Today was our first full day in one place, so we were excited to be able to do things at our own pace.

We’re both early risers, so we started the day with a walk while the city was still waking up. Sites include the Beehive (parliament buildings), railway station and waterfront.

We caught the first cable car ride at 8:30.  It was a bit cloudy out, but still provided fantastic views of the city.

The botanical garden is right beside the cable car, so we slowly made our way down the mountain through the gardens.

The last stop in the botanical gardens was Lady Norwood’s rose garden, which features over 110 varieties of roses, and a fantastic cafe.

From here we made our way to Te Papa, the national museum, which happens to have free entry. I’m not a huge fan of museums, but I actually quite enjoyed this one – particularly the stuffed and pickled giant squid.

Mom enjoys a good bus tour of a city, so after an hour in the museum (which we timed perfectly to fit in the hour it rained), we headed to the information center to figure out our options.  We ended up with a 2.5 hour Hammonds city and coastline tour, with photo stops throughout, and though I was skeptical at first, it was fantastic.

We started at the Old St. Paul’s Church (over 150 years old). When it was first built, it was just the middle two columns of pews.  They made three additions, adding a new column each time, before they decided it was easier to just build a bigger church around the corner.  Now this location is used for weddings and funerals.

We returned to the rose garden and cable car, but I had already gotten my picture’s worth earlier. Our next stop took us out of the city to my first New Zealand beach, Lyall Bay.  It was much too cold to go in the water, but still lovely to see.

Next stop was Moa Point, which looks onto Wellington’s port.

They always save the best for last.  The final stop of the tour was Mount Victoria, which provides fantastic 360 degree views of Wellington.

With the tour done, all that was left was to get some food and explore the city some more on our own. My friend Marilyn biked across New Zealand last year, and when the only recommendation she had was to go to The Chippery in Wellington for fish and chips, I knew I had to go.

It was delicious! You can choose your own fish, and batter, sides and sauces.  We went with the fish of the day, but I have a feeling you can’t go wrong with any of your choices there.

We are still in Wellington tomorrow morning, so we’ll see what else we get up to here before moving on to Christchurch.


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