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There’s nothing like Jim Beam Homegrown. It’s New Zealand’s premier music festival, held right in the heart of Wellington’s CBD in a stunning waterfront location. The energy of Homegrown takes over the entire city as festival goers converge on the waterfront for a day and a night of Aotearoa’s finest beats.
Here's our tips on how to turn your Jim Beam Homegrown experience into a weekend you'll never forget. Eat at Wellington’s coolest eateries and bars, wander laneways full of street art, take selfies at Toi Art, walk up to Mt Victoria for some fitspo and go for cocktails at a rooftop bar.
Wellington is full of good places to eat – it all depends on your mood, vibe and appetite! You can’t go past Chow for fresh, contemporary takes on Asian eats along with a line-up of killer cocktails. Chow is one of Wellington’s favourite restaurants; there’d be a riot if they ever took their blue cheese wontons off the menu. Chow's kitchen is open from midday to midnight, making it the perfect place for a late dinner or late-night snack.
You can’t go past brunch, especially with sea views and Lola Stays delivers on both fronts. Go for a poke bowl, tacos or one of Lola Stay’s cheese burgers with a green smoothie on the side. Or head to Prefab for brunch on the deck with bottomless filter coffee refills and a good chance of getting to pat some good dogs.
If you feel like eating outdoors, get along to one of Cuba Street’s night markets. Held every Friday and Saturday night, the markets have a fun, chilled atmosphere and everyone in your group is sure to find something that they want to eat (even that super fussy, hard-to-please mate).
Go for a wander on Wellington’s waterfront and grab some of the best gelato in town at Gelissimo. Made using local ingredients including Zany Zeus organic milk, Gelissimo have over 150 recipes in their repertoire, including some award-winning ones, and have new flavours in store almost daily. Don’t leave without trying some of their most popular flavour - Yum-Yum – vanilla gelato swirled with local Fix & Fogg peanut butter, salted caramel and dark chocolate. It’s seriously yum (yum).
Once you've found your dream gelato, wander over to the diving platform on the Taranaki Wharf to watch as people jump off into the water. Rate their sweet bombs and have a go yourself if you’re feeling brave!
If you’d prefer to stay dry and on top of the water, give kayaking or paddle boarding on the harbour a go. Fergs Kayaks on the waterfront have paddleboards and kayaks for hire, or you want to eliminate any possibility of ending up in the water, they have roller blades for hire as well. Fergs offer a super fun way to explore Wellington’s waterfront and take in the stunning views across the water.
Staying in the heart of Wellington’s CBD makes it easy to get to and from Homegrown and even easier to turn it your Homegrown weekend into an experience you’ll never forget. Contemporary three-and-a-half-star hotel ibis Wellington is the perfect place to call home during Homegrown. It’s super close to the waterfront, so you can easily walk to Homegrown. ibis Wellington is right in the heart of Lambton Quay's shopping precinct (check out Mecca and David Jones) and it's an easy ten-minute stroll to Cuba Street and Courtenay Place. The hotel also has some secure parking available.
Where to head for a drink all depends on your mood. If you feel like frozen cocktails on the roof, then The Arborist is your place. You can’t beat Wellington on a good day, and what better way to spend it than high above the city at The Arborist’s rooftop garden bar. The Arborist is decked out in recycled pallet furniture for the ultimate backyard vibe.
If you fancy somewhere a bit classy with a cool indoor/outdoor vibe, Lulu on Courtenay Place is for you. Inspired by the islands of the Pacific, from Hawaii to Aotearoa, Lulu is a fresh new dining and cocktail experience on Courtenay Place. Lulu’s semi-enclosed courtyard is the perfect spot for a drink and a bite, while the intimate indoors spaces are made for settling in for a feast of Oceanic-inspired eats.
Head over to Sassy Loves Cash to continue the party, if you love dubstep music with a twist of pop this is the place to be. Ponderosa – Pop over to Ponderosa and try their delicious range of cocktails. Boogie on down to Wellington’s popular bar Siglo known for providing the best R & B beats in town. Head over to El Horno if you love live music and delicious sangria. Check out Club 121 if music that makes you jump up and down is your sound.