Carlucci Land, the industrial fantasy playground of Wellington

One of the many aspects I love about Wellington is the amount of weird, wacky, and random things to be found in the oddest locations.

I don’t remember when exactly I heard about Carlucci Land, but I knew as soon as I did that I needed to make a trip there pronto. Carlucci Land easily looks like something out of the movie Hook, a playground for adults and kids alike. There’s mini golf, paintball, a barbecue area, and a sculpture garden made from junkyard treasures.

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I invited my closest friends to go on an adventure to find this place, and we discovered the journey to get there (without a car) was the long way around, but also a stunningly beautiful part of Wellington that I hadn’t been to previously.

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By now I should really not be surprised when I come across untouched beauty in New Zealand, it’s kind of a given.

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We took the bus to Kingston, and after grabbing some meat pies from the little dairy in sight, we realzied we had to walk through a hiking trail to get to our destination.

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I’m always down for a good hike, so I was happy to have stumbled across an unexpected trail that would end up giving me one of the very best views of Wellington I’ve found since living here.

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Carlucci Land describes itself as an industrial sculpture fantasy land, and I’d say that sums it up quite nicely. The main attraction offered is the mini golf. The whole course was made by hand with old junkyard items, the ingenuity found at some of the holes was astounding.

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Carlucci Land was started by Carl Gifford, a local Wellington resident, who started out as a mechanic and eventually became a sculpture artist, known for his love of the environment and fondness for using recycled materials.

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The place covers a large amount of acreage on the side of a hill, it’s easy to get lost in the creative wonderland and nature that surrounds it. We didn’t make it up to the paintball area, because we didn’t realize you had to book a day in advance.

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The mini golf costs $12 for adults and $7 for kids, and you can even play after hours in the dark if you call and ask them to turn on the lights.

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I don’t know if it was just the frigid overcast day on which we went, or if it just happens to be the general vibe of the place, but it had a slightly creepy and abandoned feeling to it, especially once you started walked through the sculpture garden.

I genuinely enjoyed how creative the thought process behind the artwork was, but I also kept thinking how perfect some pieces and areas would fit into a Texas Chainsaw type scenario.

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However, I think that’s all supposed to be part of the charm of such a random and unique place as Carlucci Land.

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After we were done with mini golf and the sculpture garden, we took off down Happy Valley Road towards the sea and grabbed lunch around Owhiro Bay. We recounted the awesome treasure trove we  found at Carlucci Land, and made plans to come back soon for paintball as we sipped our hot drinks and warmed up in the little cafe.

These are the adventures that keep me traveling, a little off the radar, a little wacky and random, and a whole lot of awesome.

 

Mimi McFadden
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Mimi McFadden

Travel Writer/Blogger at The Atlas Heart
Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
Mimi McFadden
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