Wellington was our first destination on the North Island of New Zealand after a beautiful crossing of the Cook Strait, during which we saw a seal and also a whale. We were sad to be leaving the South Island behind but it is safe to say Wellington made quite the impression on us. At first we were terrified by the multiple lanes of traffic, the volume of people and the city lights – remember we have spent four months touring the quiet, winding roads of the South Island and were used to seeing cows and not people! Once we got over our reintroduction into ‘society’ we realised there is a lot more to Wellington than it being the capital city of New Zealand.



It is an especially hilly area, with plenty of native bush and houses dotted amongst the trees. The city itself is beautiful and compact with a stunning ocean-side location and the surrounding area is also beautiful; with hidden bays, small communities and a welcome every bit as hospitable as we experience throughout the South Island. The only downside with Wellington is the wind, which blows constantly and gives the city its name…Windy Wellington.



The city contains a shark mural next to one of the supermarkets and the Wellington Chocolate Factory, which smells like chocolate heaven and produces natural, ethically-sourced chocolate bars with natural sugars. We spent a good few minutes inhaling the scents of the chocolate shop before moving on and agreeing to return in the future when we have money to spare. The city is artistic and vibrant, it is home to small businesses, a real ale brewery we have noted down for future reference and a fun Waterfront ocean mural that mad our daily walk to town more interesting.



We spent almost two weeks in the Wellington area and during our time we met with some lovely local people that welcomed us with open arms and shared the city and surrounding areas secrets. We were also very fortunate to meet with The Green Party to discuss the New Zealand ban on shark finning. We really enjoyed learning about their campaign that successfully banned shark finning in New Zealand waters and were delighted to receive a tour of the Houses of Parliament. It was such a special moment touring the parliamentary rooms and considering the historic moments that have come to pass there.



Our events during those two weeks included adult lectures for NZ Sea Adventures dive club, Plimmerton Boat Club, Dive & Ski HQ, two Ryman’s retirement villages and Forest and Bird’s Wellington branch. A highlight of our Wellington events for me was the day of shark talk and shark art with Wellington’s Kiwi Conservation Club at Island Bay. We had a fantastic day of sunshine and the local community came out in their hundreds to enjoy a day of marine conservation. The Wellington KCC made some lovely shark cupcakes for sale and the Island Bay Marine Education Centre let us use their facilities free of charge.



We would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone involved in that event and to everyone that attended our lectures in the Wellington area. Particular thanks also to YHA New Zealand’s Wellington hostel for allowing us to use their internet, laundry and kitchen facilities throughout our stay – which always ensured we were fed and presentable for our events.