Day 3: Walking!
Something I’ve come to realise about tourist maps in New Zealand since I’ve been here, is that nothing is ever as far as it looks. Everything is pretty walkable. So today I decided to walk Wellington. I started at the botanic gardens, at the Glenmore entrance where there is a huge map detailing all of the possible walkways around.
On a previous visit, I walked back to the city via the Bowen street cemetery which brings you out on the terrace or near to the bee hive (if the path is open). This time I followed the pine path to the herb garden, then walked down to the lady Norwood rose garden and visited the waterfall and peace garden.
The peace garden was really interesting, I think New Zealand is a peaceful country generally. I then retraced my steps and rejoined the orange aka ‘Downhill path’ via the fragrant garden and the duck pond which is super tranquil.
You might notice a photograph of a new fern growing in this collage. In Maori, the fern symbolises new life which is why it’s so important in Kiwi culture.
I sat for awhile on ‘Annie’s bench’ before taking the path up to the cable car. It’s such a lovely day and it wouldn’t be hard to walk into the city, but as I am already walking to mount Victoria and trying to demonstrate that it is possible to squeeze a lot in, I’m taking the cable car back down to the city, this is also rated pretty highly on TripAdvisor. It drops you off on Lambton Quay, the heart of the city.
There’s a slight hill just before getting to the cable car which passes by the Australian garden. It’s really worth a look, and there’s a viewing platform that feels like you’re in the trees. I then backtracked a little on to the path.
From the Australian garden it is pretty straight forward to find the Carter observatory space centre, as well as the cable car and cable car museum. There was also a lovely old tree called the bucket tree.
My favourite part of the cable car journey is going through the tunnels that light up. The experience is a very quaint way to get up the hill, as opposed to the extremely steep cut throughs that provide an alternative route.
Once you’ve spent a few days in Wellington and got your bearings, it’s actually really easy to find your way around. I called into a few shops to get suncream and supplies en route to Mount Victoria. One place was the Plentiful Deli, where I bought veggie lasagne and a side of carrot and feta salad for around $13.
It actually doesn’t take that long to walk through the woods and up to the lookout at Mount Victoria, maybe 30-40 minutes but it is pretty steep. A further 10 minutes down the road is the original lookout which provides even better views over the Miramar peninsular and the route the ferry takes out of Wellington – be warned, it’s far more exposed and therefore way windier!
Once you’re at Mount Victoria it’s really easy to get to the beach on Oriental Parade. It’s really well signposted, with trail signs all through the woods. Eventually you come out in Charles Plimmer Park. I was really surprised to find out that Wellington has a beach, and although it’s quite short, it’s a really nice one!
I picked up a peanut butter and chocolate chip ice cream from Carrello’s. It was delicious.
In the evening I planned on going to the Carter Observatory for a night of star gazing. It was so clear at Zealandia the night before, I really want to learn more about the constellations and use the telescope.
For $12.50 you get to see an hour long show, visit the exhibition and have the chance to view stars through a telescope, however… This is dependent on the weather, no; clouds, wind or rain. So we rang ahead of time to see how it was looking – it sounded positive so we headed over.
When we got there, we found out the last show of the night (9pm) was sold out and it was pretty cloudy over the observatory so we headed home so star gaze there. We definitely saw Orion’s Belt.
*Please note: I haven’t been asked to promote any of the businesses mentioned in this post. I’m just sharing my week of experiences in Wellington*