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Things to do

9 unmissable ways to be inspired by Wellington

A magnet for visionary creatives, Wellington is a city packed full of the surprising, delightful, delectable and the inspirational. From giant sculptures and Oscar-winning workshops, to extraordinary shows and festivals, Wellington is an energising and inspiring place to explore.

1. Wellington Jazz Festival - June 2016

jazz festival winter

Warm up your winter with smooth soul tunes, cool jazz, bebop and beats when 100 jazz gigs fill Wellington's streets, bars and music venues over five days. From the searing sax styling of the Wayne Shorter Quartet, to the Grammy Award-winning tunes of Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton, plus heaps of free gigs around the city, there's something for everyone this winter at the Wellington Jazz Festival.

2. Solace in the Wind


Possibly Wellington’s most-photographed residentMax Patte’s life-sized bronze figure, Solace in the Wind, leans precariously - but almost with a look of contentment off the edge of the waterfront behind Te Papa

3. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa


Australasia’s most-visited museum for a reason, Te Papa is host to a variety of thought-provoking and informative exhibitions, from the extraordinary combined effort of Weta Workshop and Te Papa to create Gallipoli: The scale of our war, to stories rich in Maori history and some of New Zealand’s most significant artwork housed in Nga Toi.

4. Weta Cave Workshop Tour

PWT Weta Cave Gandalf Front 01

Oscar-winning Weta Workshop have worked on some of the biggest and most ambitious movie projects of our generation. A behind-the-scenes tour at the workshop headquarters reveals the incredible artistry and remarkable Kiwi innovation, as well as a few industry secrets. And of course a visit to The Lord of the Rings locations with Wellington Rover Tours is a must for Middle-earth fans.

5. Cuba Street


Cuba Street is the bohemian heart of Wellington, home to cafes, bars, vintage boutiques, bookshops, record stores and galleries. It’s also a popular spot for Wellington’s best street performers. On any given day you might encounter the likes of a classical guitarist, a marionette show, an airbrush artist or a circus performance. The perfect spot for people watching.

6. Mount Victoria Lookout

Mount vic Jeff Image

There’s nothing quite like taking in a bird’s eye view of a city, and compact Wellington, hugged between sparkling harbour and rolling hillsisn’t a bad spot to do so! From the top of the Courtenay Place entertainment district or Oriental Bay Beach, a variety of walkways up Mount Victoria take you to stunning panoramic views of city and sea.

7. World of WearableArt™ Awards Show – September 2016

Credit Poly Nation Kate Mackenzie New Zealand. 2014 WOWR Awards Show. C World of WearableArt Ltd. resized

Described by former Time Warner Creative Officer Mark D’arcy as making ‘Lady Gaga look like a librarian’, the World of WearableArt® Awards Show is a phenomenal fusion of art, design, fashion, dance and performance. Think Cirque du Soleil meets Vivienne Westwood, along with New Zealand’s top cultural performers and the world’s most incredible designers across a range of disciplines.

8. Wellington Writers Walk

2 writers walk WCC.jpg

Head down to the Wellington waterfront to find the Writers Walk, where the poetry becomes sculpture. The words of some of New Zealand’s greatest writers are installed around the harbour’s edge in concrete, wood and steel. Grab a map from the i-SITE Visitor Information Centre to find them all.

9. Wairarapa wine region

cycling wairarapa

Cycle your way through the charming and concentrated boutique vineyards in Martinborough, at the heart of the nearby Wairarapa wine region. Just an hour over the hill, sample the local platters and plummy pinots the region is so well-known for. From the quirky tasting notes at Margrain Vineyard and the delectable rose at Poppies, to the monthly Sunday markets at Te Kairanga and the wares of the ‘Godfather of pinot’ at Escarpment, a day in Martinborough is a must for wine fans.

Time to plan a Wellington visit?

Scope out more must dosbrowse and book accommodation, search Wellington’s sights and activities, see what events are coming up, have a nosy at all the incredible bars and restaurants, and start planning your trip with our handy experience planner.

If you’re heading over from across the ditch, Wellington’s just a three hour flight away from the Eastern Seaboard (sometimes even less!). We’ve compiled a Wellington Essentials guide just for you with suggested itineraries, weather details, maps and more.

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