Early in the day, before sun-up, get yourself stationed ready to greet the day. Perhaps at Te Ahumairangi Lookout, which offers fantastic views of the city and south to the coast. Mt Victoria is also a very popular spot to view the city, harbour and the activity of the ferries bound to Picton in the South Island, so getting there early in the day makes sense. Another good spot is the headland near the Ataturk Memorial and the memorial to those who died in the 1968 Wahine disaster and gives you views of the harbour entrance.
For a true kiwi breakfast head to the Chocolate Fish Kaimoana Café. They offer Kiwiana on a plate, with New Zealand flavours such as a Feijoa Smoothie, Kiwi Chia Breakfast Bowl, and the ever-faithful Seafood Chowder. This is your chance to try a Paua Pattie, Whitebait fritter, or a Crayfish fritter. There is even a kid-sized Marmite and cheese sandwich. Many other options available as well.
On your way back into the city, you will pass the Weta Cave, and this shop and mini-museum is a must see for any movie fans. An informative display of props and film-making techniques that are sure to impress. Since this is the capital city of New Zealand, take the opportunity to tour the Parliament Buildings. There is the choice of a 30 or 60-minute tour of the best of the four buildings that make up the seat of power in this country. The Beehive is only the icon; visit Bowen House and Parliament House as well and learn how the government is run. Or you may prefer to check out the National War Memorial exhibits. Together with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the Hall of Memories is a Carillon, which is a huge musical instrument containing 49 bells. There is also a statue of a Man with a Donkey, commemorating medical personnel and stretcher bearers who gave so much during the wars. Also, here is the Great War Memorial, with exhibitions of life in WWI, so lifelike that you see the hardship suffered by those who fought then. Along the waterfront is Te Papa, New Zealand's National Museum. There is so much to see here, you will not have time to fit it all in. Highlights might include the skeleton of a pygmy blue whale or the corpse of a giant squid. Meet a moa, or see Phar Lap's skeleton, learn about Maori culture, and see a marae. The Gallipoli exhibition, finishing in 2019, is getting rave reviews, so catch it while you can. Do note if you do not have time to see Te Papa now, there is the option of a 45-minute Twilight tour at 5pm to see the highlights that are on offer.
Lunch & Dinner in Wellington
Looking for authentic Kiwi meals in New Zealand, these restaurants have some items on their menus to tempt your palate. Whitebait lives up to its name and serves whitebait in a number of their menu choices and supports them with oysters, Waikanae crab, scallops, and clams, all from the sea locally. Eel is available, smoked and Hapuka, Sole Lamb and Beef can be found in the Mains. Feijoas also appear on the desserts, in a supporting role. Unlike a number of local restaurants, their cheese board offers New Zealand cheeses. Surprisingly, a Chinese restaurant, Grand Century, has the most interesting Kiwi dessert of caramelized kumara. The Crab Shack impresses with its options of seafood scoops, that are then served with a choice of three sauces. Seafood to scoop include Green Tipped Mussels, Tua-tua and Cloudy Bay Clams. Mains include Raw Fish, Clam & Mussel Fritters and Kiwi Pepper Lamb. The Crab Shack also has discounted days, such as half price Mussels on Monday. Giddy-Ups Mussel Bar has a Taniwha Pate (Eel base) as well as offering mussels in a range of ways from natural to chowder and fritter. They also have a Pavlova for dessert.
Catch the famous Wellington Cable Car, stopping for a quick look at the Cable Car museum, and then getting out at the top of Kelburn Lookout to admire the views. Then stop in at Zealandia to be introduced to a range of New Zealand's beautiful bird population. The massive Takahe, the lovely Tui, the friendly Kereru, and of course, the Kiwi. See the size of the giant Weta, and meet a Tuatara, the living dinosaur. The native plants of New Zealand are, in the main, not found anywhere else, so find some time to appreciate them as well. The beautiful yellow Kowhai, the delicate Rewarewa flowers, the famous Silver Fern. Meet the Finally wander back down to the city through the Botanical Gardens. Enjoy the Rose Gardens, the Poppy Fields, and learn about the Joy Fountain and the Peace Garden.
See Glow worms at Botanic Gardens, return to Te Papa, try a night tour at Zealandia to see the nocturnal birds in action, especially the national bird, the Kiwi.
Chocolate Fish Kaimoana Café (8am-5pm) Feijoa, Plum & Ginger Smoothie $4/$8 Mains from $11.50
Parliament Buildings FOC
War memorials FOC
Te Papa National Museum FOC
Whitebait-(11.30am-2.30pm; 5.30pm-11pm) Lunch from $21
Grand Century (11.30am-2.30pm; 5pm-10.30pm) Meals from $10
Crab Shack (11.30 am -9.30 pm) -Scoops of Shellfish $16 500g; Raw Fish $17, Clam & Mussel Fritters $14
Giddy-Up Mussel Bar (5pm-10pm)- Taniwha Pate $10
Cable Car Adult $4 Child $2 one way
Cable Car Museum FOC
Zealandia Adult $19.50 Child $10
Night tours Adult $85 Child $27.50
Choose BRC on your next Car Rental Wellington
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