Updated: Mar 22
Okay okay, I hear you - claiming the best sunset spot in Welly is a big fucking deal, but just trust me on this one.
So often I wonder to myself, where should I go tonight to watch the sunset? Where is the BEST place for me to go?
For all you lot who know me, you know that sunsets heal my soul in a way that few other things can and there's not much I won't sacrifice to find my stillness under a sky ablaze from the colours of twilight and sunset colliding.
After trying out a number of spots dotted all over the city, I've decided to share with you my sacred space that I escape to on days when life feels a little heavy and I know that the fire of the setting sun will bring me back to myself.
Here goes nuthin...
The Best Sunset Spot in Wellington - Directions
To get to the spot, you need to go on a little adventure (don't worry, it really is only little for any lazy-bums out there)!
If you're located in the heart of Wellington city, you might not even know this place exists but get yourself out to Island Bay and we can go from there! There are loads of buses that get you there - the number 1 takes just 20 minutes from Island Bay to Willis Street which is the one I'd suggest - although there are others if you have a google!
From Island Bay, whether you're on foot or in a vehicle, you want to turn onto Derwent street and find 'City to Sea Walkway' road - yes, the road is literally called that which helps on the confusion front ha! And of course, we're all well versed in the reliability of good old google maps should you need it anywhos.
Head to the top of that road until you reach the opening to the trail. There are a few parks at the top too if you are driving, although the space isn't huge and can often be full, so if a van is your mode of transport, maybe consider parking partway up the road!
Getting to the Sunset
The fun part. Not only will the anticipation be building for you as you make your way to the best sunset spot in the city, but you'll also be transported into a whole new natural world as soon as you begin.
Views over Island Bay as you begin the walk.
Listen out for the beautiful birdsong as you make your way up a few flights of stairs - don't worry, they're over before you know it - and practice a bit of walking meditation as you take in the bush that surrounds you.
As you reach the top of the incline the bush will open out, and you'll find yourself standing on what feels like the top of the world. To the left, a wonderful view over Island Bay; to the right, the rolling green hills of Wellington dotted with little white houses and city lights. Right in front you all you'll be able to see is bush, and the thin dirt path that will guide you to the sunset.
Take some time to appreciate where you are in this moment. This walk, albeit really short, holds so much beauty and offers so many scenic views and shots for you to take in. So give yourself time to feel it all fully.
When you're ready begin your walk down the path. It's just a dirt path that leads you through an array of trees and bushes, beautiful wild flowers and some edible plants line the edges. With anticipation it may feel longer than it is, but I promise you the view will be worth it.
The Spot - The Bench of Benches
As you reach the end of the pathway, again an opening will appear.
This is your time to move slowly and stay present, a chance to breathe in the oxygen Mother Earth is creating for you. A revival; a reset.
As you open out you'll see two benches off to the right offering you the perfect place to sit in silent reflection and watch the Earth rest after another day.
If you go on a clear night - which is the only time I would recommend - sit a while. This is my favourite bench in the whole of Wellington - which is another gregarious claim considering there are so many! But sat on that bench, the South Island clear as tropical ocean waters, the sunset roaring from behind the rolling hills ahead, the ocean stretching out further than we could ever comprehend, and the wind, sometimes howling with aggression, mirroring my own frustration, reminding me it's okay to let it out - or some days more of a gentle swirl, a guiding taking my hand and filling my heart.
I always sit on the bench on the right. It has the better views, let's be real. It's angled in a way that allows you to capture everything in your eye range with no effort is required. You can just take this time to find some stillness in your life, reconnect with the powers of the Earth and count every damn blessing you have.
Views from 28 August 2020 when I took myself on a sunset date
April 2020 - one of the many lockdown discoveries
Previous occasions. The day we discovered my the ultimate sunset-gazing spot during lockdown. And another time we went when I was sad one time. Sam & I love it up here - it's just a shame we don't get to share as many sunsets as we would like!
If you're in Wellington, I'm serious when I tell you you can't live in this city and not watch at least one sunset from this bench. It should be mandatory - like some kind of rite of passage I swear!
So if you're here. Go.
If you want to travel to NZ, get this down on your bucketlist and make sure you don't miss one of the most epic sunsets you could hope for - especially in a city...
Now i've told you my secret spot, I trust you'll treat it with care & treasure it as I do!
I hope you watch many a sunset up there and remember how beautiful this life really is, no matter some of the challenges you come to face.
Maybe i'll see you there someday!
Sending love, as always,