|Wellington's Harbor is the focal point of the city.|
Tip: Fortunately, many of the city's gems are within three to four blocks from the waterfront where it is relatively level. Elevators make it easy to access upper floors.
Within that area, the don't misses include
Te Papa Tongarewa. Known to everyone as simply Te Papa (Tay-pappa), our house, it is the country's national museum and is a treasure trove of Maori culture and interesting visiting shows. The design is inspiring, the gift shop is great and the facility is free and open every day.
Wander around its waterfront to get the vibe of this fun city. Stop at the information center for friendly suggestions about the rest of the city and it accessibility.
|MV Agusta F4 Senna and autographed Rolling Stones' guitar|
Hungry? Stand in front of Te Papa with your back to the waterfront, look to your left across the street and make a beeline to the Museum Hotel and Hippopotamus on Cable Street. First, owner/developer/man about town Chris Parkin's art collection of New Zealand talent on the hotel's first floor is well worth a wander. Even cultural philistines will appreciate the classic motorcycles and the guitar signed by the Rolling Stones.
Take the elevator to Hippopotamus, pause to take in the bright and cheery decor and harbor view then prepare for one of the best meals in Wellington.
The art scene is an active one here. For contemporary, try Page Blackie and Avid Gallery , across the hallway from one another in the Cuba district.
For more traditional fare head to Tinakori Road in the Thorndon area, Wellington's first suburb.
Tip: Tinakori Road is flat but land on either side rises or falls steeply. It will give you a closeup look at the private cable cars that make life possible for many a Wellington resident.
|Sir Michael Fowler in his galler|
The Botanical Garden is nearby.
Must and should do's beyond city center are many. Here are some of my recommendations.
|Wellington from Mt. Victoria|
• Take a Lord of the Rings tour (see http://travelonthelevel.blogspot.com/2011/12/new-zealand-natural-for-middle-earth.html ) and if you have a fan of Peter Jackson's epics in the family, you'll be their favorite relative if you bring them a souvenir from the Wela Cave ( No. 2 bus takes you almost to the front door; $3-$4 vs. $25 by cab).
• Zealandia: the Kaori Sanctuary Experience is your best chance to see New Zealand's fascinating, endangered wildlife in person.
And if you happen to be in town when WOW, the World of Wearableart Awards Show is on, GO. You will never see anything else like it.
|WOW, it's Wearable Art|