In this 4K Walking Tour of Wellington, we start the famous bucket fountain on Cuba Street, we walk along Dixon Street and Courtenay Place and then a walk up to the summit of Mount Victoria via the walking track.

Use headphones for the best immersive experience while listening to the sounds of life in Wellington.

Wellington New Zealand 4K walking tour - Cuba Street, Courtenay Place and the summit of Mount Victoria, Wellington.

Highlights of this Wellington Walking Tour

Here are some of the highlights of this walking tour that you will see in the 4K video. You can find the timestamps to each of these attractions in the description of the video on YouTube.

Cuba Street – Bucket Fountain

We start today’s walk at the famous Wellington bucket fountain on Cuba Street. For some reason there was no water in the fountain today. Notice how someone left an orange road cone on top of the fountain. Things like that happen overnight, especially on weekends. You can see the bucket fountain in action in our other 4k walking tour from Parliament buildings to Cuba Street.

Bucket Fountain on Cuba Street in Wellington, New Zealand - Woodward Culture

We then walk along Dixon Street and past Hannahs Laneway.

Hannahs Laneway (which is Eva Street and Leeds Street) is a foodie paradise with boutique eateries, cafés and bars. This is where you will find the Wellington Chocolate Factory with tours and even a chocolate Masterclass there.

Next, you come to the traffic lights which is the start of Courtenay Place that goes from here to the end of the street.

Courtenay Place

Courtenay Place is known for its bars, restaurants, entertainment and nightlife. We went during the day, not just during the recording, but also at night when it is very busy and with another vibe. Yes, it is filled with young people (Wellington is a university city after all) out for a good time, though ever since the lockdowns Courtenay Place has become even “crazier” in the sense that fights and other problems seem to be more common, in fact 10 times more police callouts than before according to reports in local papers. We did notice a small police presence at night but even more rowdy drunks.

Along Courtenay Place you will find the St James Theatre, home to the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

You will find a variety of statues along the way but the most “stand out” one is the large Tripod statue across the road from the Embassy Theatre. It looks like a big three-legged spider with an old movie camera for a head. It was created by Weta Workshop in 2005 to celebrate Wellington’s film and television industry.

Tripod sculpture on Courtenay Place in Wellington created by Weta Workshop - Woodward Culture Travel Guide

The Embassy Theatre, built in 1926, is a Heritage New Zealand building that held the world premiere of the final Lord of the Rings movie The Return of the King and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (because Weta Workshop is based in Wellington).

Notice that just after the 10th minute of the video, I lowered the volume due to a police car with its blaring sirens trying to get through the intersection. Something happened … it wasn’t me … honest!

Next, you have to go around the corner and walk up Majoribanks Street. If you continue along this street, you arrive at the starting point of the Mount Victoria walk. Look at the style of the old wooden houses that have a lot of character. The street starts going uphill slowly then towards the end it gets noticeably steeper.

Mount Victoria Walk

Mount Victoria (known as Matairangi in Māori) is a prominent 196m (643 ft) hill in the eastern part of central Wellington. There are multiple walking tracks from the bottom of the hill up to the summit. There are also exclusive bicycle tracks for mountain bikers so they can start at the top and “fly” down to the bottom without having to worry about running over casual walkers.

At the entrance to the Mount Victoria walk you will go up some stone stairs and come to a map of the different tracks. Take a photo to help you remember if you like but there are also purple walkway signs along the way. (The red ones are mountain bikers)

Purple markers along the walk up Mount Victoria in Wellington - Woodward Culture Travel Guide

If you are doing the walk in summer, you will hear the chirping sound of the cicadas. This is the sound of summer in New Zealand. You may see some native birds like the friendly fantail and the large Kererū (NZ wood pigeon) on the way. Keep an eye out for them. With all of this nature around you, it can seem weird that you are in the middle of Wellington.

Was that a hobbit I saw?

Did you know that they filmed some scenes for The Lord Of The Rings movies on Mount Victoria. Specifically, the iconic scene where the Hobbits where hiding under the roots of a tree while the ring wraith riders were looking for them. You can still visit the Hobbits Hideaway location (for free) and there are signs leading the way. Please note though that the special effects artists (of Weta Workshop) removed the fake tree the hobbits hid under once filming had finished.

Near the Mount Victoria Summit

When you are taking the walking track up Mount Victoria and getting near the summit, you will come across a road. Yes, if you are short on time, and have transport, you can talk a car to almost the top of Mount Victoria. There are a couple of parking lots near the top.

Near one of the carparks is an area where kids can play with different activities like “There are 12 flies to catch – see if you can find them all.” Of course not real flies, pictures of them on posts. You wall also see many tall logs sticking out of the ground. These are for another activity called “battle of the birds”.

Byrd Memorial Mount Victoria Wellington - Woodward Culture Travel Guide

Before reaching the summit, near one of the carparks, is a pointy looking statue. It is in fact a memorial to Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd, a polar explorer and aviator from America who used New Zealand as his base during his second Antarctic expedition. He claimed to be the first person to fly over the North and South Poles and established a scientific base (Little America) in Antartica. The memorial looks pointy because it is in the form of a polar tent (from that time). You will see a bust of Byrd and the front is built up with rocks from Antartica. The memorial was unveiled in 1962 on the fifth anniversary of his death.

On the final stretch up to the summit you will found a bronze cannon to your right. Between 1877 and 1900, this cannon was fired at noon every day to help people keep time… and scare the annoying pigeons.

Old cannon at the summit of Mount Victoria, Wellington - Woodward Culture Travel Guide

To the left (on the way up) you will come across a Māori Statue looking like a pole. It is called a Pou in Māori and is used as a marker for the Māori Heritage Trail.

Then you get to the top of Mount Victoria … enjoy the views!

View of Wellington from the summit of Mount Victoria - Woodward Culture Travel Guide