Wellington’s green and friendly capital city has won the hearts of some of television’s most beloved and enduring stars.
On their first visit to New Zealand, Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie, along with everyone’s favourite Muppet Kermit, have been getting an insider’s guide to Wellington with hometown host Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords fame.
“We love New Zealand, it’s so beautiful here,” said Ernie. Meanwhile Bert is impressed because “New Zealand people say hello to you when you walk down the street.”
The stars of stage and screen are in New Zealand to appear in the Jim Henson Retrospectacle - a stage show bringing together many of the popular characters from Sesame Street, The Muppets and Fraggle Rock, and honouring their creator, the late Jim Henson.
Between performances, the group is ticking off Wellington’s top five list of family friendly attractions. As Ernie says, “Wellington’s got it all” so follow the trail to:
1. Zealandia Eco-sanctuary – “It’s very green here and that’s important to me.” (Kermit)
Zealandia is a remarkable eco project, a 500-year vision to return part of Wellington city to its pre-human state. Explore 35km of walkways through 252ha of regenerating native forest protecting rare native wildlife behind 8kms of predator-proof fences.
2. Cuba Street Bucket Fountain – “That’s always been on my bucket list!” (Ernie)
The Bucket Fountain has been a Wellington icon since 1969. This kinetic sculpture and water feature sits in a pedestrian precinct on colourful Cuba Street, a creative retail hub of quirky fashion boutiques, small shops, cafés and bars.
3. Te Papa national museum – “Te Papa is great. I’d love to see more of this beautiful museum.” (Kermit)
Te Papa, in Wellington’s busy waterfront precinct, is New Zealand’s national museum, a contemporary and innovative bicultural experience showcasing Art, History, Pacific, Māori, and Natural Environment.
4. Wellington Waterfront walkway - “There’s a whole bay with water, then you look behind and you’ve got mountains. And there’s a thing to jump off.” (Bert)
For the best views and photo ops, follow the Wellington waterfront walkway to discover this compact café central city, poised between the hills and a dramatic harbour setting. The walkway is populated with quirky art works, sculptures and quotes.
5. Red Rocks Seal Colony – “We may need to audition some seals for our next show.” (Kermit)
In the capital of Wellington, New Zealand fur seal colonies can be spotted just minutes from the city at the southern Red Rocks (take a Seal Coast Safari tour) or on a longer day-trip to eastern Cape Palliser.