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Stopping in Wellington on a cruise? Get out for half a day and back to the ship on time with this easy itinerary of top spots around Wellington's Harbour northern fringe.
Walk a few minutes from the Petone Railway Station to La Bella Italia, an authentic Italian restaurant, deli and shop with an amazing atmosphere and the best of NZ and Italy on a plate. Pick up supplies for back on-board or grab some snacks here for later or in the "street sized pantry" of international food stores minutes up the road in Jackson Street - with over 60 eateries within 900 metres.
Still on your feet, take a stroll down Jackson Street. It’s lined with historic buildings that are now filled with cafés, boutique shopping and independent retailers. Wellington is known for its quality coffee and Caffeind have some of the best. Stop in for a caffeine hit and home baking.
Petone Historical Jail and Police Station, which is halfway along Jackson Street, is a great location for learning about the area’s history. Keep the history theme going at the Petone Settlers Museum, which is a few blocks over on the Foreshore. The place where the museum stands marks the spot where New Zealand’s first settlers from Europe came ashore from their ships.
The Dowse Art Museum is your next stop. This design and craft museum has an international reputation, regularly changing exhibitions programme and vibrant events. The gift shop stocks New Zealand designed and made products and there’s a café next door. In Dowse Square, fill your drink bottle with artesian water from an underground bore.
Get back on the bus and travel down to Zany Zeus in Moera. Their organic dairy products are something to write home about. Fill up on their halloumi sandwiches, sample brinza and other cheeses or order an affogato – which is particularly good with chocolate Ghana ice cream.
Pick up the bus again on Randwick Road and ride it out to Eastbourne, a seaside village with a variety of shops. Enjoy sea views or get adventurous; at Days Bay (just before Eastbourne) hire a canoe or kayak at the wharf and paddle around the bays.
The East by West Ferry sails from Days Bay over to Queens Wharf in the centre of Wellington city. If you’re heading home early, then stopping at Matiu/Somes Island is another great walking opportunity. It’s an island in the middle of Wellington Harbour and a tranquil retreat for wildlife. You might even spot a tuatara.
All possible on a Explorer Day Pass for unlimited travel on buses and trains for a day - catch a train to Petone to get you started.
Or simply take the number 83 bus, every half hour from any bus stop in central Wellington, through Petone and Lower Hutt, around the harbour's edge to Days Bay. Then cruise back to Wellington on a harbour ferry - buy a ticket on-board - though might want to stay the night in a seaside cottage instead.