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Wellington locals' winter essentials

We talk to two local Wellingtonians about their favourite things to do during winter in Wellington.

Jessie Wong, Yu Mei


Founded by Wellingtonian Jessie Wong, Yu Mei create leather bags and accessories that are functional, yet luxurious and understated – and made in the heart of Wellington. When not at Yu Mei’s inner-city studio, you’ll find Jessie wave-watching along Wellington’s rugged South Coast or grabbing a locally-brewed filter coffee.

Breaker Bay
Breaker Bay

Hands off my sourdough

Wellington Sourdough’s Nº 03 seed and grain loaf makes amazing toast or sandwiches and sets us up for the week, although I have to get a bit protective over it otherwise it will be all gone on the day it’s bought.

A cosy winter meal

Loretta (Cuba St) is my favourite place for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It never feels like you’re in a busy restaurant and the menu is filled with interesting ingredients that I’ve often never heard of.



Watch the waves

On a blustery day, I love to sit somewhere inside by the sea and watch waves break. Sometimes it’s fun to get a burger and eat it in the car while parked up at the beach, or if I'm lucky enough to snag the window seat at Maranui (Lyall Bay) that is a pretty prime spot too.

Winter coat shopping 

I love ENA (Ghuznee St) for everything, and not just because they stock Yu Mei! They have a great selection of New Zealand designers and vintage which reflects the aesthetic and mindset of how Wellingtonians shop.

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ENA on Ghuznee Street
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Maranui Cafe



Samuel Scott, Musician and Writer

Sam v2

Temporarily on loan to Auckland, Wellingtonian Samuel Scott is best-known as a founding member of New Zealand band, The Phoenix Foundation. On regular return visits to Wellington you’re likely to find Sam grabbing a slice of Tommy Millions pizza or browsing the aisles of Moore Wilson’s with a Supreme filter coffee in hand.

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City Gallery

Walk up Mt Kaukau

A crisp, clear winter day is the perfect time to walk up Mt Kaukau. It’s not a cruisy ascent but not too hard either. Just right. On a good day you can see for miles in every direction, from the Remutakas to Mt Victoria to the snowy peaks of the brutish Kaikoura ranges.

Watch a storm roll in 

Find a nice warm spot inside with a view of the South Coast – there is nothing more Wellington than watching a southerly storm roll in. Best to make sure you’re inside of course. 

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Dinner at Rita

Rita (Aro St) is a brilliant restaurant in every regard, but I think the seasonality of the food and the set menu approach is very warming. It’s pitched somewhere between fine dining and comforting home cooking. Ultra-refined without being fussy. And the tiny dining room is the definition of cosy.

Art at City Gallery Wellington

I am almost always surprised by what’s on at City Gallery (Civic Square). They’ve been pushing boundaries seemingly forever and I’ve had some genuinely perspective-changing experiences within those gallery walls. They wonderfully bounce around between populist, elitist and obscure.

City Gallery Shop
City Gallery Entrance

Read more local's insider guides on our Word on the Street blog.