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Island Bay, Wellington Overview

The Island Bay is a must-visit area when you’re in Wellington, with the beautiful beach and diving schools to visit around. It is located just 5 kilometres from the city centre and is very easily accessible using both, public transport and personal means of commuting. Tapu Te Ranga island is located just offshore Island Bay, which functions as a natural breakwater and provides a sheltered anchorage for local fishing boats.

The place is perfect to spend a day at, and you can chill at the Island bay beach with friends, or take a few lessons in scuba diving at the Island Bay Divers institute. You can also go swimming in the clear water, and explore the marine life offshore. Diving tours also allow you to explore the ruins of HMNZS Wellington, which lies just east of Taputeranga Island. A movie at the Empire cinema, followed by dinner there and a night walk at the beach would be the perfect date night! Don’t miss out on this gem of Wellington while you’re there!

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Things to Do

There are multiple tourist-friendly places in and around Island Bay that you should absolutely check out! They are:
  • Island Bay beach – This is one of the most quiet and peaceful beaches in the city, and is located at the end of the City to Sea and Southern walkways. You can relax here, or go swimming, diving or snorkelling. Divers can look at the wide diversity of marine life, or explore the wreckage of HMNZS Wellington, which lies just east of Taputeranga Island.

  • Island Bay Marine  Education centre – This centre aims at increasing awareness of people towards the native species of the area, and it also hosts an aquarium and various school tours.

  • Watch the ferries go by – You could also just chill by the bayside and watch as the ferries go to and from Wellington Harbour to the various island around. Grab a few drinks and snacks and watch as the sun sets over the glittering sea.
  • Island Bay divers – You can learn how to scuba dive here, or if you already know how to, hire equipment and head out into the waters! They offer several other diving courses, at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

  • Empire cinema and eatery – This is a great place to spend an evening at, with a great cinema and eating joints available right next to each other. You can also try out some gelato and great coffee while you’re there!

History

The area has a rich history of tribal and European history attached to it. It used to be home to the Ngati Ira following the Te Atiawa occupation of the area. Several people from the Maori tribe also lived here at a point, signified by the presence of several carved wooden posts of the time, now displayed at Shorland Park. A famous battle took place on the Island Bay beach, which was documented by the famous ethnographer Elsdon Best.

Once the British entered the area, a lot of officers settled here and the area thrived for fishing purposes. Fishing boats still moor here and land their catch near the Bait House, which now houses the Island Bay Marine Education Centre.

How To Reach Island Bay

There are multiple ways in which you can reach Island Bay. These are:
  • Bus – This is the cheapest and most convenient way of getting to Island Bay. The bus line 1 of the public transport system operates in the area. There are plenty of bus stops near the tourist spots and landmarks in the area.
  • Car – If you plan on driving down to Island Bay, there is plenty of parking space available  around the area, most of which is open throughout the day. Some of them might be paid, otherwise you can park on the street.
  • Taxi – This is a slightly pricier option, albeit very convenient. There are various taxi operators that function in the city. You could either hail a taxi from the street, or order one via apps such as Uber. An Uber ride from Central Wellington to Island Bay will cost around NZD 15 to 20.

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