There’s lots to do in Wellington, especially when the sun comes out. New Year’s marked the kick-off of Summer in the City in Wellington. February is when summer events go into full swing, but January still had enough fun things for us to do around town. The Botanic Gardens have a summer concert series with local musicians slated to play a few times during the week. We weren’t sure exactly what to expect, so we packed up some food and libations for a picnic and made the trek to the gardens.
There’s a few ways to get to the gardens, all of them include up. After another uphill climb, we joined a packed lawn (we found a spot on the hill next to the lawn), laid down our blanket and enjoyed a picnic along with people watching. It was the first concert with blue skies. Bubbles floated above people’s heads as we took in the surrounding gardens. People watching was plentiful. We were surrounded by different accents and watched a group made up of one Gandolf hat wearer (must have gone to a LOTR or Weta Studios tour) and a bunny onesie suit. Wellington’s town motto: The place of the possible.
The Botanic Gardens makes it feel like it’s true. Entry to the garden is free. We went to hear a country-folk band perform, but there’s a concert for almost everyone at the Botanic Gardens. You just have to check their schedule. After listening for a while, we strolled around the gardens at dusk, enjoying the light exhibits incorporated into the place of the possible.
The lights in the stream are meant to signify the mutated fish that were a result of nuclear pollution. It made us think of the Simpson’s 3-eyed fish and glow worms.
The stage. People didn’t stand up on the lawn. The bubbles were blown out from bubble machines located in a few places around the stage area.
Definitely a fun way to experience some of Wellington’s culture.
This past weekend, we decided we needed to venture outside the city a bit but was torn between Zealandia and the zoo. After looking at the map, it was an easy decision since Zealandia is almost all up hill and further away. Without a car, the walk to the zoo was much more reasonable. We walked back through part of the Southern Walkway (got to see a mountain bike race going on), walked Hobbit’s Hideaway, and made our way to the zoo.
The zoo is situated in a neighborhood of Wellington. It seems on the small side, but it’s really interactive. Lots of things for kids to climb (or adults who aren’t afraid to look silly). Near the front gates is also an animal hospital where hurt birds found in Wellington city are brought to be cared for until they can be released back into the wild. The vets take time to talk about some of the different cases while helping nurse them back to health. There’s a local section and neighbor section of the zoo filled with animals and birds found in New Zealand and Australia. In the neighbor section, we saw dingos in the distance (I may have started repeating “a dingo ate my baby” every time we passed them). There’s also a portion where the signs say to stay on the pathways, but there are no fences. It’s here, birds, kangaroos, and wallabies were feet away from us! So cool!
An example of some of the signs around the zoo. They were hilarious. There was one about throwing food at the animals, it would cause them to die and there was a picture of the stick person crying next to a dead animal. Definitely gave us pause.
There was so much more. We saw a one-legged kiwi bird, some penguins, and some chimpanzees (happened to see a chimpanzee eating it’s own…well..you can only imagine).
On the way home, we talked about how we felt like kids the entire time we were there. On the way back, we walked once more down the southern walkway and hobbit’s hideaway just as the sun came out.
We passed some Lord of the Ring (LOTR) tours on our way back home as well a got to spot a Tui, a pretty common bird here, but we hadn’t seen one up close before. The walk to the gardens, to Mt. Vic, along the Southern Walkway, or watching excited tourists learn about the places where LOTR filmed, Wellington does seem to fit its slogan: The place of the possible.