Lower North: Wellington Wonders

Beautiful Wellington NZ – central hub for the making of The Lord of the Rings and dubbed “the coolest little capital in the world” by Lonely Planet. It is the political capital of NZ, and a movie-making and cultural center.

We Stayed in Lyall Bay

Welly’s most popular surfing beach. Each evening, bundled up in our puffy coats, we followed barefooted footprints of surfers in wetsuits toting boards to and from the beach. During the day, a stupendous coastal walk between Lyall and Houghton Bays.

Red Rocks Coastal Walk at Ōwhiro Bay

Continuing south from Lyall Bay, Red Rocks Marine Reserve is an 8km walk on a gravelly, sandy rocky coastline (a tad hard on the feet) through Devil’s Gate. No elevation – unless you want to climb the hills beside you that ascend to the sky.

A Tour of Wētā Cave Workshop

Also on the Lyall Bay side of town, 5 minutes driving from the airport, is the Wētā Workshop, in Miramar, New Zealand. A special effects and prop company producing effects for television and film.

The tour showcases full-scale sculptures, props, artifacts, and apparel designed by Wētā artists for hundreds of films, notably Lord of The Rings.

Windy Wellington

Strong winds through the Cook Strait give it the nickname “Windy Wellington” – typically 178 days a year gusting at above 40 mph(metservice.com). Top things to do: Views from Mt Victoria, Wellington Cable Car, Drink/Eat on Cuba Street, Waterfront, The Zoo

Central Business District

Downtown is easily explored on foot: Parliament (The Beehive), Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa “Our Place”) and the waterfront promenade. The city’s teems with art/ music, ballet theatre venues, and hosts an annual International Jazz Festival.

TePapa – ANZAC – Australian and New Zealand Forces

Te Papa and Wētā Workshop joined forces to create an exhibit depicting WWI war scenes from the battles in Gallipoli, Turkey. Battle sites were recreated with giant figures and amazing detail. The exhibit remains in place until 2022.

Te Papa – World of Wearable Art (WOW!)

A special exhibition, WOW shows entries from an annual competition for original, innovative and well executed wearable art. Designers enter from the worlds of fashion, textile or industrial design, jewellery, architecture, engineering, sculpture and painting or homemaking.


The world’s first fully-fenced urban eco-sanctuary conservation project (2.5 acres) reintroduced over 20 species of native wildlife, some absent from mainland NZ for over 100 years. The tuatara, a living dinosaur, has outlived dinosaurs who became extinct about 60 million years ago

North of Wellington: Kapiti Coast & Paraparaumu Beach

A day’s drive to Kapiti Island – a bird sanctuary. The surrounds were magnificent with a glimpse of South Island’s Kaikoura Mountain Range, to an overabundance of beach, bush and coast walks. A twisting, curvy road back towards the city of Upper Hutt.

Related Post: Click HERE for Wine, Badlands and Lighthouses in Lower North Island

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5 thoughts on “Lower North: Wellington Wonders

  1. Rhonda Sachs Albom July 21, 2020 — 4:20 pm

    Some really impressive shot of Wellington, one of my favourite New Zealand cities. I still haven’t been up the Kapiti Coast, but this is encouraging me.

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