"Miramar" means "behold the sea" or "wonderful sea" in Spanish and was named by the first settler on Watt's Peninsula area, James Coutts Crawford, who arrived in Wellington in 1840.
The suburb is known for its film industry. Film director Sir Peter Jackson and his colleagues Sir Richard Taylor and Jamie Selkirk have built a series of multi-million dollar studios, sound stages and pre- and post-production facilities in Miramar. Miramar has been hailed by Mexican film director Guillermo del Toro as "Hollywood the way God intended it".
Miramar is home to six primary schools, the Miramar Rangers soccer club and a wide range of eating establishments including the popular Mexican taqueria "La Boca Loca" and the award-winning Cafe Polo and The Larder.
In March 2011, the old Capitol theatre on Park Road was completely refurbished and reopened as 'The Roxy'. The interior is art deco inspired and was designed and created by a team from Weta Workshop.
The precise origin of the name 'Moa Point' is uncertain, but it seems likely that moa bones were discovered near the sand hills of Lyall Bay. Now the rocky bay is home to a small settlement of houses with great views of the Kaikoura Ranges on a clear day and aircraft landing into those brisk northerlies.
The suburb contains a 600 m wide bay of the same name and is part of the western shore of the Wellington Harbour. The Eastern Walkway runs along the top of the Bay and has views of the area.
It is mostly well known for being the location of Wellington's only clothing optional beach, which is shared by naturists and clothed people alike. Families tend to congregate at the end nearest to the road and past the hole in the rock (to the middle of the beach).
Breaker Bay is served by a commuter bus (No 30) running on weekdays to the city in the mornings and to the bay in the afternoons. The Breaker Bay Hall is available for hire.
Scorching Bay provides the finest sandy, swimming beach in Wellington. Set against a backdrop of regenerating native forest, looking out to the Pencarrow Coast and overlooked by Fort Ballance to the north, it provides a carpark, the Scorcherama café, picnic areas, children's playground, toilets and changing rooms.
Maupuia may well be the most sun drenched suburb in Wellington and without doubt an excellent place to watch the sun go down. Located left up Maupuia Road as you first enter Miramar, the quiet suburb is a great place for a walk or some plane spotting. The Maupuia Walkway is a wide and sociable walk with broad views over Evans Bay and the planes visiting Wellington airport. Parking is at either end in Prison Road or Akaroa drive.
Strathmore Park sits at the southern end of Miramar Peninsula and boasts some of the best views towards the South Island.
The Strathmore shops offer a great butchery, barber shop, Hells Pizza and two café's - the Strathmore Cake Kitchen and Gipsy Kitchen. The Strathmore Local is a garden bar and restaurant and holds weekly quiz nights.
The suburb has become increasingly sought after for its solid ex State houses, all day sun and excellent educational services. Scots College, Strathmore Community School, Strathmore Kindergarten and Peninsula Preschool all reside in Strathmore Park. For more detail about these, check out the directory.
Seatoun was developed by James Coutts Crawford in 1879, and the name originates from a place in Forfarshire (UK) which was owned by the Crawford family. The Seatoun Tunnel (1906 -07) provided a land link to Seatoun, which was formerly reached by boat only.
The Wahine Park Memorial is located in Seatoun. The Wahine disaster occurred on 10 April 1968. On that day the TEV Wahine, a New Zealand inter-island ferry of the Union Company, foundered on Barrett Reef at the entrance to Wellington Harbour and capsized near Steeple Rock. Of the 610 passengers and 123 crew on board, 53 people died. The Wahine Memorial Park marks an area near where the survivors reached the shore at Seatoun, and includes a memorial plaque, the ship's anchor and chain, and replica ventilation pipes. A children's playground is also part of the commemorative park.
East by West run a daily ferry service from the Seatoun wharf to Wellington city and Eastbourne. More information about this in the directory.
Karaka Bay sits between Worser Bay and Scorching Bay at the northern end of the Peninsula's coast road. The bay is a great place to spot dolphins, orcas, fur seals and take in the shipping and ferry traffic coming in the entrance to Wellington's harbour.
Worser Bay is home to the Worser Bay Sailing Club and Life Saving Club. The beach is an excellent safe swimming beach and very popular in the summer. During winter months the beach is dog friendly and in summer before 9am and after 7pm.
The former Air Force Base at Shelly Bay was once a Te Ati Awa village called Maru-Kai-Kuru. The village was situated at the north end of Shelly Bay and was connected to other settlements on the western side of the Peninsula. Settlement of this site dates back from the earlier migration (heke) from Taranaki when Maru-Kai-Kuru was populated by the Ngati Mutunga kin of Te Ati Awa.
In the 1890s a naval volunteer reserve unit was established at Shelly Bay to carry out mine laying operations. Today, you can catch the afternoon sun at Shelly Bay while enjoying barbequed fish from the Chocolate Fish Café, a picnic under the seaside trees, viewing contemporary art or accessing the Massey Memorial from one of the many bush trails.
The great Maori explorer, Kupe, is credited as the first person to discover Aotearoa (New Zealand), and also the first person to land on what became the Miramar Peninsula.
Kupe's descendent, Whatonga, captained the Kurahaupo waka and settled in Whanganui a Tara ('the great harbour of Tara) early in the 12th Century. European settlers began arriving in Wellington in the early 1840s and by the end of that decade James Coutts Crawford and others had purchased much of the Peninsula's land.
By the early 1850s, most indigenous vegetation had been cleared and by the 1890s almost all the Peninsula was farmland. By then the Peninsula was also a popular sporting resort with recreation grounds, a hunt club, polo field, golf links and trotting club.
In 1902, an auction of 132 residential sections attracted huge interest and signalled the beginning of urbanisation on the Peninsula. In 1904 the Miramar Borough Council was formed, the first electric tram reached the Peninsula in 1907, and the suburb was incorporated into the City of Wellington in 1921.
For several decades the area remained a family oriented, predominantly working class suburb with a strong manufacturing base. Today, many of the old industries have gone and the area is home to a number of internationally recognised, creative industries employing a work force from around the world.
The Miramar Peninsula is home to around 20,000 people and sits at the south-eastern edge of Wellington - the capital city of New Zealand. Its an area of rugged coastlines, sheltered bays, bushwalks as well as being the center of the film industry. All of those creative people like to eat, so the Peninsula offers some of the best coffee and dining experiences in the city.
The Peninsula is made up of a number of suburbs, each with its own unique character: Strathmore Park, Seatoun, Maupuia, Breaker Bay, Moa Point, Miramar, Shelly Bay, Scorching Bay, Karaka Bay.
The Peninsula sits close to Wellington International Airport and is well serviced with bus and ferry services into the city.
A wide range of excellent educational facilities are available on the Peninsula including the long standing Scots College, a private all boys school for Years 1-12 located in Strathmore and the Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Nga Mokopuna Kohanga Reo in Seatoun. For a full list of all early childhood centers, primary and secondary schools click here.
A great aspect about living on the Peninsula is not having to rely on the City to get things done. Whether you need garden supplies, gourmet sausages from the butcher, a panelbeater, camera repair, personal trainer, dog day care, hair cut or even to book a holiday... you can do it all in your own neighborhood. Check out our business directory to read about all the handy services on the Peninsula.