Botanical Gardens. We opted to skip the Cable Car Museum at the top of the hill and also the Carter Observatory on the way through the gardens. We strolled along the path through the gardens that lead to the parliament and other government buildings. It’s all down hill and the plant and flowers are ever changing and interesting. We did stop in orchid house:
At the Botanic Garden Gate at the bottom we were only a block from New Zealand’s Parliament building, nicknamed the “beehive” for obvious reasons.
We were able to get into the next Parliament tour. They run hourly and are free. I am embarrassed to admit, during the portion of the tour when we all sit, I fell asleep. I think it was a result of the early flight, as I have taken the tour before and found it fascinating. One of my personal favorite things to do is to observe the Parliament in session. This is not part of the tour, and also free. We joined others the viewing balcony where no photos were allowed, and to be sure they took everything, coats, cameras, phones, purses, etc before we were allowed in. Which is too bad, as I would love to share the heckling between our elected officials. It reminds me of small children to watch the members of Parliament heckle each other while they speak.
By now the afternoon was winding down. Our next stop was to meet up with a friend of mine. He suggested The Thistle Inn, an historic bar located in the oldest hotel in New Zealand which is still trading from its original site.
Afterwards dinner, a walk down Cuba Street to watch the street performers and finally a few games of pool in the Downtown Backpackers where we were staying.
You may be wondering why this is the second time I am telling you about a location claiming to be the oldest hotel in New Zealand. Simply, the Duke of Marlborough was burnt to the ground and re-built in 1845, making it the first to hold a license while the Thistle Inn is the oldest still trading from the original site.
The morning brought us a Wellington waterfront walk, a break for coffee on the famous Cuba Street, a visit to Te Papa (the national museum), a dive into Taranaki wharf (my niece took the plunge, I took the photos), a salsa lesson, a fashion consult, and a food fair.
Check out these trolls from the Hobbit at the national museum (created by Weta Workshop also located in Wellington, but not accessible without a car). My niece in the foreground gives you a bit of perspective as to their massive size.
A quick flight back home and there you have it, a week in Wellington in two days.
Travel Tips for Two Days in Wellington:
- Purchase a one-way cable car ticket rather than a return ticket, as it is easy to find yourself walking down as you stroll through the Botanical Gardens.
- Check the on-line Parliament schedule to be sure they are in session when you visit. Try to time your day to arrive at Parliament just before 2pm, so you can watch the Question and Answer portion in the viewing rooms. This is generally the most interesting hour. If you want to see the session called to order, you need to be there before 1.30, but you will sit and wait in the chambers until 2pm.
- Take a free Parliament tour in addition to observing in the gallery.
- Adults are not allowed to wear short pants to Parliament. There are a few other rules, so be sure to dress appropriately – although the day we were there dress code was not enforced.
- If you have a car, don’t forget the Weta Workshop, where they do the special effects for Lord of the Rings, Lord of the Rings and so many more movies. In reality it is more of a gift shop than a museum, but the do have enough original gear to make it worth the visit.
- We stayed at Downtown Backpackers an inexpensive accommodation. It smelled clean but there was a stray hair and unknown smear on the sink.
- Believe the Super Shuttle lady, downtown is really close to the airport. The time she suggests is probably plenty – no need to go extra early.