Must-Do’s in Wellington City

Marlo Smith is a student at Virginia Commonwealth University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying with ISA in Wellington, New Zealand.

As I near the end of my time abroad here in New Zealand, there are bittersweet feelings that become more and more tangible each day. However, knowing that I only have a few weeks left to take in the full scope of Wellington makes this remaining time even more special. My friends and I have noticed that we are more “keen” (as the Kiwis say) to get out and make the most of Welly every day. From beaches to cafes to stellar city views, here are some of the iconic places and activities that this city has to offer:

1. Mount Victoria

A relatively short but steep hike up from Oriental Bay, Mount Vic is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. It provides an awesome view of Wellington on all sides and, as long as it’s a clear day, is equally as fulfilling under the sun as it is at night. Sunset is an especially great time to take in views of the mountains.

2. The Cafes

New Zealand’s cafe culture is HUGE. I’ve been in Wellington for over 4 months now and I’m still constantly discovering more wonderful cafes to go to. Some favorites include Neo Cafe, Prefab, and Cafe Maranui (visited by Prince Harry!)

3. Te Papa

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is NZ’s national museum. “Te Papa” is Maori for “our place.” It has numerous exceptionally curated exhibits showcasing everything from art to history to nature. It also has 6 floors; I’ve probably visited 4 times and still haven’t seen everything!

This installation can be seen in the Toi Art section on the 4th floor of Te Papa.

4. Cuba Street

If you want to find great places to shop and eat, or see the infamous Bucket Fountain, Cuba Street is the place to go. This pedestrian-only street stretches for around 10 blocks and is always bustling with activity on weekends; on Friday and Saturday nights it is home to the Wellington Night Market. The pubs on Cuba are especially lively on rugby game nights, when shouts of victory can be heard all up and down Cuba Street.

A quaint book shop tucked into the side of Cuba Street that I visited earlier this week.

5. Botanic Gardens

A short walk from Victoria University of Wellington, “the botans” are the perfect place to go for a stroll and take in beautiful flora scenery, spot some ducklings, stop into the cafe and greenhouse, or see glow worms at night!

6. Cable Car

If you Google Wellington, New Zealand, one of the first pictures that comes up is the cable car. Accessible from the top of the Botanic Gardens, this mode of transportation takes you directly down the hill to the Central Business District—definitely a must-do!

7. Wellington Harbour

Even though it’s super touristy, an incredibly fun way to take in the waterfront on a beautiful day is to grab some friends, rent a crocodile bike and cruise along Oriental Bay.

ISA friends came to visit me in Wellington from Dunedin and we had so much fun!

As you can see, Wellington is truly an extraordinary and vibrant city. Though I will be so sad to say goodbye, I feel that I’ve fully appreciated these defining parts of the city and many more. For this reason, I plan on leaving in a few weeks without any regrets!

Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits.

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