A magnet for creators, thinkers, dreamers and doers, the cool capital city’s waterfront, restaurants, streets and natural surroundings are where ideas happen.
Hotel Novotel Wellington
In the heart of the CBD, the hotel is within walking distance to iconic attractions such as Te Papa, Cable Car and Botanical Gardens, with direct access to the Lambton Quay shopping district. The magnificent harbor views of the city can be enjoyed from the comfort of your luxurious rooms. Those with kids can take advantage of the Family & Novotel, which offers free stay and buffet breakfasts for two children under 16 years old in the company of their parents or grandparents.
Museum Art Hotel
The privately owned design hotel combines location, service, luxury and dramatic atmosphere throughout the property. Guests are treated to unique interior details such as quirky designer lamps and a variety of wall art. The hotel is also home to the lavish Hippopotamus restaurant with Executive Chef Laurent Loudeac which serves French-influenced cuisine, along with a large collection of contemporary New Zealand art thoughtfully selected by hotel owner Chris Parkin. Guidebooks are provided to help guests appreciate the artworks on a self-guided tour.
From trendy boutiques to peculiar gift stores, Wellington shopping is made simple by the various shopping streets. Head to Cuba Street for the coolest mix of contemporary fashion, urban design and high quality vintage stores. Classic high street shopping on Lambton Quay includes the legendary Kirkcaldie & Stains department store and the Old Bank Arcade. If you have time to head out of the city, try Greytown in Wairarapa district, the favorite weekend shopping destinations for locals and visiting movie stars.
You’ll love the relaxed, community atmosphere of the regular markets offering quality handcrafts and artisanal produce. On Saturday mornings, the famous Wellington Underground Market at Jervois Quay carpark features the best makers, bakers, artists and musicians. Sundays brings the freshest local produce at the Harbourside Market next to Te Papa and artisan providore stalls at the indoor City Market at nearby Chaffers Dock. Meanwhile, the Wellington Night Market is up every Wednesday and Friday evenings, overflowing with food, crafts and entertainment.
Steve Logan and Logan Brown Restaurant & Bar have been synonymous with Wellington’s fine dining scene for almost 20 years. This spacious, white table clothed and elegantly decorated restaurant is one of Wellington’s favorites, loved by business people for lunch and gourmands for dinner. It serves fine food without expecting any formality from its guests in a stylish yet relaxed atmosphere. Logan Brown emphasizes on the best seasonal ingredients from local producers, cooked with accuracy and generous flavors with New World style based on classic cooking techniques.
The Southeast Asian restaurant offers the exotic flavors of India, Southern China, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, all in one menu. Vibrantly decorated with elements that represent said countries, the chefs also create quite a spectacle as they wield their tools of trade in full view. Booths and large tables make for a sociable dining experience, where the wide range of cooking styles can be enjoyed by sharing dishes. The famous ‘Firecracker Club’ is the first Monday of each month for those who loves spicy food.
Coco at the Roxy
Experience the 1930s glamour right at the heart of suburban Miramar, the epicenter of Wellington’s creative film industry. The art deco elegance of Coco is combined with excellent cuisine and service, whether it’s for coffee, lunch or dinner. Head Chef Nic Spicer creates exquisite and innovative dishes inspired from flavors around the globe, with a focus on using the freshest of New Zealand ingredients, while Mixologist Ray Letoa specializes in crazy, aesthetic cocktails to complete your night out. cocoattheroxy.co.nz
Affectionately known as ‘The Horn’, the dining establishment has been the stuff of street folklore and legend since 1963. Originally a Swiss coffee house, it has metamorphosed into a regular’s restaurant, café, cocktail bar and supper club, where attitude is valued over attire. Recently returning Executive Chef Sean Marshall brings back his signature flair for memorable, truly original a la carte dishes showcasing the best of the region’s seasonal and artisan produce, including new, adventurous menu along with some old favorites.
Ride the Bike
Wellington has seen massive growth in both urban and off-road cycling. The trailblazer of this revolution is the Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park, a bushy reserve lined with more than 60 km of single track ranging from easy to expert. Smooth and well graded, the Rimutaka Cycle Trail is another famous path meandering through the town and country sceneries. At 115 km, it’s is a 2 to 3 day ride, but it’s easily broken up into sections of various lengths and difficulty levels.
Key location sites and movie-making hot spots have turned Wellington into a set-jetting destination for film buffs and Tolkien fans. Many tour operators will take you to Middle-earth shooting locations, luxurious helicopter flights to explore from the above, and a trip to the Weta Workshop, the award-winning design and effects facility who made Middle-earth creatures come to live. Inside, the Weta Cave showcases props and collectibles and screens a free behind-the-scenes video, while the guided Weta Cave Workshop Tour offers a glimpse into the creative process.
Art & Culture
Museums, theatres, public sculptures and poetry are tightly woven into the city. Aside from the interactive and innovative permanent exhibitions at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, don’t miss temporary exhibitions such as the epic “Gallipoli: The scale of our war takes” created by Weta Workshop and Te Papa. Enjoy contemporary New Zealand and international art at City Gallery or check out the theaters. Some of the city’s favorite public artworks include the Wellington Writer’s Walk along the waterfront and Ferns in Civic Square.
Situated on a beautiful harbor and surrounded by rolling hills, Wellington is a city on nature’s doorstep. Catch the historic Wellington Cable Car to the Wellington Botanic Garden and wander through their exotic forests, native bush and colorful floral displays. Only minutes away from the city, Zealandia is home to some of the rarest and endangered wildlife set around a picturesque reservoir. Should you have more time, head north to visit Kapiti Island and spend the night in luxury camping tents or nature cabins among rare birds.
Tourism New Zealand, wellingtonnz.com, Jess Silk