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Wellington has you covered this coming Anzac Day and Easter. Whether you're visiting for an action-packed mini-break, or staying put for a chilled out stay-cation, here are 15 celebratory, fun and eye-opening activities to experience in the capital.
Pause for a moment to commemorate Anzac Day on 25 April. Wander down to Pukeahu National War Memorial Park at 6am to join the dawn service, followed by wreath-laying and remembrance service. Or school-up on the history of ANZAC at Gallipoli – The Scale of Our War showing at Te Papa until 30 April 2019. More details on Anzac Day events are available on the Wellington City Council website.
Banish the autumn chill with good-for-the-soul kai from some of our favourite spots in town. Try Rita in Aro Valley for an intimate dinner for two, 1154 Pastaria on Cuba Street for hearty handmade pasta, nearby Loretta for nourishing seasonal fare, Charley Noble for robust dishes with a twist and a great selection of wines, and Hiakai for five-star modern Māori cuisine.
Grab your bike or your walking shoes and head off on one of more than 200 stunning trails around the Wellington Region. You'll find everything from exhilarating downhill rides to gentle one-hour bush-clad walks, and plenty of running tracks and dog-friendly routes – all within easy access of the CBD.
Wander the Ghuznee and Cuba Street precincts for a truly boutique shopping experience and explore a bunch of gorgeous new destination stores around town: twenty-seven names has just moved to 27 Ghuznee Street, Kowtow has setup shop on College Street, and ethical underwear business, Nisa, has a new home in the CBD.
Feathered friends and furry creatures maketh the mini-break! Head to Zealandia ecosantuary to see 18 species of native wildlife in their natural habitat; explore Wellington Zoo and meet lions, tigers and bears; walk to Percy Scenic Reserve to explore the weta cave; or join Seal Coast Safari for an adventure.
When was the last time you checked out Te Papa, visited The Beehive, meandered the waterfront, rode the cable car to the Botanic Gardens, or climbed to the top of Mount Vic to take in views of the city? Hit the tourist trail and experience Wellington with fresh eyes (or fall in love with your hometown all over again).
Play coffee connoisseur for a day and pop into the newest joints in town for the freshest cup and the boldest beans on offer: Swimsuit has just moved into Dixon Street, Peoples Coffee has popped up on Lukes Lane, Fifi's is newly in-situ on Marion Street, and Miss Fortune's has brought its magic to Seaview.
Visit Te Papa's new Toi Art Gallery to see inspiring New Zealand contemporary works; get a double helping of international art at Rothschild & Semiconductor, now showing at City Gallery; take a day-trip to Lower Hutt's premiere gallery, The Dowse. Or, just roam the streets and take in the city's world-famous street art.
Release your inner child and kick around the crunchy fallen leaves at the Botanic Gardens, be surrounded by magical orange-brown autumn hues on a stroll through Central Park, and when you get hungry from all the activity – hit-up the Harbourside Market or Moore Wilson's for delicious seasonal fruit and vege.
Autumn is the perfect time for catching surreal sunsets in the capital and clear night skies dappled with stars. Pack a picnic and head to Red Rocks, Mount Vic lookout, Makara Hill or Point Halswell lighthouse to catch the best views. Or better still – book in a stargazing workshop with the celestial professionals at Space Place.
You'll find truckloads of tasty Easter treats around Welly. Head to the Wellington Chocolate Factory for bean-to-bar bunnies and eggs, and Leeds Street Bakery, Baker Gramercy, and Arobake for delicious hot cross buns. For the ultimate celebration, book yourself in for Easter High Tea at the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, featuring three tiers of delights.
While away the evening with a cocktail in hand at one of the cosiest nooks in town. Head to the Hawthorne Lounge for cigar lounge charm, Forresters Lane for seasonal specialties, Night Flower for luxe furnishings and outstanding drinks, The Library for old-world bookish ambience, Crumpet for an intimate setting and great service, Havana Bar for an iconic Wellington experience, and Husk for the fairy-lit courtyard.
For a once-in-a-lifetime holiday experience, see the 2,000-year-old Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality at Te Papa before the exhibition closes on 22 April. Discovered in 1974, this underground army is regarded by many as an eighth wonder of the world.
Head over hill to the Wairarapa, just one-hour's drive from Wellington, and sample some of the region's best wine and food, see rugged coastlines and breathtaking rock formations, and relax amongst the vines. Or, take a short drive to Porirua for a day of family fun at Adrenalin Forest, Aotea Lagoon and more.
From music to comedy, theatre and more, don't miss the biggest names in entertainment when they visit Wellington during the Easter/ANZAC period: