Wellington or another city with 1 year old

Old Mar 1st, 2020, 11:41 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 27
Wellington or another city with 1 year old

Hi all,

My planned to trip to Seoul has been cancelled, so Im looking to take a short trip to NZ around early May instead, approximately 7 nights,

We are a couple with an active 1 year old. We drive, but the plan will be to base ourselves in 1 city and only take day trips, which works good for the 1 year old having a nap there or back.

Given the above, we won't be doing much in the way of hiking or extreme sports. We'd be looking for an attractive location with good food and drink, some interesting sites or museums, nice gardens and outdoor areas and some nice day trips within 1-1.5 hrs away (including wineries.) We will be taking things slowly with a child, so it will take us 2 days to do what might have taken 1 previously.

With this in mind, Wellington seems to be a good option. Seems theres enough to do and a wine region nearby. But I really dont know a lot about NZ and seeing as this is shirt notice, Im wondering if experts have some other suggestions I should consider or perhaps reasons why Wellington wouldn't work.

Thanks in advance.
stephendsmith is offline  
Old Mar 1st, 2020, 01:21 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Wellington would work as would several other cities including Auckland, also Queenstown but it will be colder down the South Island than Auckland or Wellington. Nelson and Marlborough region would also work I think.
nelsonian is offline  
Old Mar 1st, 2020, 02:48 PM
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I agree, Wellington or Auckland would offer "good food and drink, some interesting sites or museums, nice gardens and outdoor areas and some nice day trips within 1-1.5 hrs away (including wineries.)" Nelson also has all these features, but I think the country's most impressive museums, Te Papa and the Auckland War Memorial Museum, are in, respectively, Wellington and Auckland. However, Nelson is close to Abel Tasman National Park, which is a big plus. But Auckland has Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.
Have you been to NZ before? Has it been your dream to base yourself in one of its two largest cities? Domestic airfares are super cheap now.

Diamantina is offline  
Old Mar 1st, 2020, 03:38 PM
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Thank you for your reply.

To be honest, its not somewhere Ive 'dreamed' of going, I always thought we'd go when we are older. But we have travelled a lot of Australia and probably wont head to Asia for now, until there is more clarity on Covoid spread, so seems like a good time to go. We travel a lot, so this doesnt need to be some big holiday, more of a nice week away seeing a different city/country. I'm thinking a city is better with a child, just more access to services and a little easier.
stephendsmith is offline  
Old Mar 2nd, 2020, 03:21 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Thanks for explaining. I understand. I think you are wise to be concerned about the Covid-19 pandemic. My husband and I were planning a trip to Spain in June for a conference and to visit a Spanish friend and his family, but we've postponed our trip.

So far there is one confirmed case in Auckland and two people in Nelson are in isolation and being monitored.

Auckland has a great museum, the War Memorial Museum, with outstanding Maori and Oceania collections. It also offers daily Maori performances and is located in the Domain, a 75-hectare park (185-acre park). The Auckland Art Gallery (art museum) also has a good collection, and is housed in an impressive building next to Albert Park, which isn't so much a park with playgrounds but more of an inner-city urban green space with some statues and impressive trees; it's next to University of Auckland. There's also a Maritime Museum on Auckland's waterfront, which I've not been to, but sailing friends tell me it's really good. Downtown Auckland faces Hauraki Gulf, which is home to several islands, which you can take ferries to. You'd love Waiheke Island with its gorgeous wineries, most of which have ocean views and restaurants. Rangitoto Island is an uninhabited volcanic island (dormant) that emerged from the sea 600 years ago. As you won't be hiking, there's a motorized "train" that will take you around the island. West Auckland, which you'd need a car to explore, is also interesting with black sand beaches, rainforests, and wineries (in or near Kumeu).Otherwise, you wouldn't need a car to see Auckland's city center or the islands of Hauraki Gulf. There's also a terrific winery that's just a 7-minute taxi ride from Auckland Airport, Villa Maria Winery, which has a restaurant. Auckland's 64-hectare Botanic Garden is also just a 13-minute drive from the airport (not been there, been meaning to get there for years, it seems lovely).

Wellington (population around 400,000) is a tiny bit like my hometown of San Francisco in that it's hilly and by the water, quite green, and the city center is walkable but also well-served by public transportation. You wouldn't need a car for Wellington. The waterfront is attractive and this is where you'll find the excellent Te Papa Museum. Wellington Art Gallery is good but in my opinion, not as impressive as Auckland's. Wellington has a cable car with good views, which will take you from the CBD up to the top of Wellington's beautiful Botanic Garden. If you walk down through the Botanic Garden you'll be back in the city center. You might also want to visit Zealandia, an ecosanctuary in the city center. Ideally, you'd self-drive to Martinborough wine region, about an hour and a half drive from central Wellington; part of the road is steep and winding (Rimutaka Hill). I think it's best to spend a night or two in Martinborough; the nearby coastline is also attractive and worth visiting.

I'll leave descriptions of Nelson to Nelsonian.

Nelsonian also suggested Queenstown (population around 15,000), which is on Lake Wakitipu and surrounded by mountains. This is the kind of landscape many people think of when they think of New Zealand. Queenstown itself is a small resort city with shops and fine dining. It has a beautiful botanic garden on its lakefront, a gondola that takes you up to fantastic views of the town and lake below (there's also a buffet-style restaurant at the top). You can take a cruise across Lake Wakitipu.to Walter Peak Farm. I can't think of museums in Queenstown, but it has a wildlife attraction with kiwis, the Kiwi Birdlife Park, and the Queenstown suburb of Arrowtown was a historic gold mining town; many of the original buildings are still in use and remnants of an old Chinese settlements (that date back to the 1870s) can be visited. While in Queenstown, you can do the gorgeous 45-minute drive along Lake Wakitipu to Glenorchy, or drive a little more than an hour to beautiful Lake Wanaka, or drive 25 minutes to GIbbston Valley (wineries) and 25 minutes beyond Gibbston Valley to Cromwell and nearby Bannockburm (more wineries). This wine region is best known for its pinot noirs and rieslings.

Have you considered spending 4 nights in Auckland or Wellington and three nights in Queenstown? Or vice versa?

NZ's weather is unpredictable. You can expect anything in May.

Last edited by Diamantina; Mar 2nd, 2020 at 03:28 AM.
Diamantina is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2020, 11:54 AM
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Thank you so much for your response, this has given me something to work with for sure. I am now considering Queenstown as a very good option (Its a place Ive heard good things about), I didnt realise there was quite as much going on for those who dont ski or jump off bridges (anymore.) Wellington also seems a like a good choice as its compact.

I dont think we will travel to 2 locations as the flight days arent fun with a kid. Cold isnt a problem, we were in Italy for January, so Im thinking it wont be colder than that.

I will let you know if and when we go!
stephendsmith is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2020, 03:39 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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You're welcome, happy to help.

May will be colder, though in general not yet that cold, though we can get the occasional "cold blast" any time of year. Also, there's a big temperate difference between coastal Auckland in the north and higher-altitude, inland Queenstown in the south. Forecasters are predicting a warmer than average autumn (I hope they're right this time). https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/w...kely-niwa-says
I'd say expect some rain, but the rain doesn't stick around long. Wherever you choose you're likely to get a mix of weather.

Wellington is known for being one of the world's windiest cities; it's often said to be the world's windiest. The wind chill factor is worse when these winds blow up from the south. I've never found it horribly windy, though the last time my husband and I drove from Martinborough/Wairarapa to Wellington, it was extremely windy on Rimutaka Hill Road (State Highway 2 from Martinborough/Wairarapa wine region to Wellington city), and later that same day a car hauling a trailer blew off the road. When it gets too windy this road from Wellington to Martinborough closes. Wind and fog can also disrupt flights from Wellington. These extreme winds are more the exception rather than the rule, but I'd be remiss in not preparing you for this possibility. This is what Rimutaka Hill Road looks like:
If you don't feel like renting a car and driving to get over to Martinborough, you can look into wine tours from Wellington or consider taking the train, though I think this might be more complicated with a one-year old.

I have air tickets booked for a short trip in May to Wellington myself, but I'm thinking of cancelling as the hotels look quite full (and looked full when I first booked these flights in November). I think it's because Parliament will be in session. The city can get busy on weekdays and prices can be higher when Parliament is in session.

Wellington is also considered NZ's craft beer capital. Lord of the Ring and Hobbit fans tour Peter Jackson's Weta Workshop. It's a fun, attractive city.

If you'd like a bustling, urban setting, I'd say Auckland or Wellington. Queenstown will be way quieter and less busy (though it seems busy when compared to many other South Island towns). But it still has enough on offer to keep you from being bored, so you can find that balance of relaxation and activity. It also offers a wide range of comfortable accommodation with spectacular mountain and lake views--which can make you feel like not even leaving your accommodation, but just sitting back with a glass of wine and staring at the view. You also might want to research Waiheke Island, which is only a 40-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland.

This is the view from Rippon Winery in Wanaka (about an hour from Queenstown)
This is the view from Mt. Difficulty Winery in Bannockburn, less than an hour from Queenstown.

Yes, please let us know if you decide to come to NZ!

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