Capital cool

Situated within vast and picturesque Wellington Harbour, Wellington is not just New Zealand’s capital city; it also might be its coolest. From craft breweries to world-class coffee and wine, plus some of the best seafood you’ll eat, it’s a bucket list destination for a reason. And it’s not just about the food and drink; the museums and galleries are first-rate, and the natural landscape is truly a wonder. It is also the perfect destination for kids – wait to see their eyes light up (and yours) when they first see a kiwi bird.

  • Hotel
  • Foursquare

What to do and see in Wellington

Craft breweries are a big deal in Wellington, and even though you’re spoilt for choice, make sure you stop into Boneface Brewing Co in Upper Hutt – drinking delicious beer overlooked by the tanks from which it came is a welcoming way to envelope yourself in contemporary Wellington. Little Beer Quarter is another must – discreetly tucked down an alleyway, it’s worth the hunt to try some of New Zealand’s most interesting craft beers.

To learn why New Zealand coffee culture is so world-renowned, check out the cafés. Grab a flat white from Customs by Coffee Supreme in the town centre to experience coffee at its most considered. A few minutes’ walk away is Prefab, where they roast the beans onsite and serve up Antipodean delights like smashed avocado on rye, and even wine, should the mood strike you. But if soaking up all that gorgeous sea air is more your bag, hop over to Lyall Bay to drink your morning brew at Maranui Café, situated upstairs from the Maranui Surf Life Saving Club. Overlooking the silvery sands, the interior is all surfboards and rustic miscellany – you really couldn’t be anywhere else in the world.

Over in Brooklyn, Salty Pidgin is one of the city’s hottest restaurants, and with good reason. The menu ranges from spiced chicken with tahini to freshly shucked oysters. Back in the city, Ortega Fish Shack specialises in New Zealand seafood, and Noble Rot serves some of the most interesting wines around, selected by an award-winning sommelier.
If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, then consider a guided tour of Weta Studio. Or perhaps viewing a colossal squid is more your thing? Then the most visited museum in Australasia, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, is the place to go. Collections cover everything from Taonga Maori and Pacific cultures to botany and zoology. The Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt will sort out any fine art cravings, with performance, painting and photography on show at any given time.

If you need some nature in your life, Wellington has it in spades: wander around the fairy-tale-like Wellington Botanic Garden, or take a stunning drive out to Staglands Wildlife Reserve to see all the flora and fauna you could wish for. And for an exhilarating after dark experience, go on a night walk spotting kiwi birds amongst the shrubbery under the soft, shimmering light of glow-worms at Zealandia in Karori. It is a ground-breaking urban eco sanctuary and conservation project that has reintroduced 18 species of native wildlife back into the area.

Featured Wellington Articles

Share this Guide to Wellington