Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand, and home to the beehive - the parliament building of New Zealand. Famous for its arts and culture, it has a vibrant nightlife, scrumptious restaurants, and an enticing variety of shops.
Wellington was named the “coolest little capital in the world” by Lonely Planet in 2011 and once you spend a few days in this eclectic, captivating city you'll soon see why.
What to see and do in Wellington
Wellington has attractions for everyone, no matter what you're interested in. History buffs will want to visit the Treaty of Waitangi in Archives New Zealand, where you can learn all about one of the founding documents of New Zealand.
Visitors to Wellington should definitely visit Te Papa, which is the museum of New Zealand. The museum has extensive Maori artifacts, as well as many galleries and hands-on centers for kids. To really learn about the museum, take a private tour for an hour and then grab a coffee in one of its two cafés.
Take a ride on the Wellington Cable Car, which has been servicing Wellington for 110 years. The Cable Car museum at the top is free. Then you can walk back down the hill via the Botanic Garden with over 25 hectares of floral displays and native bush. Make sure you take a walk through the rose garden, and keep an eye out for the carving and sculptures scattered amongst the grounds.
If you're in the mood for some exercise take a walk up to Mount Victoria to see a spectacular view of the city, and follow it up with a trip to the parliament buildings, where you can have a free guided tour around parliament. This is a good way to learn about politics in New Zealand, and the tour is worth it for the architecture alone.
Special Events in Wellington
The Brancott Estate World of Wearable Art Show is on in September every year so if you're in Wellington make sure you grab a ticket so you can watch one of the most prestigious fashion and art competitions in the this part of the world.
In March head to Jim Beam homegrown, which is one of the biggest music festivals in New Zealand. This is where you can experience some real kiwi music, and it's sold out every year so make sure you get in early if you want a ticket.
Also in March is the ASB Gardens Magic Series, where there is live music and entertainment every night for around ten nights. With performances ranging from opera to jazz and hip-hop, there's sure to be something for everyone.
From Wellington you can take the Interislander ferry to Picton in the South Island.
Shopping in Wellington
Wellington is the best place to go for boutique and vintage shopping, with quirky stores dotted around the city.
The City Market is located in the Chaffers dock building every Sunday from 8.30am until 12.30pm. Here you'll find some of the best local food and wine, as well as gorgeous handmade gifts and more.
One of the best shopping attractions is the Wellington Underground Market, which is open from 10am until 4pm on Jervois Quay in the underground parking lot every Saturday. Here you'll find unique goods from local businesses and emerging artists. There is often live music as well, and you'll be sure to find the perfect gift or souvenir.
The Wellington Night market operates every Friday night from 5pm to 11pm and features live music, fortune telling, cultural performances, and delicious food stalls. Located on the left bank in Cuba mall, you'll be entertained for hours.
Make sure you hit Cuba Street, the bohemian neighborhood where you'll find buskers, stone carvings, and an abundance of stores where you'll find both larger brands and local stores.
Food and eating out in Wellington
Wellington has an incredible amount of places to eat; in fact it has enough cafés and restaurants per head to give New York a run for its money.
Those who want a fine dining experience should make a reservation at Logan Brown on Cuba Street. This restaurant was the supreme winner of the 2009 Cuisine New Zealand Restaurant of the Year and you'll find a contemporary menu and a huge wine list with over 230 international and New Zealand wines.
Stop by Great India on Manners street, where you'll find innovative Indian cuisine at an attractive price-if you go for lunch you can expect to pay around $12 for rice, curry, and naan.
For breakfast or brunch make sure you head to the Maranui Surf Lifesaving Café where you'll find impressive coffee and an upbeat atmosphere. Located on Lyall Parade, you'll see great views of the Cook Strait while you're there, but make sure you get in early since the place gets full fast.
Don't forget to check out Tommy Millions Pizza and Gelato on Courtenay Place. This place has the best New York style pizza in Wellington-in fact the owner Tom Kirton learned everything he knows about pizza in New York. Here you'll find pizza by the slice, so grab a piece and eat it while sitting outside and people watching.
Wellington is known as the “windy city”, although it doesn't have extremes in weather. It can get chilly in winter, with temperatures sometimes falling below 5 degrees Celsius. In summer temperatures rarely exceed 25 degrees Celsius, making the weather relatively mild.
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