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Wellington

Absolutely Positively

New Zealand's coolest street

Wellington’s famous inner city slice of bohemia, Cuba Street, is a place with culinary and creative soul. It’s where people meet, busk, shop, dine and the best place in town to soak up the capital of cool’s culture. The street has been a registered Historic Area under the Historic Places Act since 1995.

Cuban evolution

Cuba Street was named after an early 1840 settler ship of the same name, not an island country in the Caribbean. But a number of the street’s residents have since run with the latter theme. Fidel’s Café (234 Cuba Street) – where the “coffee is Cuban and the hospitality is pure New Zealand” – is one of many tasty spots locals love to chew the literal and philosophical fat. Just around the corner on Wigan Street, Havana (32a-34 Wigan Street) is a local favourite for tapas, cocktails and excellent live music.

Bohemian rhapsody

Cuba Street is a creative and culinary melting pot of buskers, art galleries, graffiti-filled alleyways, quirky cafes, nationally acclaimed restaurants and community exhibition spaces. One of the capital’s icons, Cuba Street is a meeting of minds, menus and market culture enjoyed by everyone from young to old, hipsters to suits, locals to visitors.

A second chance

The Cuba quarter is widely regarded as the best place for vintage shopping in New Zealand thanks to a trail of second hand boutiques such as Hunters & Collectors (134 Cuba Street), Ziggurat (144 Cuba Street), and Emporium Vintage Boutique (103B Cuba Street Mall)

Raising the bar

Tucked down a quiet corridor at number 106, Matterhorn (106 Cuba Street) is Cuba Street’s most famous and most awarded bar. It also has a Cuisine Restaurant of the Year string to its culinary bow. Also check out San Francisco Bathhouse (171 Cuba Street) and Good Luck (126 Cuba Street).

Taste of Cuba

Wellington’s bohemian zone is also the best spot to follow your nose and stomach. It’s here you’ll find coveted award-winners Logan Brown (192 Cuba Street) and Matterhorn (106 Cuba Street), as well as a trail of cool cafes and ethnic eateries. Try Fidel’s (234 Cuba Street), Arthur’s (272 Cuba Street), Plum (103 Cuba Street), KK Malaysian (54 Ghuznee Street) or whatever you see that takes your fancy.

Where to stay

The CQ complex of Comfort Hotel and Quality Hotel (213-233 Cuba Street) is set within a stylish heritage building in the heart of Cuba Street. Nestled between stylish local boutiques and just a busker’s throw from Cuisine Restaurant of the Year 2009 Logan Brown, this is the perfect location for those to base themselves in the cultural heart of the capital of cool.

"...a place that embraces diversity and steadfastly refuses to be boring.”
- Grant Smithies, Sunday Star Times