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The coves and steep cliffs of New Zealand's Miramar Peninsula may have been director Peter Jackson's muse for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. But for native rugby star Tim Bateman, the area is a favourite cycling spot for his family. 'It's flat all the way around so we bike around the peninsula,' says Bateman, 26, captain of the Maori All Blacks, who was in Canada recently to play exhibition games in Toronto and Vancouver. 'It's really cool with nice little fishing spots and golden beaches. And there's lots of them, so it's quite easy to get your own little bay.' Here Bateman, who also plays midfield back for the Wellington Hurricanes, shares with Karan Smith some of his (and his kids') favourite spots in the city.

1. Te Papa Tongarewa

Tourism New Zealand


“Te Papa is a really cool place. My daughters just love it. It’s called the Museum of New Zealand and it’s got all sorts of stuff: Maori traditions, sculptures, and life-size stuffed animals. It’s just a big discovery place. Kids can do treasure hunts. They’ve got a big whale’s heart replica that kids can play inside. They have music and a little room where you can play ukulele and drum.”

2. Chow

Chow Restaurant

“I’d recommend Chow on Tory Street in town for dinner. It’s Asian fusion, smaller dishes, so you get a few and share. It’s really popular. It’s probably my favourite place to eat out in Wellington. Nice setting, nice lighting. It doesn’t look like much from the road, but you get in and it’s a cool little place.”

3. Wellington Cable Car

“I’d recommend going up the cable car, especially on a nice day. At the top there’s a café, botanical gardens and beautiful views of the whole city. There’s also a planetarium. I’ve done it with my daughters. They love going up there.”

4. Scorch-O-Rama


“I would definitely send them to Scorching Bay on the east side of Wellington. The restaurant is called Scorch-O-Rama. It’s more of a lunch or coffee place. You sit along the water. There are tables literally on the beach. The café is on the other side of the road, but the waiters come over the road to the tables – there are very few cars driving past. It’s a good spot.”

5. Red Rocks Reserve

“Red Rocks is on the south coast. It’s a nice drive right around the peninsula. You can see the South Island and the ferry coming across. It has a rough and coast-y feel to it, and on a clear day you can see the Kaikoura Mountain Range. There’s good fishing and diving around that way and you can see seals, too. Most people come to the airport and go north. The south coast is missed.”