Reasons to visit Wellington
When it comes to New Zealand, we’ve more or less heard of the well-discovered Christchurch and Auckland. Don’t get me wrong - these places are absolutely beautiful and worth a visit, but if you’re like me and looking for someplace more unique to start your NZ holiday trip, consider Wellington!
It’s after all, NZ’s iconic movie capital and the birthplace of the legendary film series, The Lord Of the Rings. Plus, there are tons of other activities first-timers can further engage in, ranging from artsy to gastronomical.
Friends, get your passports ready. Whether you’re a serious LOTR fanatic or looking for something different, Wellington has so much to offer. Here are 9 fun things to add to your to-do list for your first Wellington experience.
1. Witness movie magic first-hand at Weta Cave
Image credit: @aisylu_izhboldina
Movie buffs will get a kick out of visiting Weta Cave, where you’ll get to explore the mini-museum housing some of the actual props, artworks and replicas from major blockbusters such as King Kong, The Avengers and The Lord of the Rings.
The making of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Minas Tirith miniature
Image credit: @wetaworkshop
Cinephiles should also sign up for a behind-the-scenes tour of Weta Studio and Weta Workshop. You’ll get to witness movie-making magic IRL and learn more about the other impressive projects the Workshop has worked on like Thor: Ragnarok and Ghost in the Shell.
While the workshop doesn’t include any signs of the Asgardian god Thor himself, the in-depth look at the blockbusters’ creative process is more than enough to make the trip here worthwhile.
Address: 1 Weka Street, Miramar, Wellington Central, Wellington, 6022, New Zealand
Opening hours: Daily 9AM-5.30PM (Except on Christmas Day)
Price: Adult ($28) | Child ($13)
2. Take a customary OOTD at Clyde Quay Boat Sheds
Image credit: @johepaz
Fun fact: Wellington’s Clyde Quay Boat Sheds are so iconic, they were featured in a Miranda Kerr photoshoot for the New York Times. Bust out your cameras, your boldest poses and channel your own inner supermodel here.
Image credit: @emariba99
While you’re there, pop into the nearby Enormous Crocodile & Shake for desserts of seriously epic proportions. Their “freakshakes” are famed to be some of the best shakes in Wellington and even come in vegan-friendly options for the health-conscious.
Work off the calories after by renting their popular Croc-bikes, a shared vehicle that sits between 5 to 8 persons. But of course, the more the merrier. The cycle route will take you past Oriental Bay, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and around the Kupe's statue at Queen's Wharf.
Image credit: @roydensmith
The Enormous Crocodile & Shake
Address: 5/22 Herd Street, Te Aro, Wellington 6011
Opening hours: Daily 10AM-6:30PM
3. Play and pay-as-you-wish at mini golf club Carlucci Land
Image credit: @carlucciland
This one’s for all the mini-golf fanatics and those with a penchant for quirky things. Carlucci Land is like a theme park, but instead of riding roller coasters, you play mini-golf at this 18-hole course.
Artist Carl Gifford creates masterpieces out of recycled materials and decorates Carlucci Land with a junkyard theme in mind. For all the artistically inclined, there are tons of unorthodox and fascinating art displays such as the Spider Car for you to appreciate.
The Spider Car makes for a great photo opportunity.
Image credit: @julian_williams86
Carlucci Land operates on an honesty box too and it’s pay-as-you-wish, so anyone can visit to support this eccentric art playground.
Address: 281 Happy Valley Road, Happy Valley, Wellington
Opening hours: Daily 9.30AM till late
Price: Honesty box - it’s up to you!
4. Eat your way through Wellington on a Zest Food Tour
Seared salmon and runny scotch eggs
Image credit: @zestfoodtours
Can we even function at our best without some good ol' digging in? In true Singaporean fashion, your adventure has to include an epic Zest Food Tour where you’ll get to sample some of the best foods Wellington has got to offer.
BBQ chicken, bacon and spicy prawn cocktail in a Turkish bun, topped with tempura crab and chilli prawns
Image credit: @crabshackwellington
Everything on the food tour will be handpicked and recommended by locals who know what’s good so you’ll be getting an authentic and comprehensive experience.
Expect to indulge in some of the freshest seafood available at this harbour city and even get to meet some of the passionate personalities behind what you’re eating.
Fix & Fogg’s ethically sourced, all-natural peanut butter on a berry toast
Image credit: @fixandfogg
And before you leave, take a leisurely stroll down Hannah’s Laneway to grab some souvenirs to remember New Zealand by. Bring home a couple bottles of quality peanut butter from Fix & Fogg or maybe some bean-to-bar chocolate from the Wellington Chocolate Factory.
