One thing you gotta know about Wellington, it is windy. Seriously, your hair is gonna get messy and you might get wind chill. The buildings do block some wind, but still, it can get quite chilly.
When JRR Tolkien wrote the Lord of the Rings during the 1940s, the setting was in England. Thankfully, Peter Jackson found the environment similarity in New Zealand this century – hence, we got the Lord of the Rings trilogy!
The Lord of the Rings movies bought out the best of New Zealand's nature. Ask anyone and most will associate New Zealand with Lord of the Rings and vice versa.
Do you know that Peter Jackson is from Wellington? He resides in Pukerua Bay, a coastal town near Wellington. Which means that – many of the scenes from Lord of the Rings are actually found in Wellington! Yes, his studio is there too.
Let me share with you a few interesting details at Wellington. Quite common for locals, but it might be news for foreigners.
It is important to note that downtown Wellington consist of primarily 1-way streets. If you miss a turn, you will have to go 1 big round. Happened to me countless times!
Since there are many 1-way streets, you might miss out the center divider and turn to the wrong side of the road. Yes, it happened to me once or twice. Do drive safely here and keep a lookout for road signs.
Parking can be challenging here. Many parallel parking lots along roadside and some multi-story car parks. Personally, my favorite car park is at Te Papa Museum. At least, I am quite sure I will not forget where I park it.
I strongly recommend exploring Wellington by foot. Cuba Street was once the route of Wellington trams, and now it is one of the busiest pedestrian walkways. Do not worry, the main attractions are quite near to one another.
Personally, I find Auckland's Waitemata Harbor prettier than Wellington's Lambton Quay. The waterfront walk is better at Auckland. Guess it has to do with the view of Rangitoto Island.
Growing up in Singapore, I find sea view very normal. However, for some of my friends, to be able to see the sea frequently is actually considered a blessing. Well, it's like Singaporeans experiencing winter and seeing snow.
When I first saw private cable cars at the residential areas here, I admit I was quite surprised. It's like going for a gondola ride daily! Okay, it is logical to build them – can not imagine spending 2 hours walking up and down the hill everyday.
Wellington Cable Car is one of the oldest attractions and is known to be in operation since early 1900s. The cable car itself is a slope, ie the floor is not flat. You got to see it for yourself to know what I am talking about.
Te Papa Museum
New Zealand has 14,000 quakes recorded annually. Not sure how many buildings are quakeproof, but Te Papa Museum is definitely one of them. There is a viewing deck where you get to see the base infrastructure!
Among all the museums in New Zealand, this is my favorite. Can not pinpoint why I like this Museum either. I guess the Kiwi part of me is proud of New Zealand's heritage.
Lost count the number of times I visited Te Papa Museum, probably 4 out of every 5 visits to Wellington. Then again, I usually park here. No reason for not visiting the museum.
Lord of the Rings
Went for 3 different Lord of the Rings tours in New Zealand – 1 in Wellington and 2 in Queenstown. My favorite is definitely the full day Lord of the Rings Wellington Rover Tour.
The best part of Lord of the Rings experiences in Wellington is definitely Rivendell and Weta Caves. Kaitoke Regional Park is as ethereal as Rivendell you can get without the special effects. And Weta Caves is just so cool!
Before I end, allow me to share a quote with you from JRR Tolkien, "May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks. of fun where you go. "