Royally popular: Maranui Café

The beachside café that's equally popular with locals and visiting royals - though you don't have to be either to feel welcome here


Lyall bay


7A Lyall Bay Parade
Lyall Bay


+64 4 387 4539


Stair access only

When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry came to Wellington in 2018, they chose to have morning tea at a laidback café on the edge of Wellington’s surf beach.

Apparently, Royal Household staff visiting Wellington in advance of the tour had ventured to Maranui and liked what they saw. And who could blame them? With stunning sea views looking out towards the tip of the South Island and funky interior, every visit to Maranui Café is an absolute treat.

On the top floor of Maranui Surf Life Saving Club, Maranui Café is a quintessential Wellington experience. On a weekend, you’ll find everyone from surfers and families to students and professionals, often winding their way down the sandy stairs, goodheartedly waiting for a table. On Tuesdays, tradies head there for the special Tuesday tradesmen’s breakfast deal.

Owners Bronwyn Kelly and Katie Richardson, the café’s baker, and their friendly team serve up a mix of unforgettable fare - tasty and wholesome salads, melt-in-the-mouth baking, hot food from the kitchen, and the longest, thickest milkshakes you’ve probably ever seen.

Café-goers can look out the picture-postcard windows at curving Lyall Bay, gazing at surfers riding the waves and surf lifesavers practising their drills on the beach. There's also an outdoor deck area which is prime real estate on a sunny day. 

Inside, everything about this café screams seaside: the handrail up the stairs is an oar, while oars are also used to partition the dining area from eagerly awaiting diners, and there are decorative fish hanging from the walls. The vibe is retro vintage, which is fitting, as the club building has been there since 1911. “Coolest spot in town’’, says a sign above one table - and locals nod and agree.

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