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Things to do

10 incredible experiences in NZ's creative capital

From awe-inspiring exhibitions to Instagrammable sights and inventive culinary delights, creativity can be found in every corner of New Zealand's capital of cool. Here's a few creative must do's.

1. Be wowed by Weta

gollum airport

As soon as you arrive at Wellington Airport you know you’re in the centre of Sir Peter Jackson’s and Sir Richard Taylor's Oscar-winning creative empire. When you enter the arrivals hall you'll be greeted by mammoth Middle-earth installations, created by Weta Workshop. Then learn how the magic happens and watch the wizards at work on a behind-the-scenes tour of the award-winning Weta Cave and workshop.

2. Find yourself at a festival

cuba dupa

Wellington boasts a year-round line up of colourful and creative festivals that transform the city into a vibrant and artistic playground. Over the summer months, the whole city is a stage when performers and artists from around the world fill the streets and theatres for the biennial New Zealand Festival, Fringe Festival and CubaDupa. Winter sees the city humming along to the smooth tunes of the Wellington Jazz Festival, and every spring, the World of WearableArt™ Awards Show dazzles and delights with its unique fusion of fashion, art and theatre.

3. Eat your way around Welly on a Plate


Plan a visit in August and experience the culinary capital at its most delicious during the two week foodie festival, Visa Wellington On a Plate™. This annual festival sees the city’s restaurants, cafes and hospitality honchos conjure up creative dishes and drinks, and collaborate on innovative foodie events.

4. Be inspired by Ngā Toi

CroppedImage175175 Nga Toi

Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa is home to an extensive collection of New Zealand artworks. From the colonial portraits of Maori elders by acclaimed painter, Goldie, to the striking panels by Colin McCahon, Ngā Toi provides a fascinating look into New Zealand’s artistic identity. The current Ngā Toi season, Get in the Picture features a collection of rare photos that capture New Zealand life over the last 100 years.

5. Seek out street art

Shark Wall

Wellington’s streets and laneways are sprinkled with inspiring and thought-provoking art and finding it is half the fun. Get wandering and keep an eye out for the Instagram-worthy Shark Wall by BMD (along with various other works by this prolific street artist), and Gingerella near Leeds St.

6. Get a culture fix at City Gallery


Nestled in Civic Square is City Gallery, a must-visit for any art appreciator. This free public art gallery offers an ever-changing programme of contemporary exhibitions from New Zealand and around the world, alongside regular eventsCurrent exhibitions include the time-bending videos of Bullet Time (until 10 July), and the works of New Zealand-born sculptor Francis Upritchard (28 May - 16 October).

7. See a world-class performance

RNZB 2016 Shane Urton solo II CREDIT Ross Brown

As the cultural capital of New Zealand, Wellington is home to major national arts companies, including the internationally acclaimed Royal New Zealand Ballet, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Footnote New Zealand Dance, which deliver world-class performances throughout the year. Be transported on a musical journey through the moving works of the NZSO's 2016 season, and see New Zealand's finest ballerinas perform the beautiful tale Giselle (11-14 August).

8. Follow a trail of sculptures

kina small

The Wellington Sculpture Trust looks after more than 20 large-scale public artworks that you’re bound to encounter on your visit, including the striking Nga Kina by Michel Tuffery, and Water Whirler by Len Lye. There are three sculpture trails to follow: the Botanic Garden Walk, Wellington City Walk, and the Meridian Energy Wind Sculpture Walk. Pick up a map of each trail from the i-SITE Visitor Centre.

9. Watch a barista at work

coffee small

Coffee and Wellington go hand in hand, and it’s almost impossible to stumble on a bad cup in the capital.  Coffee making has become an art form in itself, and Wellington baristas take the job very seriously. Pop into the likes of Prefab, Mojo or Milk Crate and watch as the baristas skilfully grind beans and steam milk, before artfully pouring the milk to create the perfect ‘latte art’.

10. Spend a night at the theatre

st james theatre rnzb cinderella thumb 1024x1024

We're spoilt for choice when it comes to theatre, with contemporary playhouses like BATS, Circa and The Hannah Playhouse and classical theatres St James and Opera House, all offering quality live performance most nights of the week.

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