With its great coffee, fantastic art and stunning scenery, there’s a reason why Wellington is fondly referred to as the coolest little capital in the world. It’s a quirky, vibrant city and you’ll have no trouble filling your time with things to do. If you’re looking for a place that’s the perfect mix of relaxation and excitement, then Wellington is the ideal spot.
Places to stay in Wellington.
Wellington has many great hotels and Airbnbs. I’d recommend staying somewhere in the CBD; Wellington is a very walkable city so if you’re staying in the centre of town you can get by without a car.
One of my favourite hotels is the QT Wellington. I’ve stayed there twice, and both time it’s been amazing. The hotel has stunning art through the halls, and each of the room is beautifully decorated and comfortable.
The hotel is right across the road from Te Papa (New Zealand’s National Museum) and only and a short walk to the waterfront. Other great hotels in Wellington I’ve enjoyed include The Rydges and U Boutique Hotel.
Where to eat in Wellington
You definitely won’t go hungry while visiting Wellington. The city has so many stunning restaurants at a range of price points. Here are some of my favourites.
The Old Quarter
The Old Quarter serves delicious modern Vietnamese fusion. They have a range of sharing plates and some larger mains, all of which will make your taste buds extremely happy. My personal favourites include the Crying Tiger, Rare Beef Pho and the Prawn and Green Papaya salad.
They also do a $15 lunch special which is excellent value and just as delicious as their regular menu.
Dragonfly is known for its mouth-watering modern Asian menu. With a fantastic range of dishes you are sure to find something you love. After dinner head out to the courtyard and enjoy the cozy atmosphere with one of their fabulous cocktails.
I first went to Noble Rot for a degustation dinner with wine matches, and it was the first time the concept of pairing specific wine with food made sense to me. They opened in 2016 to bring an elevated food and wine experience to Wellington; this is precisely what they have done.
If you’re feeling fancy, I would highly recommend the degustation, but you’ll still have a fantastic experience if you order directly from their seasonal menu.
Shepherd is tucked away on Leeds Street in the middle of Wellington. They serve modern New Zealand cuisine, and nose-to-tail eating is part of their ethos. The restaurant is extremely popular, so make sure you book and don’t miss out of this outstanding dining experience.
If your looking for brunch ideas in Wellington check out my Top 5 Wellington Brunch Spots
Things to do in Wellington
Te Papa is New Zealand’s National Museum and is located right on the Wellington waterfront. They have a range of permanent exhibitions relating to the history of New Zealand and it’s a great place to learn more about the country. They also have temporary exhibits such as the World of WearableArt – Up Close, which is open until the 21st February 2021.
Wellington From All Angles
If you want to see Wellington in all it’s glory head to the top of Mount Victoria. You can start your walk near the end of Courtney Place and make your way through the bush passing by areas where they shot Lord of The Rings.
You’ll be rewarded once you reach the top, with a 360° view of Wellington and beyond. Take a different track back down the hill towards the ocean and enjoy a walk along Oriental Bay. Make sure you stop for a coffee or an ice cream at one of the many cafes and enjoy watching the world go by.
Street art and Cuba Street
If you like artwork, then look no further than the streets of Wellington. There is some stunning pieces located all around the city.
Start on Dixon street and wander down Egmont Street, which is a charming laneway featuring a spray-painted unicorn and candle store. Close by you’ll find Leeds Street which features Xoë Hall’s stunning Bowie mural. Next head over to Cuba Street where you’ll find the famous bucket fountain and plenty of unique stores to explore.
Matiu (Sommes Island) and Eastbourne
Full disclaimer I haven’t actually been to Matiu since I was a child, but I’ve heard great things and its definitely on my list for 2021. The Island is a predator-free scientific reserve with a range of walks you can enjoy.
You get to Matiu by catching the East By West Ferry. Once you’ve finished enjoying the Island, you can jump back on the Ferry and head over to Eastbourne. Eastbourne is a small village with cafe’s, art galleries, antiques and beaches.
Make sure you check the ferry timetable, only some of the trips stop off at Matiu.
Cocktail hour in Wellington
After a day of exploring nothing feels better than sitting back and enjoying a delicious drink. Head to one of the places and enjoy a delicious cocktail to end the night.
The Library is appropriately named after all the books that line the wall of the bar. It has an inmate cozy feel and it the perfect spot to relax after a long day. They have an excellent range of cocktails which they regularly update as well as a range of classics. Their desserts are also delicious if feeling peckish.
Hawthorn Lounge is a speakeasy-style cocktail lounge that will make you feel removed from the rest of the world. Choose from the excellent menu or have one of their talented bartenders mix you something special.
Crumpet is much less secluded that Hawthorn Lounge and The Library, which makes it the perfect spot to enjoy a drink and people watch. The cocktail bar is another one where the bartenders are so knowledgeable you can just tell them the type of flavours you like, and they’ll make you something great.
Hanging Ditch is another excellent place tucked away on Leeds Street. The bar is decorated with bottles hanging from the ceiling, and everywhere you look, there is another quirky detail. The cocktails match the decor with each one offering some unique and different.
Is Wellington the place for you?
With so much to see and do you won’t regret your trip to Wellington. The city has such a wonderful feeling, and I promise you’ll leave feeling inspired, relaxed and looking forward to when you can visit again.