With gale-force winds that will whip your canvas pop-top and sweep away anything not tethered down to your camper, Wellington’s character is as strong as its extreme weather. A vibrant city, stunning landscape and so much more awaits.
Here are the top 12 reasons everyone’s smitten with Wellington.
#1 – It’s Gorgeous
Photo credit: Russell Street
Framed by lush hillsides and a wind-whipped harbour, the city itself is a vivacious cluster of high-rises grasping at the sky and beaches stretching southward along the coast while the northern trails take you to the luscious Hutt Valley.
#2 – Te Papa is Tops
Photo credit: D Coetzee
If you’re looking for some big-name exhibits or for a taste of the riveting Maori art, Te Papa has it all. The gallery features interactive exhibits that all ages will love. It’s impossible to see it all in a single visit, so always keep it on your list!
#3 – Amazing Wildlife
New Zealand’s biodiversity is one of the world’s most interesting and most varied, and a great way to get a taste of the local wildlife is to frequent one of Wellington’s many nature preserves.
Check out more than 30 native bird species at Zealandia, take a tour to a nearby seal colony, and make sure not to miss the Wellington Botanic Gardens which features the native forest as well as a rose garden, duck pond, café and more.
If you’re really lucky, you might even catch sight of some orcas passing by in the harbor.
#4 – Cable Cars!
Who doesn’t love a good cable car outing? Ditch your camper for a short while and take a cruise on a cable car to explore Wellington. You’ll be clicking and clanking up the city slopes as you get a view of the surrounding forest in this relic transport which dates back to 1902.
#5 – Adventures Galore
Want to get your hands dirty and explore the bush?
Take an off-road cycle tour with your thrill-seeking friends or hop on a horse for a coastline trot. Trails abound as well as plenty of sailing and kayaking expeditions. Don’t miss the chance to hop out of the camper, stretch your legs and get some adrenaline pumping.
#6 – It is Middle Earth
Photo credit: Michael B. Johnson
For the best road trip prep ever, read (or reread) the Lord of the Rings series or watch the movies to get ready to walk in the steps of Frodo and clamber up to Gollum’s cave. Wellington tour companies help you explore both the fabulous views and movie scenes as well as provide tours of Peter Jackson’s studios.
#7 – Indulge Your Inner Foodie
When it comes to eats, Wellington has it all.
Whether you’re craving something Italian, American, Turkish, local or anywhere in between, you’ll have plenty of options both for a classy meal or something more casual. Oh, and seafood lovers, Wellington is your paradise. Make Ortega Fish Shack your first stop.
#8 – Beaches Abound
Photo credit: Ari Bakker
It may be windy, but Wellington is a great spot to soak up some rays on a sandy beach bed. You’re never far away from the water, so remember to always pack your beach book and sunglasses.
#9 – Wellingtonians are Wonderful
This small city has a huge personality, and one of the best things about going to Wellington is interacting with the locals. Well-educated, eco-savvy and with a salt-of-the-earth kind of friendliness, Wellingtonians are a great resource when it comes to advice, fun and adventure.
#10 – Honk Your Horn In the Mt.Vic Tunnel
Photo credit: Newsbie Pix
It’s windy, it’s beautiful and it’s full of quirks. When you drive around Wellington and find yourself approaching the Mt. Victoria tunnel, don’t be alarmed to hear car horns honking with joy. For some reason, this time honoured tradition is respected by everyone, so give a good old honk in your camper like a true local.
#11 – Camp On Somos
What was once a lonely quarantine for incoming ships has emerged in the 21st century to be a hidden treasure of camping and wildlife.
In just a 20 minute boat ride, you can make the island a cool day trip destination, or bring your tent along and camp out overnight to catch sights of the sunset, giant weta bugs and even blue penguins.
#12- Sunday Market Goodies
Photo credit: Phillip Capper
Every Sunday you will find fruits, vegetables, live music and tons of fun directly on the waterfront. To get a true taste of Wellington, be sure not to miss this lively gathering where so many parts of the community come together.