It’s no secret that the Kiwi capital has been making waves on the international travel scene – it was only a few years ago that Vogue dubbed Wellington the coolest little city in the world. With everything in walking distance, downtown Wellington is an eclectic blend of big city life on a small scale. Galleries are dotted throughout the city, the picturesque waterfront is famed for its public art, coffee culture is strong, and the culinary offering is next level. There is something for everyone, and it’s all steps away from Travelodge Hotel Wellington. Check out our top tips for a great weekend in Wellington!
First things first – when you go to Wellington, you won’t go hungry. The city lives for food, and it's said there are more restaurants per capita in Wellington than New York City. Wellingtonians are obsessed with Malaysian food, and the thriving Malay community are happy to oblige with tasty treats. The city centre is teeming with great Malaysian restaurants, but a visit to the original KK Malaysian is a must. Head to the legendary Oretga Fish Shack for some fresh Kiwi seafood in a stylish yet cosy setting, or 1154 Pastaria for some locally-sourced handmade pasta. If you’re feeling unsure of what you want, go straight to Hannah’s Laneway. This funky precinct is buzzing with restaurants, from a pizzeria to a peanut butter specialist to a sustainable bistro.
The Coffee Connoisseur
If you love coffee, you’ll love Wellington. Coffee is the only thing Wellingtonians take more seriously than creativity. Fancy a late night coffee? Check out Midnight Espresso, a local staple that serves coffee and cake until 2am. Feeling like sipping fresh brew in an exciting bustle? Look no further than The Hangar, which offers coffee made with ethically sourced beans and a sampling platter of all the blends on offer. For the archetypical Wellington café experience, a visit to Coffee Supremes’ Customs is a must. Not only do they specialise in fresh donuts, but they serve coffee and food in an effortlessly stylish setting.
The Art Lover
Art interweaves with Wellington seamlessly, offering art loving visitors an abundance of options to explore creative expression. Start with the city’s streets – Cuba Mall is famed for buskers and a walk along the waterfront offers world-class public art and iconic sculptures (see photo below). The city offers an endless range of art galleries, including the celebrated City Gallery Wellington, the contemporary Bartley + Company Art and the Robert Heald Gallery for some Kiwi flair. For music and theatre, see what’s on at Wellington’s best live performance spaces: the Circa Theatre offers an eclectic range of plays and shows; Bats Theatre has an underground, experimental edge; and San Fran and Meow and the two of the go-to places for live music.
Forget chain stores and cookie-cutter shops! Shopping in Wellington is like everything else in this progressive city – it’s unique, it’s one-of-a-kind, and it celebrates the cities innate alternative nature. Cuba Mall is the first place to start for a slice of bohemia. Head to the Old Bank Arcade for local designer boutiques houses in a historic arcade. Film buffs should head to the Weta Cave, which is the shop at the Oscar-winning Weta Workshop that features one-of-a-kind film characters. Finally, a shopping trip to Wellington would be incomplete without discovering the city’s markets. There’s the food haven that is the Wellington Night Markets, the art/design focused Underground Market, the picturesque setting of the Harbourside Market and the fresh, local produce of the Thorndon Farmers’ Market. Check out the city’s best markets here.
The History Buff
The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is a revered “living museum” that allows visitors to engage with the past with inspired exhibits. The museum is a sensory journey of the past, the present and the future, with a remarkable permanent collection that features historical Maori and colonial artefacts as well as a fascinating range of contemporary exhibits. You’re also able to visit New Zealand parliament on free daily tours (and watch if its in session!), exploring the grand heritage building as well as getting up close and personal with the iconic Beehive.