NORWEGIAN JEWEL NEW ZEALAND CRUISE – FORTH PORT WELLINGTON
Another calm night, we arrived in Wellington day seven early, a little high cloud, with a slight breeze.
Tip: VISIT: TE PAPA TONGAREWA. Shell out for a guide, the only way to experience the national museum and art gallery of New Zealand, a surprising highlight of any visit to Wellington.
Wellington is compact, cultural and cruise friendly. Each year there are over 120 cruise ship visits into Wellington’s stunning harbour and the city and surrounding areas are rich with things for passengers to see and do.
TIP: TOUR: ZEALANDIA This is a conservation area at the city’s edge which acts as a refuge for New Zealand’s fragile native plants and birdlife, with the aim of restoring the land to its original state.This is also where you’ll see the Tuatara, a tiny, two-and-a-half pound reptile touted as the only dinosaur to survive extinction. Tours are escorted by volunteers who are best equipped at spotting wildlife around the lush green valley.
TIP: TOUR: WETA STUDIO TOURS Go behind the scenes of Peter Jackson’s cutting-edge film empire, view the artisans as they work and admire some of the ghoulish creatures brought to life in film. Short tours illustrate the incredible detail that goes into every single production, which extends far beyond the Lord of the Rings trilogy to exhibits such as Gallipoli, now showing at Te Papa. You can also tour WETA’s modern reboot of Thunderbirds and its incredible miniature sets.
There are lots of things that could be achieved in a day independently or better still, escorted by passionate Wellingtonians on a guided tour. From culture to coffee, music to movie-making, Wellington’s sights will leave you wanting more. You can check out their culture at Te Papa, get a taste of Wellywood at Weta Cave, and come face-to-face with nature at Zealandia, all in the same day.
At the last minute we opted for the Highlights of Wellington. We jumped on the tour bus for an historical and scenic highlight of New Zealand’s centre of government and culture, known as the “Capital of Cool”. We then took a picturesque drive along the lovely Oriental Bay towards Mount Victoria, which offered a spectacular 380 degree view of Wellington and its well-protected harbor.
TIP: RIDE: CABLE CAR The iconic cable car has been running since 1902 and takes you on a short journey to hilltop Kelburn via tunnels glowing with fun disco lights. Disembark at the Botanic Gardens, which has stunning views of the city, and swing by the cable car museum which as well as running through its history, plays a fascinating video on the well-heeled of Wellington’s exclusive form of transport
Next stop was one of Wellington’s most popular tourist attractions, the Wellington Cable Car, which runs from downtown Wellington to the picturesque suburb of Kelburn and Wellington Botanic Garden. Along the way, you’ll travel under the corporate towers of The Terrace, past Kelburn Park and Victoria University of Wellington. Emerging at the top, check out the lookout and Cable Car Museum or walk through the Wellington Botanic Garden. You’ll also be a short walk from Space Place at Carter Observatory. The view from the lookout takes in the city’s central business district, Mount Victoria and out across the harbour to the Hutt Valley and Eastbourne.
TIP: EXPLORE: HANNAH’S LANE They don’t call this “Little Portland” for nothing. This terrific little laneway lined with street art is home to some of Welly’s best producers. Stroll up and down to sample anything from fancy Six Barrel Soda to baked goods at famed cafe Leeds, before settling in at Shepherd restaurant, one of the city’s best. End the night at Hanging Ditch, an quirky, specialist cocktail bar where liquor hangs from the ceiling.
We then visited the Wellington Botanical Gardens, established in the 1860’s. We then headed down Bowen Street, home to New Zealand’s Parliament. The Highlights around Wellington so underwhelming we got out at the ships transfer area and walked around a little before getting the shuttle back to the ship for the afternoon Trivia. Kim enjoyed the night-time entertainment which made up for disappointing, underwhelming Wellington.
Check out what we got up-to in Wellington:
After ABBA it was flashback time. Everyone dusted off their leg warmers, leased their hair and pulled out the acid wash jeans to a time where video killed the radio star, the awesome 80’s