Wellington delights in quality food, offbeat design, and most of all, great coffee
Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand the features urban attractions that are worth a visit. Here's a 12-hour guide on exploring Wellington if you have the destination planned for your next travelling escapade.
Start as you mean to go on – with top-notch coffee. In a surf club building right on the beach, Maranui Café (maranuicafe.co.nz) is a classic of Kiwi café culture with its retro styling and hearty breakfasts. It’s worth the short taxi ride from the city centre for the views and vibe.
Back downtown, explore the alternative fashion boutiques and design stores of bohemian Cuba Street. Stop at the colourful Bucket Fountain (bucketfountain.co.nz) for a spot of people-watching.
Ready for more coffee? Head to the Cuban-revolution-inspired Fidel’s Café (fidelscafe.com) for a beatnik-y buzz. Look out for their chocolaty Afghan biscuits – a New Zealand home baking treat.
Shop at Moore Wilson’s Fresh (moorewilsons.co.nz), the ultimate foodies’ supermarket, for picnic lunch ingredients like artisanal bread and some of the best cheese New Zealand has to offer.
Go bush at Te Papa (tepapa.govt.nz), New Zealand’s national museum. When hunger strikes, head to Bush City, an outdoor exhibition complete with a limestone cave, to munch on your fresh picnic purchases. Admission is free.
Take a stroll along Wellington Waterfront (wellingtonwaterfront.co.nz), which doubles as a public art walk. Wax lyrical as you discover poetry sculpted in stone along the way.
Explore the Museum of Wellington City and Sea (museumswellington.org.nz), voted one of the world’s top 50 museums. Look out for quirky extras and hands-on fun, as well as plenty of Wellington harbourside history (free admission).
Eyeball two very different architectural styles at the New Zealand Parliament (parliament.nz) buildings. The intended second wing of the early 20th-century Parliament House was never built; instead, the evocatively named Beehive was added in its place in the 1970s. The grand wooden former Parliament buildings just across the road are also worth a look.
Head down Lambton Quay to the Old Bank Arcade (oldbank.co.nz) for a spot of retail therapy inside a magnificent historical building. Check out Andrea Moore, Workshop, Ricochet and Ruby for a taste of New Zealand fashion design. Stop for coffee at Smith the Grocer – you might find some edible souvenirs to take home as well.
Treat yourself to a luxury cocktail or two at the book-lined Library Bar (thelibrary.com.nz). The Lower Hutt Lemon Meringue includes vodka, lemon curd and an actual meringue.
Grab a table if you can at the no-reservation Sweet Mother’s Kitchen (sweetmotherskitchen.co.nz). The menu is New Orleans-influenced and the curly fries with Creole mayo are legendary.
Take a ride on the Wellington Cable Car (wellingtoncablecar.co.nz) and be rewarded with a new perspective on the city with panoramic city and harbour views from the top.