As a follow-up to a previous guide on things to do in New Zealand’s ‘Coolest Little Capital’, we bring you more amazing activities on offer in the vibrant and cosmopolitan city of Wellington.
Toast Martinborough has become one of the most eagerly anticipated events on New Zealand's entertainment calendar, and is a celebration of outstanding wines, fabulous food and great local music. Taking place on the 3rd Sunday in November every year, Martinborough is a short distance (80 minutes drive) from Wellington, making this the ideal day out.
Set in and around nine boutique vineyards, the event offers a unique opportunity to taste wines from both current and past vintages. Each has been matched with superb, restaurant-quality food and live performances from some of the best musicians in the business. It’s an event that shouldn’t be missed, with more than 70 world-class wines, 100 fine dishes and 20 live performances awaiting you on the day.
Every year, thousands of wine fans come from across New Zealand and around the world to experience this outstanding festival – a day in the vineyards of Martinborough, sampling world-class wines and delectable culinary fare while enjoying superb music from some of the country's best performers.
CubaDupa is Wellington’s newest street festival, celebrating the creative spirit of the Wellington community. During the weekend of 28th and 29th March 2015, Wellington’s Cuba Street will be transformed into an interactive playground of sound and taste, and will come alive with a range of dance, music, theatre, live street art, carnival, circus, and street food.
In true street festival style the premise of CubaDupa is that the audience help create the show. The festival will kick off with a mass choir involving six different choirs starting from different areas of the festival site and processioning through the streets, later converging to sing a piece especially created for CubaDupa. Stages will be dotted around the site and throughout the day and evening performers will appear at various times on stages and on the street. The Cuba Quarter is home to many eclectic tastes, with spectacular flavours from around the world. The festival will offer over 60 food options, served from the restaurants, cafes, and bars who proudly call Cuba Street home.
City Gallery Wellington is a dynamic cultural presence in the capital city of New Zealand. Established in 1980, the gallery was the first significant exhibition-based public gallery in New Zealand. With a focus on contemporary visual arts, architecture and design the gallery has achieved a reputation for innovation and style, inspiring and challenging its audiences through local, national and international exhibitions, as well as international exchanges and joint ventures with other art museums.
Located in Civic Square, the Gallery is recognised as pivotal to Wellington’s positioning and growth as New Zealand’s arts capital. Re-opened in September 2009 after a year's closure for renovations, three new gallery spaces were added, including one devoted to the exhibition of Maori and Pacific art. The Michael Hirschfeld Gallery shows work by Wellington-based artists, designers and architects, and the Wellington Museums Trust run an ambitious annual public programme of events, lectures and conversations.
Wrights Hill Fortress
Built during World War Two, the Fortress consists of an underground network of tunnels, operation rooms and three gun emplacements. Members of the public can be taken on a one-hour long guided tour on Open Days, or can wander around with the help of a free history pamphlet and map. The experience is fascinating for people of all ages and gives an insight into the measures taken to protect New Zealand during World War Two.
Located in the Wellington suburb of Karori, It was built between 1942 and 1947 and is predominantly underground, with numerous tunnels linking the war shelters, gun emplacements, magazines, plotting rooms and engine room. Two huge 9.2 inch guns were installed by the Army in 1944, each capable of firing a 380lb shell over 18 miles. After the war the fortress was used for training purposes, and more recently has been used as a shooting location for several NZ-based film and television productions.
Matiu/Somes Island is a tranquil retreat for both wildlife and visitors located right in the heart of Wellington Harbour. The island offers excellent views of the city, trail-walking, bird-watching opportunities, and the chance to study plants and animals in the natural environment. For a more in-depth experience you can book a guided walk.
The island has a fascinating history. Maori occupied the land for generations, while in more recent times the island has served as a human and animal quarantine station, an internment camp, and a military defence position. It is currently functioning as a DOC scientific and historic reserve. The Matiu/Somes Island lighthouse was the first inner harbour lighthouse in New Zealand, built because of the increased numbers of ships entering Wellington Harbour as the city began to flourish.
If you're interested in finding out more about living and working in New Zealand, click through to some of our other blogs for more information:
Things To Do in Wellington, New Zealand (Part I)
Working as a Doctor in New Zealand
Introduction to New Zealand Part I
Introduction to New Zealand Part II