The signs all through town herald that something big is happening.
“Welcome to the middle of middle earth…” they say.
Yep, the first of Peter Jacksons’ Hobbit movies is nearing its red carpet date and Wellington is embracing all things Tolkien related.
It starts when you step on the plane with a Middle Earth inspired safety message featuring Peter Jackson and the voice of Sir Ian that’s worth having a look at on youtube.
It finishes with huge models of Gollum decorating the departure lounge, and is continued all through town. It’s actually pretty cool. I couldn’t get a great photo of him- Mr T was too embarassed.
So, the photos.
Given that I was there for a special event, we really only had a few hours to walk around. So…:
You have to. Great coffee, great eats, great shops.
Don’t come to Cuba St and expect high st brands. Come for quirky one off designers, op shop classics, vintage apparel, recycled whatever and cool homewares.
My absolute favourite is Abstract, but Iko Iko is always worth a look, as is Cosmo.
For coffee and food you have plenty of choice and not a Starbucks in sight. Head straight to the north end to Fidels. Of course.
Wander back a block or so and discover some street art and more cool restaurants.
Head down Cuba St towards the water and discover more street art,
and galleries of a more traditional nature.
The wooden footbridge is a piece of art in itself,
but if you’re around over the weekend, check out the markets in the carpark by the wharves.
If you want High St stores, head back into the city to Willis St and Lambton Quay.
I love the giant smarties- which are actually a wind sculpture,
and the old Bank Arcade.
The cable car leaves from Lambton Quay as well.
The party we went over for was held at what felt like a remote location on the west coast of Wellington, but was in fact just 25 mins away from the city.
Set in a sheep station, the cliff views were intense indeed, the golf was extreme, the weather bitter and the open fire welcome.
Boomrock caters for conferences, weddings, extreme adventures, and special birthdays..
and the food was, well, as spectacular as the view.
Where we stayed
This visit we stayed in Cuba St, at the CQ Hotel. Smack bang in the middle of some great eats (to suit all budgets), and quirky vintage and one off designer finds, you can’t get much better when it comes to position- regardless o whether you’re there for business or (like me) fun. The rooms are comfortable, well appointed and great value. There’s a great coffee shop attached (for those early morning caffeine runs) and joy of all joys, magazines in the rooms that are more than an advertisement for the hotel group. Most importantly, the room we had passed the very stringent Jo quietness test.