Wellington, New Zealand
Capital City of New Zealand
Reminds many of San Francisco
Wellington is the world's most southern capital and the only capital in the "Roaring Forties" latitudes. Wellington was the first Capital City to see in the new millennium. Nearly all Wellington residents are within 3 km of the sea. Wellington gets more sunshine than Auckland, Melbourne and London and less rain than Auckland and Sydney.
The owner of Keene Luxury Travel, Ngaire, grew up in this is the town, so she knows it very well. Many people think that Wellington harbor looks like San Francisco harbor without the bridge. Wellington is very hilly and is known as “Windy Wellington”. There are often strong southerly winds that come from Cook Strait, the sea between the South and the North Island. The entire harbor is a semicircle with developments and townships all the way around. A favorite drive is around Oriental bay that takes you around one of the areas of Wellington with the nicest homes.
Te Papa Tongarewa Museum
One of the newer main attractions is the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa that does cover the Maori history very well. The cafe at Te Papa is outstanding. The cafe is well worth a visit and be sure to try one of their delectable desserts.
Cable Car and Botanical Gardens
I would highly suggest a ride on the cable car to the botanical gardens. The cable car leaves from downtown and is used by the locals as a means of transportation so it is not just a tourist attraction. The Botanical Gardens at the top are really lovely and the views of the harbor are great. It can be windy at the top so I wish you a calm day but it is worth the trip. It only takes about 5 minutes at the most to get to the top.
This is also a great scenic overview. Most visitors to
Wellington head up Mount Victoria. This is probably the best scenic
overview of Wellington and the harbor.
Heading out of Wellington, you have to go quite a distance to get to other scenic areas. These are mostly the West Coast beaches frequented by locals on the weekends. This is a town that I would spend most of my time in the city proper and not worry about going further out into the country.
Lord of the Rings
Wellington was the main filming and production location for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. This was shot in New Zealand between October 1999 and December 2000. Experience Middle Earth in all its diversity while you are in Wellington. Conservation and legal requirements mean no film sets from Lord of the Rings remain. However, there is still a lot of Middle Earth to see.
This is a suggestion itinerary to visit places of interest in Wellington.
- Eastbourne: The Dominion Post Ferry will take you across the harbor to Eastbourne where Sir Ian McKellan lived during filming. He reportedly loved the ferry ride to the city. Enjoy breakfast at one of the many outdoor cafes or stroll along the picturesque beach.
- Mount Victoria: When you return to the city, drive up to Mount Victoria. Numerous scenes from all three movies were shot in Mount Victoria's City Belt, including Hobbiton Woods where hobbits Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin hid from the Ringwraiths in the Fellowship of the Ring. Mount Victoria also has fantastic views of Wellington city and harbour ‐ a superb spot for photos
- Chocolate Fish Cafe: During filming of Lord of the Rings, many of the stars were spotted enjoying a latte at the Chocolate Fish Café. Drive along Wellington's coastal road, past Oriental Bay and the airport to Scorching Bay on Wellington's South Coast. With its stunning views out to sea and relaxed atmosphere, this quirky cafe was a popular haunt of the stars.
- Home of the Hobbits: After lunch, continue your drive around the South Coast ‐ a little further on you will come to the quaint seaside suburb of Seatoun where most of the cast and crew lived during filming. Seatoun is also home to Peter Jackson and was the setting for a number of scenes in the trilogy. Bree, home of the Prancing Pony Inn, where the four hobbits take overnight refuge, was filmed at Fort Dorset in Seatoun. Keep driving around the coast past Breaker Bay and the Wellington Airport and ust past the airport is Lyall Bay where Billy Boyd (Pippin) and Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) learned to surf!