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48-hours in Wellington for food lovers

Wellington’s reputation as New Zealand’s culinary capital is well-deserved. Our compact CBD means that you can dine out at one of the city’s top eateries, sample local wine and craft beer and creative cocktails at one of our bars, sip award-winning coffee and try some truly unique craft brews – and then repeat again the next day.

Here’s the ultimate guide for a weekend of eating and drinking to your heart’s content in Wellington.

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Friday

Arrive late afternoon or early evening and check in at your hotel. 

Head straight to Garage Project’s Taproom – 91 Aro in Aro Valley to try one of their acclaimed craft beers or natural wines. Garage Project are the darlings of the Welly brewery scene and well-known for their approach of pushing boundaries, reinterpreting styles and challenging what beer – and wine – can be.

Then it’s time for dinner at Rita, an intimate eatery housed in an historic Aro Valley cottage. Bookings are essential for their two staggered seatings each evening. Rita offers a three-course set menu that changes not just by season, but by day and by mood. It's received rave reviews - Viva reviewer, Jesse Mulligan gave it a perfect score

After dinner, stop off for a glass of local Martinborough wine at Noble Rot in Swans Lane. Noble Rot is Wellington’s award-winning wine bar which utilises Coravin Technology to offer an extensive menu of wine by the glass. It’s a great opportunity to try wines you might not otherwise; we recommend a glass of Devotus Martinborough pinot noir.


Saturday

No need for breakfast today – you’re off on a walking food tour around the city with Zest Food Tours. Discover Wellington's vibrant food scene and connect with like-minded food lovers and meet the makers behind some of the city’s best food, get some local insider tips and sample to your heart’s content.

There’s nothing like a food tour to work up an appetite, so head to Two Grey for lunch to enjoy stylishly presented plates of fashionable food set against a backdrop of dazzling pendant lighting and lush black brick tiles. 

For a post-lunch stroll and some fresh air, take a walk around the city to find your favourite piece of Wellington street art or check out the public sculptures along the waterfront.

Go for a glass of wine at Glass, serving natural wine by the glass (and bottle) in a window-lined location on Chews Lane. Glass serves simple and unpretentious food and pours natural and biodynamic wines, mostly from France, but some from closer to home as well.

Then it’s time for dinner at Hiakai - earth-moving, lifechanging Māori kai by globally-acclaimed local chef Monique Fiso. The Wellington chef has received global acclaim for her Michelin-style, fine dining Māori kai.

A table at Hiakai is one of the most sought-after in Wellington, so if you miss out on a booking, don’t fret – 19 out of the top 100 restaurants in New Zealand can be found in Wellington. Book a seat with a breath-taking view of Wellington harbour and experience exquisite French influenced cuisine at Hippopotamus at the QT Wellington or have a plant-based feast at Hillside Kitchen where local, seasonal and foraged produce is king. 

On your way back to your hotel, stop off for a cocktail at Forresters Lane on Tory Street – a cocktail bar focused on using seasonal and local produce and spirits with a menu that changes weekly.

 


Sunday

Wander down to the waterfront for breakfast at the Harbourside Market. Grab a coffee and join the locals in browsing the fresh, seasonal produce. There’s an array of choices of what to have for breakfast, so the only sensible thing to do is have break breakfast down into multiple courses: start with a freshly squeezed juice, follow with a Golden Bay mussel fritter sandwich from Food for the People, and end with a freshly made crepe and another coffee for good measure. Don’t miss watching as locals buy fish directly from the fishing boat that moors beside the market each Sunday.

After breakfast, go for a stroll around the waterfront to Oriental Bay or up to Mt Victoria, stopping by Moore Wilson’s to pick up some must-have Wellington pantry essentials – Fix & Fogg peanut butter, Wellington Chocolate Factory chocolate, Garage Project beer and some fresh locally roasted coffee beans.

Stop off for lunch at The Larder on your way out of town – a suburban Wellington eatery that has consistently won accolades for its thoughtful, creative and innovative dishes and its outstanding service. The Larder’s menu is produce-driven and reflects the seasons with a commitment to 'nose to tail eating'.


Best time for food lovers to visit Wellington

It’s always a good time to eat and drink in Wellington, with plenty of new places to try and oldies but goodies to revisit or discover for the first time. August is a particularly good time with Wellington’s two major food and drink festivals taking place.

  • Visa Wellington On a Plate (1 - 31 Aug) For the first time, Wellington’s epic food festival is set to be a four-week culinary takeover of the entire Wellington region for the entire month of August. Restaurants, laneways, bars and carparks become the venues for cutting-edge and always delicious celebrations of food and beverage with burgers, cocktails and exclusive Festival Dishes.
  • Beervana (9 & 10 Aug) There’s no better place to celebrate craft beer, or ‘beer’ as it is known in Wellington, than at Beervana. Choose from hundreds of different beers to suit everyone’s taste, from the novice to the enthusiast, the curious to the critic; add outrageously creative brewery displays, live music and delicious food by top local eateries, and you’ve got yourself one big beer hug.
  • World of WearableArt Awards Show (26 Sept - 13 Oct) Each year, World of WearableArt invites designers, artists and makers from around the world to realise the unimaginable and challenge the conventional as they create works of art that will be brought to life on stage at the annual World of WearableArt Awards Show. 

Best hotels for food lovers

Staying right in the heart of Wellington’s compact CBD means that good eating and drinking is right on your doorstep, but just in case you fancy dining in (or room service!), why not stay at one of Wellington’s hotel with acclaimed restaurants.