Not sure I could live there (due to it’s size, weather and job market) but I do love visiting the capital. Perfect for weekend breaks, easy to get to and can see pretty much everything without requiring a car, a real novelty in New Zealand. I’ve spent a fair bit of time there exploring the place and visiting friends, here are some of my favourites…
Somes Island and Days Bay
The Wellington version of Tiritiri Matangi, a pest free island in the harbour, beautiful spot. Only 20 mins from downtown Wellington by ferry, bonus points for the views of the city from the water, and after exploring the island catch the next ferry over to Days Bay for a lovely beach and good cafes.
Auckland is getting pretty close but its still hard to beat the Wellington cafe scene. Love that many of them are open into the evenings without having to turn themselves into bistros, particularly on Cuba Street. Every time I visit I try to get to Maranui out toward the airport, and Fidels, Midnight Expresso and Expresoholic on Cuba Street.
Definitely make the trip out to Miramar to visit the home of Weta Workshop. Little pricey but worth doing the tour around the studios to see the huge range of props and models they’ve built for all your favourite films. Of course being Wellington you’re not far from a good cafe, in this case The Larder would be my pick.
Tour of Parliament
Sadly you don’t get to go in the Beehive but the free tours of Parliament House and the Parliamentary Library buildings are excellent nonetheless. Knowledgeable guides explain how parliament works and the history of the buildings.
Old Government Building
Not obvious from the outside but this is the second largest wooden building in the world (after a pretty epic temple in Nara, Japan). There’s a room set aside with a bit of history about the place, worth a quick visit.
One of the best views in Wellington, out over the city and toward the airport, the reward for a good walk up through the City Belt.
Old St Paul’s Cathedral
The most beautiful church interior in the New Zealand, a special place.
Pest free slice of New Zealand as it once was, full of birdsong and native bush. Nice place for a wander around, exploring by the reservoir and up the hillside.
Wellington is blessed with the City Belt, forest and park land stretching from the CBD down to the South Coast. The Southern Walkway is a 11km track from Oriental Bay via Mt Alfred, Mt Albert and Truby King House to Island and Houghton Bays, with lovey views along the way.
Arty Bee Books
Tough competition from Jason’s Books and Unity Books in Auckland but this is my favourite bookshop in New Zealand. Huge collection of second hand books, and open till 9pm Friday and Saturday nights. Usually a major contributor to my luggage allowance returning home.