Wellington is a compact, vibrant city of culture and nature. It has been dubbed ‘the coolest little capital in the world’ by a travel guide.
All walkable from Booklovers:
- Te Papa – the national museum, with free entry
- Wellington Museum and the New Zealand Portrait Gallery – neighbours on the waterfront
- City Gallery Wellington in the Civic Centre – near the i-Site tourist information centre.
- National Library is opposite Parliament Buildings and the Anglican St Paul’s Cathedral in Molesworth Street.
- Archives New Zealand is just down the road from them, in Mulgrave Street. Old St Paul’s, a pretty 19th century wooden Gothic church is almost next door.
- Zealandia wildlife sanctuary – Mainly birds as New Zealand has hardly any native animals. You can get there from Booklovers on the No 2 bus to Karori. You go through a tunnel. Get out at next stop and walk down Waiapu Road into Zealandia.
- Otari-Wilton’s Bush plant museum. Go by car or take a No 14 bus from Courtenay Place.
- Wellington Botanic Gardens – Go by No 2 bus (towards Karori), get off at the first stop in Lambton Quay. Take about 10 steps backwards and find Cable Car Lane, and take the cable car to the top, and walk down into the Gardens. OR take the No 2 bus (towards Karori) and get off near the Main Gates.
- Mt Victoria – The green belt with its walking tracks and Lord of the Rings sites neighbours Booklovers. Just go out the front door and turn left, through children’s playground and up the only steps. Take any path up to the top.
- Oriental Bay – Follow those instructions for the green belt. Turn left at the top of the steps and walk through main track to a road. You will see St Gerard’s brick monastery to the left. Walk down the little steps to its right and down Oriental Terrace (a path with houses on it rather than a street) to Oriental Bay, which is a nice promenade at night: a well-lit, safe walk by the sea.
- Round the south coast – Drive to Oriental Bay and follow the road with the sea on your left. At Lyall Bay, you could stop at Maranui café and then keep going – turning right to come back either via Island Bay Parade or Owhiro Road. Maranui’s building is an old surf club. It is on the beach and has views of inter-island ferries in Cook Strait and aeroplanes coming and going – as Wellington’s airport is close to town
- The best – is Unity Books in Willis Street.
- The best second-hand – Arty Bees in Manners Street
Restaurants and cafes
Abound in Wellington. Those within 10 minutes’ walk of Booklovers include:
- Ortega – in Majoribanks Street
- Capitol – on the corner of Kent Terrace and Majoribanks Street
- Sweet Mother’s Kitchen – in Courtenay Place
- The Hop Garden – just down the road from us at 13 Pirie Street. The Hop Garden specialises in beer – local, international – and serves good food; do not let outward appearance put you off.
From the front Gate
From the front gate of 123 Pirie Street:
- Turn right and walk, via Brougham St and Elizabeth Street into Kent Terrace and Courtenay Place, about 7 minutes away. Courtenay Place has many restaurants, bars and cafes and theatres, including the Embassy (where Peter Jackson held the world premiere of one of the Rings films). Keep walking towards the waterfront for Te Papa/national museum and beyond that the Portrait Gallery and Wellington Museum.
- Or walk through Courtenay Place and straight on into Manners Street (passing Arty Bees second hand bookshop) to Cuba Street whichcrosses Manners. Cuba Street has many cafes and little shops. Or head to the right, down Cuba Street towards Civic Centre, with City Gallery. Or keep going on Manners Street to Willis Street, with Unity Books. And on to Lambton Quay, the ‘main street’ with shops and offices. (Note that this area more or less closes when shops shut at 5.30 – so for dinner, head back to Cuba Street and Courtenay Place areas). In the middle of Lambton Quay, find Cable Car Lane and head up the cable car and walk down the Botanic Gardens paths. Parliament Buildings are at the end of Lambton Quay, and beyond it is the National Library and Archives New Zealand.
- Turn left (and left again through the children’s playground) and walk through the city’s green belt bush tracks to the beach at Oriental Bay.
- Go to the airport by standing in front of the house and waiting for the No 2 (to Miramar/Seatoun) bus. Get off at Broadway and the airport is a short, flat walk. (Note: the Flyer airport bus does not pick up at the bus stop outside Booklovers.)