Wellington's Wicked in the Wintertime

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NEW ZEALAND: You’ve got to love a city that calls its Parliament House the Beehive, has a funky Cuban quarter, and boasts a fountain of buckets (that featured in the TV show Wellington Paranormal). What can we say? New Zealand’s capital city is nothing if not eclectic.

Wellington is framed by rugged mountains and dramatic hills sweeping down to the water. And, within minutes, you could be enjoying a huge range of outdoor pursuits, while the city itself is perfect for wandering in, with lots of quirky spaces, colourful street art and interesting laneways.

Let’s not beat around the bush, however. Wellington can get cold. Very cold. And windy and wet. Yet it’s a great place to visit in winter. Why? Because it punches weigh beyond its weight in restaurants, cafés, bars, museums and artistic pursuits -- perfect places to escape to when it gets chilly.

From the fine dining Hiakai restaurant, where Monique Fiso explores indigenous foods in boundary-pushing dishes, to buzzing casual venues doing great seafood, meat-free, Asian fusion and other cuisines, Wellington is blessed with an extraordinary choice of places to eat.

It’s also the country’s craft beer capital, with welcoming taprooms like Heyday Beer Co, Fortune Flavours and Garage Project’s Aro, the latter in a formerly derelict service station. Wellington hosts New Zealand’s biggest beer festival, Beervana, at Sky Stadium (August 13-14 this year). The stadium is also home to some of New Zealand’s best sporting events. If you’re lucky, your visit might coincide with an All Blacks, Black Caps or Super Rugby test match.

If cocktails are more your thing, check out the Arborist, a spectacular rooftop bar. For wine, Noble Rot Wine Bar has one of the largest selections in New Zealand, with more than 500 to choose from, including more than 80 by the glass. Kiwis are as mad about their coffee as they are about craft beer, and one place that combines the two is Choice Bros Brewing, where an alleyway of fairy lights leads you to the on-site brewery and taproom.

It’s fun to get lost in places like the Hannahs Laneway precinct, picking up goodies from Wellington Chocolate Factory and Fix & Fogg peanut butter along the way. You’ll find lots of places to eat and drink in Courtenay Place and Cuba Street, where the cafés sit alongside vintage stores, buskers and all manner of weird and wonderful.

Wellington is also epic for shopping, including for designer fashion, with boutiques featuring some incredibly talented local designers. And, with your new found wardrobe, why not take a stroll along the waterfront before catching the bright red cable car up the hill for amazing views of the city for the most stylish of Instagram pics.

If the weather turns sour, and even if it doesn’t, immerse yourself in Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum. Te Papa Tongarewa translates as “container of treasures” and that’s exactly what this museum is. Entry is free and you could easily spend a whole day here.

Where To Stay

Kickstart your stay with a workout in the gym at the Travelodge Hotel Wellington, followed by coffee in the hotel breakfast room with its sweeping city views. This keenly priced hotel is a short stroll to funky cafés, great shopping and Wellington harbour. The cable car and Te Papa are also within easy reach. 

Peace of mind when you stay with us: Introducing Clean Touch.

*Activities listed may be subject to Covid restrictions.

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