Everywhere we went in Wellington, New Zealand we knew we were near the sea. Houses perched on high hills to better see the deep blue water. A road circled the harbour with little to block a good view. The waters’ edge appeared to be all public land, and we walked for miles along the harbour, watched the gulls and saw sailboats. In Wellington you’re either looking at or close to a view of the sea.
As soon as we arrived in town, we walked down to the water’s edge. Artwork and important public buildings graced the waterfront.
We’ve never seen a place like this before. The combination of private land along the water, proximity and views for so many in the city, and glorious melding of the sea with how people live their lives.
We watched as teenagers jumped into the bay and swam to the ladder; sunbathers reclined on benches; locals boated in everything from cruise ships to waka (Maori for “canoe”); little children played on a beach; people on the dock fished with poles, walked on the boardwalk, and sat in cafes and on benches taking it all in.
The harbour’s water bird population seemed to thrive. We only saw a fraction of the water bird species that live in the Wellington area and were sorely disappointed to miss the little blue penguin when we visited Matiu/Somes Island in the middle of Wellington Harbour.
We treated ourselves to fresh fish and chips, the best we’ve ever had. (We think it probably helps that the fish was truly FRESH.)
We didn’t know until we got to Wellington that its nickname is “Windy Welly”. Half the days of the year the wind howls through the town. We expected average temperatures in January to be 68 degrees F (21 degrees C). The temperature held true, but, with the wind chill, we felt the need to layer up with jackets.
Every day of our visit in Wellington, we threw on an extra layer and happily took advantage of being on the water.