This reply to my New Zealand bleg, from Angela of Positively Wellington Tourism, is elaborate enough to deserve being re-posted in its entirety. Businesses with a Commitment to Social Media, take heed: this is how you do it. Not with a paragraph out of stock, semi-spam, self-linking "reply" file, but with this:
"I could not care less about the Things You Must See. Any landmark featured on a postcard does not require my presence."The more I hear about Wellington, the more intrigued I am. Even when what I hear comes from people, y'know, actively selling it and such. I still might want to dress as a bee, though. I'd probably have done that anyway, no matter the country.
Fair enough. Guess you won’t be dressing up as a bee and posing in front of the Beehive then.*
In terms of things not necessarily on the figurative Things You Must See list, but that you must in fact see/do I’d recommend:
- Havana coffee and the chocolate brownie at Deluxe on Kent Terrace
- Watching a movie at the Embassy Theatre (conveniently located next to Deluxe)
- Going to a play at Bats and/or Downstage
- Getting a barperson to read your cocktail personality at Matterhorn (nb: this isn’t actually an official tourism product – I’m just immensely indecisive when it comes to drinks of choice and luckily they’re skilled in the realm of tastebud reading)
- The Writers Walk
- The Sunday food markets
- Fidel’s Café on Cuba St
- Havana on Wigan St
- Sweet Mother’s Kitchen on Courtenay Place.
* People don't actually do this.
"Actually, I want to actively avoid most places tourists go. I care more about existing amidst NZ life as it's lived; I can see the damned Sky Tower on Google Earth. The one exception is museums, but I'd be going to those anyway, even if I lived near them. (Smaller art galleries I'm definitely interested in.)"
This is good. We have lots of museums. Te Papa is the national one, Museum of Wellington is the local one, and there’s a cricket one, a Cable Car one, a Katherine Mansfield one and probably some others.
"I will, at least some of the time, be carrying around field recording gear, so sonic richness is a plus."
For sonic richness of the urban variety, I’d suggest hanging out along the waterfront about 8am on a weekday. People transport themselves to work in a variety of ways here (bike, walk, rollerblades, skateboard, running etc) and it can make for quite an aurally interesting experience given the changing underfoot patterns of the developed infrastructure. For sound recording of the natural variety, do a night tour at ZEALANDIA – it’s a sanctuary about 10 minutes’ drive from the CBD and you can hear kiwi calls. The males are the high pitched ones and the females are of a lower vocal tone. Please note, I am talking about birds here, as in animals. Not 'Kiwis' as in the colloquial reference to people of New Zealand descent.
"I tend to prefer the built urban environment to the suburban or rural. But I realize that this is one of those breathtaking-majesty-of-nature countries, so I'm keeping my mind open like a well-functioning parachute. (It may say something that I'd originally considered doing the less nature-y north island only.)"
This is also good as ‘built urban environment’ is what Wellington does. Although one of our key marketing pillars is ‘nature close to the city’ and Wellington is in the North Island so I am somewhat concerned the ‘less nature-y’ reference means our marketing team need to step it up a bit. I’ll have a word. Wellington’s downtown is pretty small – read 2km in diameter – so I won’t tell you where to go, you’ll find it.
"I never made it to the second and third Lord of the Rings movies."
So the movie tour circuit probably isn’t going to be your thing. If you’re out Miramar way (which you probably won’t be as it’s quite suburban and I note you don't really do suburban or rural), go and have a coffee at Café Polo and check out the Weta Cave.
Art galleries and the like are listed on www.WellingtonNZ.com and we also run www.texture.co.nz when we've got our underground hat on. The latter is a good point of reference for music gigs that are on when you're in town.
We're also on Twitter at @Wellington_NZ if you want to be kept in the loop when you're about/on your way.