Coming to Fringe 2017? Yay! Joining the Fringe is a rite of passage for artists and audience members alike, and should not be missed! Here are some helpful bits to know about your time in Wellington.
Getting around Wellington is pretty easy. Most of the downtown area can be navigated on foot. If you're not staying too far out of town cycling is also a good option. Parking downtown can be very expensive ($4 per hour for council street parks for a maximum of 2 hours) and our traffic wardens are unscrupulous vultures so make sure you pay for your parking!
It's not usual to hail taxis in the street in wellington. Your best bet is to jump in a taxi from a taxi rank. These are located in various areas around the inner city; Dixon St opposite BATS, Ghuznee St outside the Fix convenience store, Vivian St outside Bru Bros, and in several spots along Courtenay Place.
Outside the CBD you will need to phone book a taxi. Fringe recommends Green Cabs. Call free on 0508 4 GREEN (0508 4 47336) from any landline or cell phone.
Wellington has a bus network covering all of downtown and the suburbs. Nearly all buses route through Manners St and Courtney Place and the train station making them quite convenient. Wellington fares are determined by zones. You can pay the driver directly with cash (change $5 and under is preferred), they can help you identify your stop and how many zones you are traveling.
You can also use a Snapper card to pay for your bus journeys, doing so will save you about 25% on each journey. It’s a red card that you hold against a monitor (tag) as you get on and off a bus – just make sure you tag off when you leave too so you only get charged for the zones you travel. More than one person at a time can travel and have a single Snapper card charged for it - just tell the driver when you board so they can charge your card correctly. Snappers are available to purchase for approx $15 from many dairies and convenience stores where you can also 'load' money on to them. Most bus journeys around Wellington are between $2 and $5.
It's also quite normal to hear "thank you driver!" yelled from the back of the bus by departing passengers. It's kind of a Wellington thing.
You can hire a bike from ‘On Yer Bike Avanti Plus’ on Vivian St in the CBD. It’s best to book, phoning is the best way (04) 384 8480
From the Airport
The easiest way to get into town from the airport is by taxi. There is an ‘airport surcharge’ for taxis leaving the airport. A taxi to the CBD at off-peak times is around $30. There are taxi ranks directly outside the baggage claim/international arrivals at Wellington airport. Fringe recommends Green Cabs.
The Airport Flyer is an express bus with free WiFi that runs every 10 mins from the airport to the city with just a couple of stops along the way. If you’re staying in town this can be a good option. If many of you are travelling together it might be cheaper to share a taxi.
Wellington is home to the Interislander and Bluebridge ferry services that connect the North and South Island. Both have separate terminals located within easy distance of the CBD on the Wellington waterfront. For more information visit: www.interislander.co.nz or www.bluebridge.co.nz
Also running from Wellington are the East by West/Dom Post ferries. These do several daily commuter trips across the harbour to Eastbourne and Matiu Somes Island.
If you’re self-catering there are two supermarkets central to the city:
- New World Chaffers (this is the biggest inner city super market)
- New World Metro (a little pricier due to it’s location but full of all the essentials)
Otherwise here in NZ we have dairies. These are like 7/11’s or newsagents. There’s plenty around town and in the suburbs.
Wellington is also home to coffee, coffee, COFFEE! Everywhere you turn you’ll find a coffee shop. Fringe is sponsored by Havana coffee, which we love, but there’s lots of other good brands out there too. Don’t be scared, try them. The most popular coffee to drink in Wellington is a ‘flat white’, it’s a double shot espresso with warmed milk but not too much froth.
You can purchase cigarettes and alcohol at supermarkets and dairies. Cigarettes are not displayed in NZ. Supermarkets and dairies are only allowed to sell beer and wine, if you’re looking for something stronger you’ll need to go to a liquor store. New laws mean that the sale of alcohol is restricted to between the hours of 7am - 11pm in all supermarkets, liquor stores and dairies.
We also have lots of restaurants and takeaway places in downtown Wellington. Courtney Place and Cuba St are a mecca of various types of food. If you’re looking for something specific just ask, someone will be able to help.
Bars are all over the place, licensing in NZ is till 4am but most places shut at 3am or a bit earlier. The drinking age for bars and purchases is 18. The standard rule is if you look under 30 you will be id’d so it’s a good idea to carry ID for entry to bars etc. Generally accepted form of ID in NZ are drivers licences, passports and HANZ or other age proof cards.
NZ Fringe endorses responsible drinking.
Is it safe to swim in the Wellington harbour?
Sure! Although we don’t recommend it in a southerly wind as it’s a bit cold. It is currently not safe to swim in the harbour along the waterfront between Queens Wharf and Chaffers Marina and diving platforms along this part of the waterfront have temporarily been removed for safety. Is however fine to swim at Oriental Parade, Worser Bay, Breaker Bay, Lyall Bay, Island Bay and further up the Kapiti coast at Titahi and beyond (the water is a little warmer up there).
There is also a public swimming pool in Oriental Bay called Freyberg.
What’s the area code for phoning?
The New Zealand area code is 0064
The Wellington area code is 04 (you’ll need to dial this if you’re calling from beyond Plimmerton or the Hutt)
NZ landline phone numbers are 7 digits long
Mobile phone numbers start with 021, 022 or 027
You can buy prepaid sim cards for you phone from just $2 at places like Warehouse Stationery or dairies and supermarkets as well as phone stores around town. The cellular networks are: 2 Degrees, Vodafone, Telecom and Skinny Mobile.
What’s a good thing to do if we have a day off?
Sleeping is good but if you’re looking for a little more adventure and experience check out our national museum Te Papa or the Wellington Museum of City and Sea, both are located on the waterfront.
Mount Victoria makes for a spectacular view and it’s a nice walk to the top. Parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy were filmed there.
Catching a ferry to Matiu Somes Island is a good day trip. The island is a nature reserve and has an interesting history.
And if you’re interested in NZ’s natural wildlife a trip to Zealandia (previously the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary) is a good day out in nature.
We also have a spectacular zoo in Newtown (the number 10 bus from town will take you right to it’s door).
There’s surfing in Lyall Bay and a surf shop to rent boards from.
There’s also the some great cinemas for a rainy day activity - Penthouse, Lighthouse, Reading and Embassy (Tuesday is cheap ticket day at most cinema’s). www.flicks.co.nz
Just stroll around trying the coffee and treats Wellington has to offer.