I know if you don’t live anywhere near New Zealand, a weekend getaway to Wellington sounds ridiculous. But if you find yourself on holiday or visiting family in Middle Earth, you must make time in your schedule for ‘Windy Welly.’ With beautiful cafes, amazing nightlife and wonderful theatres, Wellington has proven itself as a cosmopolitan city amongst the big names of its neighbours Sydney and Melbourne. It’s the tiniest big city, but it packs a big punch. Just pack an umbrella just in case!
Top experiences in Wellington:
Te Papa Museum
The most impressive and cultural highlight in the city is the free Te Papa Museum. Located on the water, this beautiful museum showcases the origins of New Zealand, most importantly the Maori (indigenous) people of the country. Exhibits change regularly, but every time I’ve been there, they were interactive and impressive. Definitely worth a visit.
Coffee at Red Rabbit Coffee Co.
Located in an alley next to a chocolate factory, Red Rabbit Coffee Co. is literally a whole in the wall. Serving up some delicious coffees, this cute shop is always busy. But some don’t even come for the coffee, they come for their desserts. The Salted Caramel cookie is so addicting; they usually sell out within the first couple hours of operation. If you go, snag them all. Trust me.
Drinks at the Library
I’m not talking about the actual library. Although Wellington’s library is very impressive and has a great café inside, I’m talking about a secret bar called The Library. It’s so secret to visitors that the front door is often missed as it’s just a basic door to a building. But walk up the flight of stairs and knock on the door and you’re transported into what seems like someone’s private library. With leather clad booths and chairs and bookshelves lining the walls, this place is heaven for anyone who loves to read. Add the dim lights and fantastic cocktails and you’ll wish they never close.
Traditional Pizza at Napoli
Across the street from The Library is a tiny Italian restaurant called Napoli that makes some of the best pizza on earth. All the staff are Italian and the chef hails from Napoli himself. And you can tell. Simple ingredients and beautiful flavours. It’s always full even for lunch so make sure to book ahead. Lunch time also offers great specials and it’s easier to beat the crowd. So keep that an option.
Catch a movie at Embassy Theatre
This movie theatre is home to Wellington’s International Film Festival every year and is one of the last mega screens in existence. Built in 1924, the theatre is old and beautiful and transports you back to the golden years of film with stadium seating and velvet curtains. It’s also where they premiered The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, as both trilogies were made in New Zealand. They play a wide variety of movies from international blockbusters to indie films to local productions. Their most popular event is when they play Rocky Horror Picture Show and the entire town shows up dressed in character to have a crazy night in the theatre.
Check out Weta
Weta is the production company behind all of Sir Peter Jackson’s mega hits like King Kong, Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit. You can head to their headquarters in the suburb of Miramar to visit their Weta shop. Here you can see many of the props, costumes, and models used in all the movies. They even have a mini theatre for you to watch a feature on the company and see exactly what they do. For huge movie buffs, this is heaven on earth.
Take a walking tour
Wellington is small but bursting with culture, art and coffee! Take a walking tour to see all the beautiful art around the city, shop in local boutiques, sample the amazing menus, and pop in to one of the many local bookstores. There’s so much to see and do in Wellington that’s so positively itself that even a weekend is too short. But walking along the waterfront you really get a feel of this vibrant city. It’s full of activity considering it’s one of the worst places for weather! But don’t let that keep you away. This city is a must!