Lens-Artist’s Challenge # 82 – Capitals

Viveka at My Guilty Pleasures is hosting the challenge this week, Capitals. She talks about how she loves big cities and bright lights but I want to share some photos of our small capital with you. 

‘Gee, it’s great to be back in Wellington.’*

Wellington, our little capital, from Mount Victoria.

New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington became a favourite destination of ours when our youngest daughter moved there in 2017. A compact city of 220,000 it was recently named “the coolest little capital in the world” by Lonely Planet. It’s the culinary capital and the creative capital of NZ too. It’s culture is fueled by great food, wine, craft beer, coffee, markets and amazing events. It’s the home of:
        Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop best known for its Academy Award winning work              on The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and Avatar among others,
        the World of Wearable Arts awards, ‘a theatrical spectacle and magnet for                            extraordinary talent from around the world’,
        the NZ Symphony Orchestra and Royal NZ Ballet,
ealandia, the world’s first fully-fenced eco-sanctuary brim full of native and                      endangered species,
        the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa,
National Archives, National Library and the Supreme Court
and of course it is the seat of Parliament.

The harbour fountain.

‘I’m allergic to fresh air in slow motion, I’d be peeved if the day is too still. I like a                                    breath from the ocean, on top of a Wellington hill.’*

With the Remutaka Range behind and Cook Strait in front,  the central business district is shoe horned into a narrow strip of land at the harbour’s edge. Many of the residential suburbs sit high above the city on forested hillsides.   

Cars wind up and over the Remutaka Range out of Wellington.

Gallipoli, The Scale of Our War is a long running exhibition at Te Papa in partnership with Weta Workshop that tells the story of the 8 month campaign in WW1 through the eyes and words of eight ordinary New Zealanders. Each of the exhibits is 2.4 times human size. The detail is incredible, sweat on brows, hair and veins standing out on limbs and  expressions of horror and fear, all on a monumental scale. Running since 2015, the lines are still long on weekends and when the cruise ships are in.

One of the exhibits in ‘Gallipoli, The Scale of Our War’.

‘I’m content to be holding my lid on, at the corner of Lambton Quay, as I cling to the earth with my eyebrows, against the wind that is shoving at me’*

Wellington is the southernmost capital in the world and with its location in the Roaring Forties is the world’s windiest city, with an average wind speed of 27 km/h (17 mph). Situated on the southernmost tip of the North Island, it’s exposed to strong winds through Cook Strait that earned it the nickname “Windy Wellington.” To be fair, it’s almost always blowing.

Enjoying the sun outside Te Papa Museum on the Wellington waterfront.

Established in 1868, the Wellington Botanic Garden covers 25 hectares above the city with themed gardens and curated plant collections. A ride up in the cable car is fun and saves your legs from a climb.

Fountain near the main gate of the Botanic Gardens.

‘Give me good old Island Bay, where the gentle zephyrs play, and the missus rolls                         down the hill with a mouthful of clothes pegs on washing day.’*

Wellington is ranked 12th in the world’s most liveable cities and it’s easy to keep fit without paying gym fees. It’s hilly. The central business district covers the flat and a series of terraces rise up the hills, lined with narrow, wooden houses. Walking is easy, at least half of any trip is downhill but driving is a white knuckle experience on the steep narrow streets.

606 pairs of shoes on the lawn in front of Parliament to show the terrible toll of suicide in NZ.

Beautiful Lyall Bay, a 30 minute drive from the city is a popular surf beach and home of the recording studio of Fat Freddy’s Drop. You can listen to their quintessential kiwi hit Wandering Eye here.
Wellington airport is behind me at the city end of the bay. It’s exciting to watch planes take off and land in all kinds of weather, but I’d rather not be on one.


It’s a 3 to 3 1/2 hour trip across the moody stretch of water to the South Island on an inter island ferry. In April 1968, the ferry Wahine foundered on Barrett Reef at the entrance to Wellington Harbour in ‘the worst storm conditions ever recorded’. It was New Zealand’s worst modern maritime disaster, with the loss of 53 lives. 

The Interislander passes Barrett Reef on it’s way to Wellington.

‘Northerly, southerly, cyclone or gale, tornado or typhoon, old Wellington can dish                                                   the lot up, any summer afternoon.’*

*The excerpts of an ode to Wellington’s weather were written by an unknown returned soldier during World War II. You can hear a full recitation on the Nga Taonga Sound and Vision website here.


  1. Wellington …. wonderful – was there in 1979 .. when I worked on a cruise liner that went to Antartic. Wellington and Christchurch. New Zealand, what a place and the people. Thank you for brining me back … The country of my favorite wine – Cloudy Bay. That mountain image … brilliant, the hills are like velvet. Thank you so much for playing with me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Patti. Folks who live there don’t seem to notice the weather but we live in possibly the best climate in the country and find it a bit challenging down there some times.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think Wellington is my absolute favourite city and I don’t get there often enough. Oddlybthough, the weather is almost always great when I’m there — and not too windy. But waiting at the airport to leave, so often I see the clouds rolling in 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for an excellent tour, Wendy! We were lucky the first day there, and very much enjoyed the Botanical Gardens too. Lots of roses! But on our way back from South Island we had planned for a LOTR tour around wellington – and we went, in pouring rain! But all happy and smiles – I and my children love Tolkien and PeterJjacksons movies. Weta cave was of course really something…
    Ah, thank you for reminding me of all the fun we had! A capital Capital!

    Liked by 1 person

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