Dubbed ‘the coolest little capital in the world’ by Lonely Planet, Wellington City is charismatic, quirky and home to some of the best food and wine in the country. We love Wellington, so we’ve put together this blog on what our favourite capital city is all about. Read on for our top picks on where to go, what to see and the best places to indulge your taste buds.
Nestled between rolling green hills and a sparkling harbour, Wellington is geographically spectacular. Charming, bungalow-style houses tumble down from steep streets, while just down the road the business district and government buildings form the economic powerhouse of New Zealand. A few minutes from the city lies Oriental Bay – a sparkling, white sand beach that’s the perfect spot for a swim in summer. And then there’s the food. Tucked between the premier wine producing spots of Wairarapa and the Hawke’s Bay, it’s easy to understand why Wellingtonians are so passionate about delicious dining and wine. Stroll Wellington’s inner city streets to discover secret cafes, the scent of freshly roasted coffee and a colourful, energetic culture.
No visit to Wellington is complete without a stroll down Cuba Street. This colourful area of the city is home to a melting pot of buskers, world-class restaurants and art galleries. Its loveable bohemian vibe, classy cocktail bars and community exhibitions make Cuba Street an experience in itself. Although the street was named after an early settler’s ship, not the island country in the Caribbean - the relaxed and bright atmosphere definitely has elements of Caribbean appeal. Discover a fusion of Cuban-sourced beans and kiwi hospitality at Fidel’s Coffee, or indulge in tapas and cocktails at Havana, just around the corner. Day or night, visitors love the diversity, energy and life of Cuba Street.
Distinctive and fascinating, Wellington’s parliament buildings are well worth a look. Parliament house, the Parliamentary library and the Beehive buildings are all built in an Edwardian, neo-classical style and form the meeting place for New Zealand’s government ministers. The Beehive itself is perhaps the most unique in terms of style – shaped like a traditional form of beehive, known as a ‘skep’, the Beehive’s circular footprint is one of its most elegant design features. Located in the central and historic suburb of Thorndon, near the city, the Parliament buildings are easily accessible to stroll and explore.
Said to have more bars and restaurants per capita than New York, Wellington City is paradise for lovers of delicious dining experiences – and, in and around the city street of Courtenay Place, visitors will find these in abundance. The city’s entertainment and theatre district converges around this area, resulting in plenty of world-class restaurants and charming, boutique bars. Lovers of craft beers could start with a visit to Malthouse, where connoisseurs’ will delight in their range of new and rare beers, before enjoying an indulgent dinner out at Dragonfly or The Tasting Room.
If you’re lucky enough to have a little more time up your sleeve, visit Mount Victoria for stunning views of the city and beyond, wander the waterfront to sparkling Oriental Bay or enjoy one of the many impromptu busking performances in and around Cuba Street.
Wellington with MoaTrek
The coolest little capital in the world is a destination that’s not to be missed on any visit to New Zealand. We love our energetic capital city, and that’s why we’ve made it a part of many of our Small Group New Zealand tours. Check in to your inner-city, boutique accommodation before enjoying late afternoon and evening to explore the cultural heart of New Zealand. Soak up the magic of Cuba Street and the Parliament buildings before indulging your taste buds with drinks and dinner at one of the many world-class restaurants. Our small group tours incorporate New Zealand’s must-see destinations like Milford Sound, Queenstown and Rotorua with exclusive lunches with local kiwis, quality accommodation and delicious food and wine experiences. Sound appealing? Find out more about our tours here, or get a free brochure now.