Living in Dunedin has allowed me to travel the south extensively thus far, however I had yet to visit the North Island of New Zealand unless we're counting Auckland Airport (let's not) so with a remarkably cheap roundtrip ticket on a Jetstar flight and little more than my camera and a carry-on backpack I decided to go to Windy Wellington - the capital city of New Zealand. The city was not just a great escape from my home but it was a lot of fun too - so although you might be lead to believe that it's just like any other city I'm here to assure you that Welly is anything but that.
Even if you're not much one for nature (firstly what are you doing in New Zealand?!) I would really suggest taking a walk to the top of Mt. Victoria in Wellington. It isn't very long or particularly tough (kids can do it easily) but the views of the city and all in between are to die for. On your way to the summit you will walk through rose gardens, fields of succulents, and other plants I don't know the names of because I'm hopeless. If you don't particularly feel like walking you can take a trolly to the top for 4$ so don't despair.
Once you reach the summit of Mt. Vic you can actually go to the observatory of Wellington as well. Aside from a planetarium you can also look through the Thomas Cooke telescope and see so many of the stars that you probably wouldn't be able to catch otherwise.
Like any other capital city there is Parliament in Wellington but instead of being solely centred on political drama the city has a culture of it's own which oddly enough does correlate at the same time as distinct itself from the government. That's because the government of New Zealand sits in a place called the Beehive because, you guessed it, it looks like a Beehive in structure. Although no pictures are to be taken inside the building for security, the views really are very interesting and nothing like Canada's Parliament Hill or The White House. With rooms decorated by Iwi's (Maori tribes), portraits of Kiwis I'd never heard of before, tokens of remembrance to battles fought and the general landscape of the Parliament it's certainly a good place to start with a tour of Welly because you can get an insight into how the city and the country came to be what it is today. Luckily tours of the Beehive are FREE so you won't have to dip into your budget for this one.
In contrast to Parliament, Cuba Street during the weekend is a little slice of Havana Heaven with all sorts of people salsa dancing, enjoying drinks and amazing street food. With cute second hand bookstores in hidden alcoves it makes Wellington feel smaller than it is. My personal favourite was having great coffee and conversations with a someone who made coffee out of his van - which was the perfect start to a Saturday night, pictures of said Saturday night are excluded but know that there was a lot to drink.
On the final full day of my weekend in Wellington, I went to Te Papa which is a museum. In Te Papa there were a lot of Polynesian artifacts but it was mostly centred around Maori artifacts with exhibitions on battles fought by Kiwis of all sorts. If museums really aren't your thing I'd go simply for the views and the free wifi. More than that I found Wellington was perfect for a coffee, a drink and a relaxing weekend.