Dubbed the 'riviera of the south', Oriental Bay is one of Wellington’s most popular seaside suburbs. Visitors heading to Wellington for a little rest and relaxation should make a beeline for the inner harbour oasis. With its prime location just minutes from the Wellington CBD and its impressive array of waterfront manors, Oriental Bay makes for an elegant beachside getaway.
Originally called 'Duppa' after George Duppa – a pioneer who founded the suburb and later renamed it Oriental Bay after the ship he arrived on – Oriental Bay wasn’t always the seaside sanctuary that it is today.
During the early years of European settlement, Oriental Bay was used as a quarantine station, a whale blubber boiling facility, for farming purposes and as the location of the enormous Te Aro Swimming Baths (later becoming the Freyberg Pool and Fitness Centre).
When the Oriental Bay Tea Kiosk was built in 1914, Oriental Bay became a fashionable suburb for recreational walking. Oriental Bay’s reputation as a fashionable outdoor retreat continued to grow with the installation of the Carter Fountain in 1973.
The Oriental Bay of today is a relaxing waterfront hideaway, a popular destination for fitness fanatics and the site where many of Wellington’s most exciting outdoor events are held. On a sunny day, expect to see a slew of Oriental Bay locals and visitors making the most of the turquoise waters, enjoying a game of beach volleyball, cycling along the seafront and gazing at the stunning views of Mount Victoria.
Those who enjoy a bit of exercise after a dip in the ocean can make the most of the Freyberg Pool and Fitness Centre along the bay, which includes a fitness centre, 33-metre long indoor pool, steam room and sauna.
Whatever you do, don’t miss an opportunity to spot the historic Carter Fountain, which sits 150 metres out in Wellington Harbour and spouts water 16 metres into the air. The fountain operates all throughout the week and streams water in select intervals from 7.30am until 10.30pm on weekdays, and from 8.30am until 11pm on weekends.