NeedaBreak’s top 10 Wellington must-dos breaks the back of this snappy little city, and will help you feel like a local in no time.
1. Wellington Cable Car
Ok, so while not really an insider’s tip, what a Wellington Cable Car ride will do is give you a birds’ eye view of the city, and provide you five stops to jump on or off and explore the city. Not just a tourist attraction, the cable car (or furnicular railway, if you want to get technical) is also a legitimate mode of transport for those living above the city. It runs every 10 minutes between 7am-10pm daily between Lambton Quay and Kelburn. All aboard!
2. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa
Do not overlook this incredible museum. This much-beloved museum’s collections house pieces that have, or may have, national significance in New Zealand. The incredibly diverse collection of long-term exhibitions will keep you busy for the day, and better yet, entry is free.
3. Sunset at Mount Victoria
Get a glimpse of those long white clouds from the majestic heights of Mount Victoria, offering 360 degree views over Wellington. Lord it above the city, watch the boats come and go and the twilight arrive while you enjoy a picnic of fine local food and NZ wine.
Film fans not content with a visit to Hobbiton can further sate their movie desires at the Weta Cave and Workshop, with true behind-the-scenes access to costumes, props, processes and designs. See artists at work and meet a Weta Workshop crew member, who will give you a first-hand perspective of creating creatures for Weta.
5. Cuba Street laneways
Don’t have a plan? Head down with a need for caffeine and a feed and pull up a pew at any one of the original, quirky, cultured or crafty cafes, bars, bistros or restaurants. Don’t be daunted by the choice – with three meals a day, plus snacks and breaks, you have the freedom to try a few.
Plus, there are op shops, pop-up shops, public art, playgrounds and mixed-up architecture in between to help you work up an appetite. Come back after dark for drinks and dinner. Stay at the Quality Hotel Wellington a short stroll away.
Featuring quotes from 23 poems, novels, and plays in concrete or metal and timber, these typographical sculptures dot the waterfront and create a new sense of connection between the reader, the writer and the city.
Immerse yourself in nature at Zelandia Ecosanctuary and learn about its vision to return the area to pre-human conditions. This world-first eco-sanctuary is a blissful oasis of birdsong and forest, and has been successful in reintroducing a number of vulnerable species. If you want to stay in similar, park-like surrounds, try accommodation at the Quality Inn Angus, amongst manicured gardens.
8. Wellington Gardens
Wellington New Zealand is home to four diverse gardens well worth exploring. Take the cable car up to the Botanic Gardens. Enjoy the native flora at Otari Native Botanic Gardens. Wander through Wellington’s oldest cemetary on Bolton Street, or stroll the grounds of heritage-listed Truby King Park.
9. Wellington Fine Food and Dining
Wellington is New Zealand’s cultural capital, with an abundance of exceptional restaurants and bars. Make sure you set aside at least one meal to experience the best of the best or some well acclaimed restaurants such as Hippopotamus Restaurant and Cocktail Bar, Logan Brown, Martin Bosley’s, Ortega Fish Shack and Bar, and The Larder, just to name a few.
10. Wellington Markets
Along with three incredible fresh produce markets, Wellington also has two weekend markets that are not to be missed. The Wellington Underground Market (Saturdays, 10am-4pm) is the place to pick up an authentic souvenir from a local maker, crafter or designer, and enjoy amazing food, coffee and live music.
If you want to kick on with the market vibe, the Wellington Night Market (Fridays and Saturdays, 5pm-11pm) will entertain with a variety of street performers, buskers, stalls and foods. Head to the Left Bank off Cuba Street.
Wellington New Zealand has been quietly and confidently making a name for itself, and is turning the heads of international travel magazines, blogs and guides. Without flashiness or pretention, Wellington has developed its reputation for cool simply by doing its own thing.
The Comfort Hotel Wellington is one of the most striking buildings in Wellington. Its creamy façade highlighted by ornate red window frames oozes 1900s Edwardian elegance, while inside, heritage features mix with modern comforts. What’s more, it’s close to the Cuba Street precinct.