Wellington is the departure point for ferries to the south island, but for those staying a while the city has
much to offer. Popular activities include Te Papa (the national museum), the cable car, theatre, art
galleries, parliament, Weta Workshop, Zealandia wildlife sanctuary, ...
Known colloquially as "Windy Wellington" the city is often buffeted by strong winds, funnelled through the Cook
Strait by surrounding mountain ranges. But on a good day Wellington is hard to beat.
One great thing about this city is that it is quite compact. Hemmed in
as it is by the surrounding hills and harbour, urban sprawl has been unable to take hold. Consequently you can
visit Te Papa, take swim at Oriental Bay, dine at one of the many restaurants (according to Lonely
Planet there are "more bars, cafés and restaurants per capita than New York") and then go out for a
movie or show - all within easy walking distance.
This is an easy bike ride along a signposted
route which tunnels under the airport then wends its way through quiet suburban streets to
the giant Zephyrometer (wind-wand sculpture) at Evans Bay. From here it follows the coastline
over a dedicated cycle path into the central city.
In Wellington you'll find several hostels of reasonable quality and reasonable prices,
including an excellent Youth Hostel.
If you have time to explore Wellington then this is an easy, mostly flat ride and makes great day trip, passing through
plenty of swimming bays, with cafés dotted around the coast. The round-the-bays loop is popular with
Wellingtonians and if the weather is fine you're bound encounter locals out for a lunchtime jaunt or perhaps
taking the long way home.
The great thing about this route is that - even if you're a stranger to the city -
it's virtually impossible to get lost. Just keep following the coastline until Owhiro Bay, where you turn inland
and cycle up the valley through Brooklyn and back down to the city. If you're keen, you can continue around the
coast from Owhiro Bay for about 5 km along a 4WD track which takes you to a seal colony at