5. Learn how to ride the waves at Lyall Bay
Image credit: @adventuress_steph
LOTR fanatics might recognize the cliff face near Lyall Bay - it was a filming location for Dunharrow. Remember to strike your most valiant pose and feel the wind against your face while you take one for the ’gram.
Image credit: @urbanjungle_gardener
Also, Lyall Bay isn’t called one of Wellington’s most popular surf beaches for nothing! It’s rumoured that Billy Boyd (Pippin) and Viggo Mortensen (Aragon) learned how to surf on this very beach. Follow in their footsteps and experience surfing at this cool beach for yourself.
6. Spot shooting stars using NZ’s oldest telescope at Space Place, Carter Observatory
Image credit: museumswellington.org.nz
Space Place at Carter Observatory is New Zealand's national observatory, and it houses the country’s oldest working telescope. There’s an ultra-modern digital planetarium where you’ll get to go on virtual space adventures and it’s perfect for all who’ve dreamt of being an astronaut when they were kids.
New Zealand’s oldest working telescope
Image credit: @sandro_loop
Plus, you’ll get to learn more about astronomy while lying down and gazing at Wellington’s majestic night sky. With the myriad of stars twinkling above you, it’s a sight to behold indeed.
Address: 40 Salamanca Rd, Kelburn, Wellington 6012
Opening hours: Tue & Fri 4PM-11PM | Sat 10AM-11PM | Sun 10AM-5.30PM
Price: $12.50 (Adult) | $10 (Senior/Student) | $8 (Child)
7. Discover unique street art that spans across walls at Cable Street
Cable Street’s Shark Wall
Image credit: @_dside
Strolling down Cable Street, you’ll be greeted by a giant mural covered in sharks with their own unique colours and patterns. It’s worth noting that this particular work of art is also a statement calling for action against shark finning by iconic NZ artists, Damin Radford Scott and Andrew J. Steel. Add meaning to your usual OOTD here by spreading awareness for a good cause.
Spot hidden gems in every nook and cranny at Hannah’s Laneway
Image credit: @tony_lachevre
And if you can’t get enough of such masterpieces, check out Hannah’s Laneway or Egmont Street just a stone’s throw away for more quirky street art and bold graffiti like this.
8. Transport back to the 90’s at Wellington’s Cable Car Museum
Image credit: @wellingtoncablecar
We might be familiar with cable cars and what they do, but if you’ve ever been curious about how they really work, check out Wellington’s very own Cable Car Museum to learn more about the intricate mechanics behind it. It’s unlike the suspending ones we have in Singapore and here, you’ll get to experience something totally different.
Image credit: @drjulie.bhosale
And that’s not all. Dress up in costumes from the past to snap some commemorative pictures before riding the famous red cable car to get a breathtaking view of gorgeous Wellington from the peak.
The cable cars are gentle too - they’ll provide just the right about of thrill for both kids and those with an understandable fear of heights.
Cable Car Museum
Address: 1A Upland Rd, Kelburn, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
Opening hours: Daily 9.30AM-5PM (Except for Christmas Day)
9. Breathe the same air as Frodo at Kaitoke Regional Park
Image credit: @reenriquez_
Another one for the LOTR fans! Scenes for Rivendell and the Fords of Isen in the The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy were filmed in Kaitoke Regional Park itself, where ancient-looking trees and clear streams added a touch of magic to the blockbuster we all know and love.
Image credit: @string_nz
Don’t worry even if you’re not familiar with LOTR because this park has more to offer. You can take a relaxing walk through the forest to reconnect with nature or go for a refreshing swim in the Hutt and Pakuratahi rivers. Either way, there’s always a little something to beckon your outdoorsy spirit.
Start your Wellington Vacay With Singapore Airlines
LOTR buffs, Wellington is perfect for you to satisfy your inner geeks - you’ll get to witness where the magic happened. Even for newbies who’ve never been to NZ, Wellington is a great place to visit if you’re looking for some peace and tranquillity in between new activities.
If you’re already looking forward to the unique experiences Wellington has got to offer, Singapore Airlines flies 4 times weekly to Wellington and they’re having a Special Fare deal where you can get flight tickets to Wellington starting from only $758 when you book before 12 March 2019*.
*Selected travel period from 1st April to 31st August 2019
Going to a country for the first time can prove nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be when you can count on Singapore Airlines to take care of your journey. From their in-flight entertainment system that includes up to 1,800 entertainment options, to their wide selection of meals onboard, you’ll be fully charged for the adventures that await in Wellington.
Who knows, New Zealand’s underrated capital could very well be your new favourite travel destination.
This post was brought to you by Singapore Airlines, Tourism New Zealand and Wellington Airport.