Wellington Wellington by PhillipC

This article was written by Global Graduates, published on 11th August 2010 and has been read 3324 times.

Wellington is known as the ‘Windy City’, but don’t be fooled into thinking the atmosphere in Wellington just shakes the top of a toupée. New Zealand’s epicentre for culture, music and food, you’ll soon see that Wellington’s also a bit of a-mover-and-a-shaker in the Art world. Pretty than its neighbour, with Victorian timber houses, the capital city sits neatly within a periphery of hillsides, only to unveil an incredibly photogenic harbour. Film is big news here, with the city being referred to by locals and foreigners alike as ‘Wellywood’ - you never know, you might catch a glimpse or two of some famous faces whilst you’re out here. 

Why should I choose Wellington for my year abroad?
Though not that densely populated (on the last count, a mere 400,000 souls live here), Wellyville packs a serious punch for students and workers alike. First on the list for pulling in the punters has to be Academy Galleries, hosting shows from graduate Art students to fully-fledged, world-renowned contemporary artists. From there, head onto City Gallery, where you’ll find jaw-droppingly stunning artworks and architecture. To really awe at the city, you couldn’t afford to miss the capital’s Cable Car. At the very top, you’ll be confronted with the gorgeous Botanic Gardens, the Cable Car Museum and the Carter Observatory - you can even take a chill pill and enjoy a strong cuppa in the Skyline café.

One of the key attractions here is the Te Papa Museum, which took a fair amount of cash to build, but is genuinely worth every penny - come here, and you’ll get what the country’s all about, historically and culturally, warts and all. Film buffs and curious tykes will really enjoy the stuff onoffer at the Mediaplex, cinema-come-library-come-research-centre, here you’ll find reels and reels of New Zealander film, TV shows etc. An absolute must, if you want to get to grips with the country’s cinematic culture. Testament to how cool this city is has to be the next museum on the list: Wellington’s very own Tattoo Museum, with designs dating back centuries ago all the way through to contemporary works of body art. It’s also got its own tattoo parlour, should you feel your limbs need a little bit of ink on them. Take in the magnificent views from Mount Victoria and enjoy a gelato whilst taking a gambol round the Oriental Parade beach. Sweet as, bro. Get your wild side out with an hour’s worth of jet-skiing at Frank Kitts Park; if that sounds a little too hardcore, you could always make like a monkey and clamber onto the many climbing frames scattered about the green space. Does dear old David Attenborough get you all choked up, with his fancy exploring? Well, you could experience just a little of what this don has to offer at the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, a veritable love nest for wild flora and fauna found across the country.

All this visiting will leave you feeling a bit hungry no doubt, so why not try and grab a bite at The Backbencher, and rub shoulders with the parliamentary elite, sampling local dishes. Malaysian food fanatics will no doubt want to Satay Kingdom - food fit for a king, budget fit for a pauper. Best of both worlds. Another hotspot has to be the BNZ Centre Food Court, found beneath the black tower on Willis and Victoria Street. All sorts of world food is on sale here - so you can easily go with a mate who fancies a curry and end up grabbing yourself a taco, or two. Fine dining is to be had in any of these establishments: Boulcott Street Bistro, the Arbitrageur or even Logan Brown. Food, does, however, come at a price - you have been warned. Another top place to go is Kai, for its homely Mao food. If you’re looking to go for a veggie meal, why not try Aun Mena’s Vegetarian Cafe, with its cheaper than chips, err, well yes, chips! It’s also got some pretty darn tasty noodle dishes, so make sure you leave space for them, too.

On a cold winter’s night, during the swinging springtime, over the sizzling summer, or even nestling into auspicious autumn, Wellington’s bars are worth checking out. Mighty Mighty is easily seen as one of the hippest places in town, with live music on most nights. If you fancy a decent mojito, head on down to Cafe Havana, where beats, dance and drink will keep you entertained all night long. Hole in the Wall has an altogether more alternative air, with many of the city’s eccentrics, artists and literati coming here for their favourite tipple. Another place of high repute has to be Hummingbird, ticking all the boxes in terms of service, food, pudding, drinks, hot and cold, shaken and stirred. If clubbing’s more your game, make sure you get those limbs a-moving and a-shaking in Matterhorn, a place that’s nearly too cool for school (but in a good way). Studio Nine is also a good bet, if you’re into your alternative dance music. Of course, if you’re into your cheese, just follow the backpacking crowd and go to any tourist night - you might even pull! Whatever you’re into, art, fashion, design, culture or just a mash-up of all of these, Wellywood is most definitely Well Worth It.

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