As you’d expect in such a beautiful country, even travelling between islands is a treat. The three hour ferry journey from Picton to Wellington isn’t cheap, but takes you on a beautiful scenic cruise through Queen Charlotte Sound.
Handily, you arrive smack bang in the centre of New Zealand’s capital. Once we’d unloaded, we headed straight to the Weta workshop. If you’ve seen any of the Lord of the Rings or Hobbit trilogies, or Avatar or King Kong, or any of countless other films, you have already encountered Weta. Originally a special effects company, they now also do CGI for some of the biggest blockbusters out of Hollywood. Their shop has a tease of their work – starting with the Hobbit mountain trolls which guard the entrance.
The shop has a range of memorabilia for you to marvel at (including a rather scary Uruk-Hai!) and reproductions to decorate your mantlepiece. Their background film makes for a fascinating (and rather inspiring) half hour, even if you can’t join one of their workshop tours ($24 per person).
We had planned to stay at a campervan site in central Wellington, but alas it was full by the time we arrived. Book ahead kids, as this is a great spot for a proper night out in Wellington.
Despite staying further out, we still managed to have a few drinks in town! I really liked Wellington – it had a lively, almost studenty vibe to it. Not like most capital cities I’ve been to. Courtney Place is a good place to start your night, and we visited a few bars along here. My favourites were the Library, and a bar on the corner across the road which had a cheesy but brilliant Diana Ross & the Supremes act on and my beloved Emerson on draught!
The Library is an absolute gem of a bar. Done out rather like an eccentric professor’s study, you snuggle into a cosy little booth and drink fantastic cocktails to your hearts content. Even the free table water is fantastic – they infuse it with cucumber. Who said backpackers just have to drink cheap boxed wine?