If you’re travelling around New Zealand, chances are your travels will bring you to Wellington. The beauty of Wellington being such a small city, is that you can make the most of a short trip easily – as most things are usually a short stroll from each other. Plus, there’s a reason why it’s been called the Coolest Little Capital in the World!
Customs by Coffee Supreme
There’s nothing better than a piping hot cup of coffee and piece of toast while you people watch. Customs takes the toast and coffee culture to the next level, with the coffee roasted just up the road and donuts available on weekends. Bonus points for being across the road from the epic David
Bowie mural by Xoë Hall, so you can tick “check out awesome some street art” off your list while you’re there.
If you’ve just flown in on an early flight, head straight from the Airport to Maranui. Famous for many things including their milkshakes, their delicious cakes and most recently for hosting a certain Royal couple on their latest visit down under. It’s a popular spot but the view alone makes any wait worth it.
Interiors as beautiful as their food, Loretta is a marriage of style and food in one venue. This special but casual eatery is the perfect place to break bread – especially since they make their own seeded loaf in house. Try the crumpets, they’re world famous in Wellington!
Golding’s Free Dive
Hidden down the Eva/Leeds Street laneway, Golding’s serves fresh local beers and interesting wines, think natural, unfiltered and sulphur free. Grab a pint or two and order a pizza from Pizza Pomodoro, located just across the laneway and they’ll walk it over to you when it’s ready. Pro tip: the pizza comes piping hot and is delicious at a scalding temperature, so to make it easier to eat, roll it up from the pointy end to the crust and eat it like a roll. It sounds crazy, but is delicious.
If you walk past HUSK too fast, you might miss it. Hidden in plain sight on a busy street, you might be forgiven for not noticing the long walkway down to the brewery and coffee roastery. Home to Choice Bros brewery and Karamu Coffee, they have all your needs covered, as well as a delicious food menu, including their famous fried chicken and haloumi fries.
Heyday Beer Co
Arguably most colourful craft beer brewery in town, located on the iconic strip of Cuba Street. Heyday has a great outdoor area so if it’s a sunny day, head up there and soak up the sun while you sink a few beers. Make sure you take a selfie in front of their awesome bathroom wallpaper – once you see it, you’ll know why it’s so epic. Also, travellers tip: if you need to charge your phone, this is the spot to do it, with the inside tables on the brewery side boasting USB ports. You’re welcome.
Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand
Te Papa is more than just a museum, boasting collections so varied that one can explore the heritage of New Zealand, learn about the culture and natural environment all under one roof. The Gallipoli: The scale of our war exhibit is a must-do with the artistry done by world famous Weta Workshop, it’s truly immersive and will leave a lasting impression on you.
City Gallery Wellington
Home to contemporary art in Wellington, the City Gallery usually has up three exhibitions at a time with 35-minute tours running in the afternoons on weekends for those who are pressed for time but want to learn more about the pieces on show. Located near the Wellington Harbour, make sure you take the time to cross the City to Sea bridge on your way there to get a great view of the waterfront.
Housed in a beautiful 1892 heritage building on Wellington’s waterfront, the Wellington Museum gives all its visitors an insight into life in Wellington from the late 1800’s onwards and the rich history of this small but vibrant city. Admission is free so it’s very friendly on the wallet.
Egmont Street Eatery
Not shying away from the laneway culture that has taken Wellington by storm, Egmont Street saw an old industrial carpark being converted into one of the city’s best restaurants. With their menu reflecting what’s in season their food is bold and beautiful with a great wine list to match. Try get a seat at the pass to see all the action while you dine.
If you need dinner in a bit of a hurry, then 1154 is a great option. Shared tables make turnover quick at this pasta joint, where everything is so tasty, but we implore you to try save room for the dessert. The chocolate torte is out of this world. They’ve also got a great selection of natural wines on offer, if you’re that way inclined.
Rita is a small intimate dining house, in a historic cottage so bookings are recommended but you can try your luck by calling ahead before 5:30 on the day. Their ever-changing three course set menu is inspired by seasonal ingredients and at $65 a head for a snapshot of the best produce the Wellington region has to offer – it’s a steal. Bonus points for being located next to Wellington’s craft brewery, Garage Project; be sure you pop in next door for a beer while you’re in the ‘hood.
Home to old fashioned cocktails with a botanical twist, Night Flower is one of Wellington’s newest cocktail bars backed with a team of expert bartenders. There’s no menu here, simply pop in and take a seat and the staff will chat to you about the flavours you like and create something to your liking.
CGR Merchant & Co
Inspired by the Maritime Silk Road, CGR is well known for their infusions. They manage to get flavours so infused into gin or rum, simply served on the rocks, you would swear that you were drinking the real deal in liquid form. Our favourite infusions include passionfruit ice cream, hot
buttered toast and gingerbread.
An intimate speakeasy style bar hidden upstairs on Tory Street, a little way from the main strip of Courtenay Place but worth the detour. From the street, you’ll wonder where everyone is but once you get up the stairs you’ll be greeted by full noise and full fun from the bar staff. The drink menu changes often but the classics are always just an order away.
Don’t let the restaurant at the front fool you, if you venture down the long walkway past the kitchens, you’ll find the most majestic wooden bar in Wellington. The bar itself demands attention, as do the drinks that they have to offer. Better yet, on Saturday nights they have $10 cocktail
specials and the late-night food offerings here are epic.