Wellington. The city where we kind of felt at home, the city that is just big enough to stay small. In our previous blogs we took you to Copenhagen and Hamburg, in this blog we present you our ten favourite things to do in Wellington. Let’s make your trip to New Zealand one not to forget and meet the coolest little capital in the world!
There are different ways to get from one side of the city to the other, but the best option is a walk along Wellington’s Waterfront. From the Te Papa museum in the direction of the business district, you will pass cheerful pop-up container shops and nice restaurants. In the morning you see the working crowd walk to the office, in the afternoon you will find tourists and other Wellingtonians. You can sit by the water and watch the sun reflect on the water while overlooking the bays and the other side of the city. It is during the Waterfront Walk that the wind causes worries to disappear and people to calm down.
A must-do during a visit to Wellington is to visit the Mount Victoria Lookout. The lookout is easy to reach from the city by car, but there are also several hiking trails from the inner city through the pine forests up towards the viewpoint. A final option is bus number 20 from the city that will take you directly to the top of Mount Vic. Once at the top you have a 360-degree view of the entire city and its surroundings.
Wellingtonians love their coffee and every opportunity is taken to score a delicious cappuccino somewhere. At the coffee shop Customs Coffee you can imagine yourself back in the '70s and at Prefab the beans are roasted in your own shop. In addition to fine coffee spots, Wellington is also known for its huge selection of restaurants and places for lunch. Wellington has relatively more restaurants and cafes like New York and there is something for everyone. Hundreds of cool spots for your lunch! For example, in the centre you can eat delicious lunch at Fidel's and Enigma, in alternative Newtown you can go for the tastiest smoothies and vegetarian dishes at Baobab and when you want to have lunch at the waterfront in Petone you make a stop at the crazy Seashore Cabaret where pinball machines are waiting for you. You take Instagram photos of your lunch at Comes and Goes and you see planes taking off during your lunch on the outside terrace at Spruce Goose.
If you like road trips, the bays of Wellington are very inspiring for a nice ride! A drive on the Round the Bays takes you past Wellingtons many bays and beaches. Starting at Oriental Bay, the beach closest to the centre, you can relax on the beach and enjoy the sun. A little further you will find Scorching Bay, according to many the most beautiful beach in Wellington and ideal for a picnic or lunch at the amazing Scorch-O-Rama. Driving further you will arrive at Days Bay and Eastbourne. In Days Bay you can visit art galleries, take a nature walk and see the fishermen at work on the long jetty. Further south you will find Lyall Bay, a wonderful beach, quieter than the urban Oriental Bay and many surfers also come to this spot to dance with the waves. You arrive at our favourite bay called Island Bay, south of Wellington. Here you can see the sun slowly sink into the water with the sky turning in its most stunning colours.
The Botanical Gardens are worth a visit anyway, but even more so in January. In addition to the special flora & fauna in this garden, the Gardens Magic summer concerts are taking place this month. For three weeks, the garden is transformed into a beautiful fairy-tale forest with the most colourful lighting effects. Visitors take their rugs and meals, settle down on the grass with their friends and watch some live music. Tip: in the dark you can find many glow worms in the park. Be sure to walk around the garden once the music is over!
Few museums are as inspiring and enriching as the Te Papa museum in the city centre. It's free for everyone. In the museum, you will get to know New Zealand through and through, from the rich Maori history to its flora & fauna and how the country works geologically. Impressive is the gigantic stuffed octopus and the animation where you can experience what an earthquake feels like. Make sure you block a few hours because there is a lot to see!
Wellington and the Burgundian life go well together. The city has hundreds of cafes and a few good places to enjoy live music. One of our favourite places is the Rogue and Vagabond where you can find live music every day of the week. You can opt for an evening of soul, singer-songwriter, blues and/or jazz. The atmosphere is lovely and in nice weather the bean bags go outside for a relaxing session on the grass. The beer menu changes every day, keeping your taste buds sharp. For the best rooftop bar you go to the now secret Dirty Little Secret and for the best-salted caramel rum cocktail you walk in at C.G.R. Merchant & Co. You score two-for-one cocktails on Wednesday night at The Library, where the walls are filled with books. If you want you can take one with you to read, as long as you bring it back. For the more alternative concerts you visit Meow, for drinks after work Goldings is a good option and for an evening of shameless dancing you choose a random tent on Courtney's Place or Cuba Street.
Newtown is a nice neighbourhood just outside the centre of Wellington and a warm home for many hipsters and artists. Newtown is the place if you like vintage shopping. Here you will find one second-hand business after another and you can buy a completely new outfit for a few dollars. Garage sales are also regularly found here where people sell their things from the garage. A nice way to meet people and to get to know this neighbourhood.
Besides rugby, cricket is one of the most important sports in New Zealand. The Basin Reserve is the place to meet other Wellingtonians in the summer months and attend a popular Black Caps competition. The atmosphere here is very nice. Many Wellingtonians can be found in the basin on competition days on the grass along the side with an esky full of cold drinks and snacks. Cricket is a tricky sport to understand, but every New Zealander will like to explain the basic rules to you. When you have a little idea how the game works, it is even fun to watch!
When the city just gets too much, there is always the possibility to take a walk in nature. There is the Red Rock Coastal Walk at Owhiro Bay, an easy track that you can complete in 2-3 hours. You walk along the coast and see seals sunbaking lying on the most beautiful rock formations. To the west of the city there is the Makara Walkway, a 6 kilometre round through New Zealand landscapes. A final recommendation would be to take the ferry to Eastbourne, from where you can walk a track through the beautiful nature to the lighthouse and back.
Wellington has a lot to offer and is a must visit city for everyone. If you’re still not convinced...please have a look at this. New Zeand at its best. Enjoy!