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21 sweet spots to picnic and chill in Wellington

From historic sites to hidden spots with sweeping views, Wellington is packed full of wonderful nooks that are perfect for summertime picnics or a spot of down time between shops and galleries. Here's a few of our favourites.

  1. Tuck into a fish ‘n chip picnic from Mt Vic Chippery on Wellington’s stunning inner-city beach, Oriental Bay. Cool off with a refreshing dip afterwards.
  2. Grab some goodies from the bustling Harbourside Market on Sundays and settle in for a feast on the lawn beside Te Papa. This is a great spot for people watching too.
  3. Got the kids in tow? Seek out the hidden playground located just off The Crescent in Roseneath. The kids can have a play and you’ll be treated to unrivalled views of the city and harbour. 
  4. Spread out your picnic blanket on the concrete blocks alongside Nga Kina, Michel Tuffery's striking kina sculpture located on the waterfront near the Mojo Coffee roastery (Shed 13), and listen to the water lapping below your feet while you soak up some rays.
  5. Enjoy the buzz while you picnic on the grassy lawn out front of the iconic Beehive, and admire the historic architecture of the Parliament Buildings
  6. Catch the Cable Car from Lambton Quay up the hill and find a quiet spot for a bite to eat in the Botanic Garden. Head for the Krupp Gun for views over Wellington, or settle in amongst the roses at the award-winning Lady Norwood Rose Garden.
  7. For an inner city suntrap, head for Civic Square. With its expansive astroturf and free WiFi access, it’s a great place to sit back and chill. Or nestle yourself in one of the nooks on the nearby City to Sea Bridge to rest your feet. 
  1. Dine amongst Wellington’s local wildlife with a BBQ picnic in the idyllic Troup Picnic Area at Otari-Wilton’s Bush, just a short drive or bus ride from the city. 
  2. You can’t beat a picnic beneath one of the flowering pohutukawa in Frank Kitts Park on the waterfront. Relax in the shade while the kids work up an appetite on the iconic playground. 
  3. Perched on the top of Point Halswell near Miramar sits the impressive Massey Memorial, offering pretty spectacular city and harbour views. Picnic here or head up the hill further to the site of a historic WWII anti-aircraft gun battery. The views are worth the trek!
  4. For a picnic spot that’s truly Instagram-worthy, set up your spread in front of the colourful Clyde Quay boatsheds on Oriental Parade.
  5. Find a spot in the gorgeous gardens at Truby King House, a heritage-listed estate near the Zoo, which offers a picturesque picnic setting and a slice of local history. 
  6. Wellington’s waterfront offers plentiful seating and scenic spots to kick back and watch the world go by. No time to pack a picnic? Stop by one of the food trucks on Taranaki Wharf or Frank Kitts Park (Weds - Fri in summer) to grab a bite. 
  7. Looking for a slightly unusual spot? Rest and picnic in peace at the Bolton St Memorial Park, tucked away off The Terrace. 

A little further afield…

  1. Visit the historic fortress at Wrights Hill and enjoy the surrounding bush walks. The gun emplacement and tunnels are open four times a year but the surrounds are good for picnics anytime of the year.
  2. Lord of the Rings fan? Visit the beautiful Kaitoke Regional Park, north of Wellington. This location was used as the setting for Rivendell, and comes complete with a replica Elvish Archway. Enjoy a picnic or BBQ lunch and take a dip in one of the swimming holes.
  3. Catch the East by West ferry to Matiu/Somes Island, a predator-free scientific and historic reserve smack bang in the middle of Wellington Harbour. Feast away on your picnic while soaking up the stunning views back to the city. 
  4. Or continue your ferry journey on to the picturesque seaside town of Eastbourne. Hire a bike and cycle round the coast to picnic beside the historic Pencarrow Lighthouse.
  5. Stroll around Wellington’s wild south coast to Red Rocks, and enjoy lunch and some seal spotting. 
  6. Go for a spin along a section of the Rimutaka Cycle Trail and find a shady spot along the way for a well-deserved rest and bite to eat. 
  7. Fire up a barbie and lunch alongside some of the animal residents at Staglands Wildlife Reserve in the Akatarawa Valley. Pro tip: Buy a bag of food for the animals so they don’t try to steal yours!
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