9 things unique to Wellington that won’t cost a cent

It took the kids less than a day to ask why the people in Wellington were different.  It used to be more subtle, these days I think it’s more obvious, more quickly.  Wellington is different.  It’s eclectic, artistic, unique, cultured, wild & unexpected.

I fell in love with Wellington all over again when I spent four days there with my teenage daughters.  Here’s 9 of my favourite Wellington things that we explored that you won’t find anywhere else. 

  1. Find your favourite shark on the Shark Mural.  You’ll find the mural at the corner of Cable and Chaffers streets – a lasting legacy from a political statement on Shark Awareness Week in 2013.  My youngest is mad about sharks and we found one that had braces like her.  Who’s your favourite?

  1. Get blown about at the Brooklyn Wind Turbine.  When I first moved to Wellington in my 20’s the wind drove me crazy.  Until one day I was walking along the waterfront and the wind was so strong I could barely walk.  It would gust and I’d struggle against it and then it would calm down and I’d race forward like a wind up toy.  My hair was a mess, my skirt blowing up and then suddenly I got it.  I leant into the wind (figuratively and literally) and I laughed and enjoyed the mad, crazy ride.  The Brooklyn Wind Turbine not only has amazing 360 degree views out over the city but it’s a crazy windy ride.  Wear a big skirt or jacket for maximum wind effect!

Wellington - Brooklyn wind turbine

  1. Check out some of Wellington’s quirky buildings.  I’ve been in love with the Lighthouse in Island Bay for years (it’s available now as and Air BnB).  And right next to it is a house with a boat for a deck.  Or head around the coast from Hataitai to Oriental Parade and spot all the houses perched on the hills with cable cars to get up from their decks.

Island Bay light house

  1. Drive to the end of the North Island.  Now this may not technically be correct (I’ve been known to take a few liberties) but for me driving to Owhiro Bay was the end of the road in the North Island.  You can now go further if you have a four wheel drive or are on foot but in a car this is the end of the road and an epic spot to watch the sun set.

Owhiro Bay

  1. Get your art fix.  Wellington is brimming with amazing art and the great news is it’s changing all the time!  Wander through the lobby at QT Hotel, check out the graffiti and art in Cuba Street or down the alley ways.

Wellington

  1. Meet a new breed of green and red men!  These lights had me mesmerised and made me wonder at how something so small can tell such a mighty story.  Depending on where you are in the city you may find your green or red man replaced by suffrage movement leader Kate Sheppard, drag performer, brothel keeper, anti-discrimination activist, would-be politician, and HIV/AIDS activist Carmen Rupe, war hero Alfred Shout or a wahine and a warrior demonstrating a haka.

Traffic lights wellington

  1. Watch the performers in Cuba Mall.  And if there are none, just watch the people go by.
  1. Go for a walk and watch the fountain at Oriental Bay.  If you are lucky you may just have the perfect Wellington day to watch the world go by like we did.

Wellington fountain

  1. Walk for just 10 minutes out of town and find yourself in Brooklyn’s Central Park.  Despite being only minutes from the city you will quickly find yourself in a whole other world with water cascading and birds singing.  Walk yourself up to Brooklyn for a coffee or catch a movie at Penthouse Cinema.  Or keep it free and just do what I did and get lost on a few tracks.

Wellington - Brooklyn wind turbine