If you find yourself needing a break away a bit further afield this spring, our capital city offers endless whānau fun – whatever the weather. By Sonia Speedy
Been stuck inside for months and fancy some fresh air? Wellington has it in spades, with or without the wind. Here are a few ideas for getting out with the family in the capital and surrounding areas, whether spring gives you sun or a torrential downpour.
One of our family faves when in Welly is a drive out to Horoeka Scenic Reserve in the Hutt Valley. Set in regenerating bush, there’s an easy walking track dotted with handmade fairy houses that will have you and the kids enthralled. Why not pack a picnic?
While you’re in the Hutt Valley, another leisurely stroll is Blossom Valley at Aston Norwood Gardens, which is on for just a few weeks in September and October and is great for grabbing some stunning family pics. It’s like being transported to Japan with all the cherry blossoms. Or stay in the city and take a walk along the Wellington waterfront – hire a Crocodile Bike when the little legs get sore.
Hit the water
If the weather is good, how about taking the East by West ferry from Wellington city across to Days Bay for a mini adventure? Go for a walk along the beach and grab a chocolate milkshake. Or make it a trip to Matiu/Somes Island instead to check out the native wildlife, lighthouse and World War Two bunkers on this special predator-free reserve.
But what if it rains?
Now we know spring weather can be up and down. But don’t let this stop you! Entertain their little brains while sheltering in the always engrossing Te Papa Tongarewa museum, where you can check out the colossal squid, the Britten bike, Bush City or even Phar Lap’s remains. Or call in to Capital E’s free play space area where they bring Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington Harbour) to life in a hands-on play area for little ones (open Mon to Sat).
If the weather starts to clear, take the kids on the Cable Car and then grab the free shuttle to Zealandia to experience this special city ecosanctuary, with its lush forest and 40 rare species of native wildlife. Make it a really magical trip and go back after dark on a guided tour to look for glow worms and kiwi.
‘H-anger’ is setting in now…
Best head to the Southern Cross Garden Bar, Joe’s Garage for a burger or Mr Go’s for bao buns to avoid that h-anger. Or, if spring is being generous, there’s always fish ’n’ chips by the sea at Lyall Bay.