"Like the Tardis, it looks small from the outside, but inside it holds big surprises"
The bestselling guide to our planet has raved about our town again.
After declaring Wellington the "coolest little capital" last year, the 16th edition praises the city's "compact and vibrant" downtown for its stimulating mix of theaters, galleries, boutiques, and museums, along with its "cocktail-and-caffeine" cafe scene that "fizzes and pops" with energy.
There are five must-sees, they say.
Of course, Weta Cave comes first, being the mini-museum of no less than The Lord of the Rings and all the other mind-boggling Peter Jackson productions.
Our harbor ferry is also highly recommended. Personally, I love a day at Matiu Island in the middle of the harbor, followed by the spectacular return to Queen's Wharf.
Wellington shows off a number of intriguingly off-beat living sculptures. My favorite is the silver fern-leaf ball that floats above Civic Square, but the Lonely Planet people love the Len Lye water whirler.
And of course a day trip to the wine region of Martinborough in the Wairarapa is a must.
The Dowse Art Museum gets the big mention. Te Papa is always popular, too, but my favorites are the Museum of Wellington, City and Sea in the Bond Store on Queen's Wharf, and the Pataka Museum in Porirua.
There are six other recommendations:
Unity Books In Willis Street -- "Setting the standard for every bookshop in the land."
Sweet Mother's Kitchen -- "it's clean, cute, has craft beer and good sun"
Malthouse (more beer)
Shinobi Sushi Lounge "Japanese training and Kiwi flair combine to create the most exciting sushi joint in town"
Hunters & Collectors -- "off-the-rack and vintage clothing"
Bats Theatre -- "Wildly alternative"