Our final stop in the North Island before continuing on to the South Island, was Wellington.
Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and consists of four urban areas, Wellington City, Wellington Harbour, Porirua and Hutt Valley. We stayed right in the middle of the CBD at the Setup on Dixon. The hostel was comfortable enough, feeling more like a converted office than cosy, inviting dorms and private rooms.
Despite spending five nights in the city, plus an additional night on our route back north, we didn’t actually do much in terms of activities. We spent the vast majority of our time wandering around the city sampling the wonderful food and drink options and admiring the beautiful architecture.
We had planned to visit the Wellington Botanic Garden but unfortunately we’d had very little sleep the night before due to a fire in our hostel and we were too exhausted to visit. You can see all the drama unfolding in our video here. On the plus side, we met our wonderful friend Negin who was sharing a room with our friend Betsy that we’d met the previous night. As a side note, Betsy has a wonderful blog with beautiful photos, you can check it out here.
As we mentioned earlier we did a lot of wandering around and you can sample that in our video here. We also spent a day on the Ultimate Movie Tour, visiting Lord of the Rings filming locations and ending the day at Weta Cave. We’ll be sharing all the details of the tour in a separate post.
So, by now you’re probably thinking what else did you do with your time. Well, we spent a day at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, or Te Papa for short.
The museum building was designed by Jasmax Architects and has been built to reflect the different cultures within New Zealand. The building’s north face reflects the Maori culture; embracing nature as it faces out into the harbour . The southern face reflects the European culture with it’s vibrant coloured panels in grid-like patterns symbolising the patterns of European settlement. The exhibits within the building showcase New Zealand’s diverse environment, it’s peoples social history and arts. When we visited there was also a temporary exhibition of DreamWorks art and sculptures relating to their many movie releases.
Weta had collaborated with the museum to put together an exhibit dedicated to the many New Zealanders that fought in Gallipoli during World War I.
The exhibit was filled with soldier’s things and displays detailing their plight. It also had a number of enormous models of different featured fighters, all in unbelievable lifelike detail. With the addition of evocative music and sound effects together with narration from soldier’s diary excerpts, the whole experience was quite overwhelming and emotive. If you’re in Wellington for a short period of time and don’t fancy seeing the giant squid or having a go on the earthquake simulator, at least make the effort to see this exhibit. In light of recent events it is very thought provoking and humbling.