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A Perfect Week in Wellington-Part 1

By Glen Smith Posted 27 Feb 2015

Make the most of the last summer days with a quick getaway to Wellington, the city dubbed the coolest little capital in the world. It is renowned as a cultural hotbed with some remarkable architecture and numerous art galleries certain to satisfy those with an eye for art or history – and has a massive sporting culture to boot.

Take a look at our series on why New Zealand’s capital city is the holiday destination of the moment – starting with its arts and cultural scene… With its timeworn colonial buildings, street art, iconic sculptures and entertainment complexes this picturesque city will sweep you off your feet.

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Start your trip with the Artists in Action weekend from 28 February – 1 March, where you can visit painters, potters and printmakers in their studios all weekend from 10am to 4pm to see how they create their work, and pick up or commission a piece you’ll love.

All year round, you can follow the Arts Trail on the picture-perfect Miramar Peninsula, home to painters, photographers, sculptors and filmmakers. The Arts Trail takes you around Shelly Bay, Maupuia, Strathmore Park, Mora Point, Breaker Bat and Seatoun to galleries and exhibitions where celebrated New Zealand artists such as Jane Blackmore and Juliet Best display their work along the water’s edge.

For another cultural hit, discover the beautiful harbor area with The Wellington Writers’ Walk, where the waterfront is randomly dotted with typographical sculptures, quotes on concrete plaques and inlaid metal texts.

Follow the path to the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa on Cable Street.  Six floors of exhibitions with cafes and gift shops are dedicated to New Zealand’s culture and environment, free of admission charges. Here you can see Elf Soldier and Elf Lieutenant costumes from Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy films. Te Papa offers a Middle of Middle Earth Costume Trial designed by Weta Workshop, where you can hunt hobbits, dwarves, elves and men to the suburb of Miramar. Weta Cave, the studio behind critically acclaimed films like Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, Avatar and King Kong is located here.

If you’d rather stay inside Te Papa, innovative and interactive exhibits tell stories of New Zealand’s unique geological, biological, cultural and social history.

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Continue on your journey of New Zealand’s political and social history with a visit to Parliament. Learn about New Zealand’s parliamentary process on a free one hour guided tour that also covers the history and architecture.

Across the road is the largest wooden building in the world, the old Government Buildings. Completed in 1876, the structure resembles an Italian stone palace and is lined with crimson flowering Pohutukawa trees.  It has two grand staircases, eight vaults, 143 rooms, 126 fireplaces, 22 chimneys, 64 toilets, eight verandahs and seven porticos and now houses part of Victoria University of Wellington’s Law Faculty.

At Jervois Quay, a late English Classical style building houses Wellington Harbour Board Head Office.  On Queen’s Wharf the Bond Store, designed in French Second Empire style, is where you will find the Museum of Wellington City and Sea.

See the world’s largest specimen of the rare colossal squid, captured in Antarctica a few years ago and if you dare, meet Azorg the vilest Orc from Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy films.

To round off your cultural vacation, get to the heart of Miramar for the Weta Cave Workshop Tour and be greeted by three trolls in the garden. A one-hour tour provides a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse into the workings of the multi-award winning design studio and manufacturing facility that services the world's entertainment and creative industries. Weta’s design and effects work for films includes not only the Lord of the Rings trilogy but also Chronicles of Narnia, District 9, Adventures of Tintin and Elysium amongst others.  Visitors get to try some of the weapons made for the movies.  You can also buy limited edition sculptures hand crafted by artists at Weta and clothing, jewelry and books. 

And if a few days of culture isn’t your thing, then stay tuned for our upcoming articles that take a closer look at Wellington’s sports action, golden beaches, picturesque gardens and retail hotspots.

Getting to there and away

Check out Fiji Airways special offers on flights to Auckland and flights to Wellington

Plan your New Zealand holiday

- Flights to Auckland - Fiji Airways operates flights to Auckland regularly from many domestic and international ports including flights from Nadi to Auckland, flights from Suva to Aucklandflights from Apia to Aucklandflights from Los Angeles to Auckland and flights from Hong Kong to Auckland.

Flights to Wellington -  Fiji Airways operates flights to Wellington regularly from many international ports including flights from Nadi to Wellington, flights from Suva to Wellingtonflights from Apia to Wellingtonflights from Los Angeles to Wellington and flights from Hong Kong to Wellington.

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