A person with a disco ball for a body flies through the air excitedly over a landscape of the Wellington Harbour.
Top 5: Iconic lifts in Te Whanganui-a-Tara
From stunning views to full-on glitter, here's a list of iconic lifts from windy, wonderful Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.
Top 5 Iconic Lifts Te Whanganui-a-TaraKrystle Field0:00|0:00
After reading Olivia’s Top 5 iconic lifts in Tāmaki Makaurau, I was inspired to put together a list for our windy, wonderful Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.
After speaking with some friends, it turns out Wellington has many loved and well-frequented lifts. This makes sense – we have a lot of buildings, hills, not great access and everyone who works or studies in the city has at least two options to quickly get between Lambton Quay and The Terrace.
Many of the people I spoke with had a soft spot for their workplace lifts; the Ministry of Justice lifts even got a shout-out in a leaving speech due to the cool nostalgic scenes of Wellington in the 1950s/60s displayed inside.
I have been ruthless at cutting this list down to just five - it was a very tight race for these top spots. While we may not have a rocket lift like Auckland, we do have the quirky and unique covered. I have left out the litany of dodgy, dangerous and foul-smelling lifts peppered about the city, as they don’t deserve to be mentioned.
5. Royal Society, Thorndon
This is now my favourite lift to touch, after a slightly awkward visit when I tried to explain to the friendly guy at the front desk that I was just there to see the lift and touch it.
The outside of the lift is covered in wool – it’s not clear if it is a piece of art or just a unique textural design statement. The wool is grey in appearance from far away but when you get up close it is short white tubes with a black dot at the end which gives the appearance of hundreds of eyes looking at you. It was also giving tentacle or coral reef vibes and was soft to the touch when you combed your fingers through it – a sensory delight!
Image description: A composition image of the Royal Society lift covered in wool, the massive lift at Moore Wilsons and the wooden framed 'ye olde posh' lift at the Old Bank Arcade.
4. Old Bank Arcade
This is the ye olde posh lift of Wellington. You feel like you’re stepping back in time to the days when the building was the head office for The Bank of New Zealand in the 1900s. This lift doesn’t travel far, is a tight squeeze and can be a bit tricky to find but it gets a mention due to the novelty factor.
It has wood-panelled interiors, brass handles and fixtures, a charming ‘bing’ noise and panel doors that look like the walls of a fancy posh house. It is a bit confronting to view the wire mesh cage on each side once you’re inside but luckily you don’t have far to travel between floors.
It’s worth a visit to the Old Bank regardless, it’s a beautiful building and the scent of the Lush store wafts past you as you make the important choice of where to purchase a coffee – Starbucks, Mojo or Smith The Grocer.
3. Moore Wilsons
Picture this – a lift large enough to swing your wheelchair, mobility aid, pram or trolley around with no problems, large buttons that are easy to push, windows to look out of as your view changes from bulk food to kitchenware and gifts…all while you take in the scent of freshly squeezed orange juice and hot coffee. I would go as far as saying this is the best-smelling lift in Wellington.
You’ll find this lift in high demand on a weekend morning as Wellingtonians get their foodie fix and restaurants stock up on supplies. Luckily there is a pleasant large foyer to wait in with a bench seat and often a cute dog available to pat.
Image description: A composition image of the glitter lift and black & white lifts at Naumi Hotel, and Te Papa glass lift with a view over Wellington Harbour.
2. Glass lift at Te Papa
This lift takes out the award for best view from a lift, especially on a sunny day. You can look out over the sparkling harbour and take in the beauty, you might even spot the ferry or a seal sunbathing on a hot day. This lift will take you to Rongomaraero – Te Papa’s marae, you’ll also hear te reo Māori audio for the floor-level announcements. Shoutout to Te Papa in general for having a number of accessibility options including guided tours, NZSL guides and the option to borrow earmuffs.
Honourable mention to another glass lift at Capital Quay which gives you epic views over Lambton Quay as you travel up to The Terrace. This lift is always super busy as it’s a popular way for people to get between the two streets.
1. Naumi Hotel
This Cuba St hotel had to take the top spot, especially as there are two very unique lifts. One lift is completely covered in silver sparkles, I refer to it as ‘the glitter lift’. This one takes you to floors decorated in black and white tartan carpet and jewel-toned walls. The second is an optical illusion with black and white stripes and patterns, transporting you to levels of maze-like striped hallways where it becomes a bit hard to make out which turn you need to take to get to your room.
The maximalist style of the whole hotel and beautiful art make it well worth a visit, even if you’re not staying. The New Zealand company responsible for the style and design were apparently given the brief of ‘no white’ which they nailed. Visiting the cosy Lola Rouge restaurant and bar gives you a great excuse to check it all out. I highly recommend the Invisible Rose cocktail which comes with a smoked bubble you get to pop.
What are some of the most iconic lifts in your neighbourhood? Let us know! Send us an email at email@example.com.