Wellington Walkabout, New Zealand



After three nights in Rotorua, we took another Naked Bus for a four-hour trip from the center of the north island to the southern coast.  The road took us through sheep country, villages, and the suburban hillsides surrounding Wellington.  Most of Wellington’s suburbs look down on the city which is nestled into a cove with a scenic harbor.

Wellington on southern tip of New Zealand’s north island

Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, one of the most charming capital cities we’d ever visited.  Not overgrown and crowded like London, Washington, Moscow or Tokyo.  More quant and a subdued like Ottawa. Lonely Planet considers it ‘one of the coolest capitals in the world.’ It’s an easy city to explore with quaint streets, concert halls, museums, galleries, government buildings, markets and shops all within a few minutes walk of the harbor.

Cuba Street

Cuba street – Wellington’s liveliest neighborhood

The busy retail and arts scene are along Cuba Street which was a five-minute walk from our center-city hotel.  We strolled down Cuba street several times, enjoyed lunch and dinner, and were charmed with the funkiness.

Shops along Cuba street

One attraction on Cuba Street was an artsy tower of ceramic, colored buckets.  Water ran into the top buckets until they filled, then poured the overflow into the next lower bucket with a noisy clank then that bucket dumped water into the next lowest bucket.  And so on until the pool below was filled and water was pumped to the top.  It was fun to watch for a while, until a bucket splashed you if you stood too close.  After passing it several times, we sidestepped it to prevent from getting drenched. It was noisy and damp.

Kinetic ‘bucket’ street sculpture

One afternoon we heard a jazz band playing on Cuba street.  Ahead of us a rag-tag jazz group of musicians dressed in loud, mismatched clothing were playing New Orleans jazz and parading down Cuba street, followed by passersby, children, and curious tourists like us.  We followed, enthralled by the spirit of the group.  We finally saw what the street performance was all about, stragglers were handing out flyers announcing a CD release party at a local saloon by the jazz group. It was a low-cost PR promotion, entertaining and fun.  We liked the spirit of Cuba Street.

Welcome to Cuba !

Walkabout Wellington

We were restricted by stormy weather most our time in Wellington.   Heavy rains and brisk winds kept us huddled  in coffee shops and restaurants and spending afternoons  at the Te Papa museum.  I left my camera in our room most of the time, disappointed at dreary days and frequent rains.  I managed to get a few photos when there was a lull  in the rain, concentrating on the attractive architecture of the city.

Kayakers in front of Maori canoe museum

Walking around the harbor we saw interesting modern designs.  One of the most intriguing street sculpture was a metallic globe seemingly suspended in the air, but held aloft by  thin wires attached  to nearby buildings.  We walked beneath it, admiring its trompe l’oeil features that made it look like a suspended planet.

Suspended in mid air

Modern designs near Wellington harbor

Trompe l’eoil art in downtown Wellington

Wellington street art

Modern street art on Wellington harbor

Lucy admiring Wellington’s street art

Te Papa Museum

Te Papa

We spent an afternoon in the impressive Te Papa museum dedicated to all things New Zealand — history, culture, geology, and art.  The building was impressive on its own, five stories high, with a very modern design, large windows facing downtown and Wellington Harbor.  The cafe was also good — we had a couple delicious lunches waiting for the rain to break so we could get out and explore more of the city.

Te Papa Museum

We saw an exhibit of a giant squid captured in 2007 by a trawler fishing for Antarctic toothfish in frigid Antarctic waters.  The trawler was being filmed for a documentary and video caught the crew hauling the 500 kilogram squid aboard, an Antarctic tooth fish still in it’s pincher beak. Fortunately the squid was put on ice and preserved for scientific study.  It was later turned over to Te Papa where it’s on display in a large glass enclosure.

Giant squid at Te Papa

Wellington cable car

Wellington skyline from funicular

We took a funicular ride to a mountain looking over the city and harbor.  One stop was at the university, the last stop at a museum and park with views of a homes perched on hillsides.

Hillside homes above Wellington in dreary weather

Next:  Cook Strait between New Zealand’s north and south islands

* * * * *

In addition to this travel blog, I write international thrillers, mysteries, and suspense novels.

I’m currently writing a thriller series based in Milan featuring the anti-terrorism police, DIGOS, as they pursue domestic and international terrorists.  I travel to Milan every summer for research, to see my Italian and American friends, and to work with my researcher and translator.

If you’d like to receive a free ebook of my first Milan thriller, Thirteen Days in Milan, please sign up on the left side bar.  I just need your name and email address.

The second book in the series, No One Sleeps, follows DIGOS agents as they track down a sleeper cell of Muslim terrorists in Milan who have received toxic chemicals from Pakistan to make deadly sarin gas.

You can find my ebooks on all digital book sites.  Paperbacks of Thirteen Days in Milan and No One Sleeps are available at Amazon and independent bookstores around the world. If they’re not in stock, stores can order from Ingram distributors.  You should have your book in 3 or 4 days.

Book 3 in the series, Vesuvius Nights, will be published as an ebook in November and a paperback in 2018.  If you’d like to learn more about Italy, travel, and writing, sign up for my email newsletter at my publisher’s web site, RedBrickPress.net or my personal web site jackerickson.com.

I like hearing from readers!  Please email me and tell me what you like to read. And share this site with friends who like to read about travel.

Find my books in Apple’s iBookstore
At Amazon including # 1 Kindle best seller “Perfect Crime” 
Twitter: @JackLErickson

One response to “Wellington Walkabout, New Zealand

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s