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  • Writer's pictureDonna Zabel

In Wellington It's the Blue Road

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

Dorothy’s road to Oz was yellow, but in Wellington the road to take is blue, a bright blue line painted on the route. The wide blue line helpfully guiding visitors and locals along the waterfront is another reason Wellington is one of the world’s most accessible and enjoyable capital cities. Dorothy had dangerous challenges to overcome. My problems were simplier--how to resist temptations, from all the inviting shops, cafes, and bars along the way?

photo: Donna Zabel, CC BY 3.0

Dorothy had to travel a long time. I only had to take the cruise ship shuttle to downtown. Unfortunately, with only an afternoon to explore this lovely city with a wonderful setting, choices had to be made. Located on the southern end of the North Island, the city looks out to the bustling harbor with beautiful green hillsides and mountains as its back. It’s a city designed for walking, even beyond the blue line that guides locals and visitors along the boardwalk and connects to important sites.

photo: Donna Zabel, CC BY 3.0

If I’d had more time, I’d have wandered the Wellington Botanic Garden, especially the Lady Norwood Rose Garden area. I would have strolled past the adorable Ascot Street cottages that evoke a 19th century Wellington. I would have poured over the old books, photographs, newspapers and maps of the Alexander Turnbull Library, and viewed the original Treaty of Waitangi that determined so much history between the Maori and British. I would have kept my energy level up by stopping at a craft brewery or local waterfront restaurant. Unfortunately, by the time I finished a thorough exploration of the essential Museum of New Zealand, the Library was closed, the restaurant crowds thinning, and the last shuttle bus back to the port about to leave.

photo: Donna Zabel, CC BY 3.0

My afternoon rush back to the ship was for a promised special treat—a concert of classical and Polynesian music in Old St Paul’s Cathedral. The building dates from 1866 and is made entirely of native timbers—a unique structure, if not the best for good acoustics for the performers. Titled “Symphony by The Sea”, the Wellington orchestra was at their best when accompanying powerful and talented local singers of both Maori and European background. My evening was topped off with champagne to wash down chocolate covered strawberries while friendly Kiwis waved goodbye and made us promise to come back. That’s a promise I hope to keep.

photo: Donna Zabel, CC BY 3.0


· For Lord of the Rings fans, Wellington is the place to visit Middle Earth, with lots of filming locations available for viewing on half or full-day tours.

· For immersion in New Zealand’s history, the National Library is a treasure trove of documents, including the mid-19th century treaties.

· For a spectacular view, take the cable car up to the Kelburn Terminal. Then walk down through the Botanic Gardens

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