What to do on a sunny day in Wellington

They say 'you can't beat Wellington on a good day', and we agree. The Wellington waterfront comes alive with friends having drinks in the sun, brave swimmers jumping off the diving platform at Taranaki Wharf and sun-seekers lying on towels at Oriental Bay.

Oriental Bay

Oriental Bay, Wellington

View map

Just a few minutes walk from the city, this golden sand beach is a top spot for a bit of walking, cycling or people watching. It's a safe swimming spot for families and plays host to beach sporting events during summer. It's also home to some of the swankiest real estate in the city and great eateries.

Summer day at the beach in Oriental Bay

Wellington waterfront

Wellington Waterfront Jervois Quay, Wellington

View map

Wellington’s waterfront is like the city’s backyard, where everyone goes to hang out and do recreational activities. There’s a wide footpath that stretches from the Railway Station around to Oriental Bay and beyond, which is a great place to walk, jog or cycle along.

Along the way, you’ll find many public sculptures, park benches and places to stop for a coffee or a gelato. On sunny days, stop by the Taranaki Wharf to watch as swimmers jump off a specially-designed eight-metre-high dive platform.


Eat and Drink gelissimo Gelato WellingtonNZ Johnny Hendrikus 2021 summer ice cream waterfront  34 1
wellington harbour blue sky water image credit mr.ericsan
crocodile bike on waterfront
Scorching Bay v2

Scorching Bay

Scorching Bay, Karaka Bays, Wellington

View map

On a scorching hot Wellington summer’s day, the places to be is Scorching Bay on the Miramar Peninsula. Arguably Wellington’s most stunning beach, Scorching Bay has golden sand and impossibly clear blue water. It’s a favourite spot for a picnic, a game of beach cricket and a swim. Popular beachside café Scorch-O-Rama serves great coffee, milk shakes and ice creams which you can have ‘to go’ or opt to be seated across the road from the café at special seaside tables.

Chocolate Fish Cafe Credit Celeste Fontein 92 1

Chocolate Fish Café

100 Shelly Bay Road, Maupuia, Wellington

View map

Chocolate Fish Cafe at Shelly Bay is the go-to for enjoying a classic Kiwi seafood barbecue in the sun. Their specialty is seafood sandwiches featuring paua (abalone) and mussel fritters straight off the barbecue - simple, classic and absolutely delicious. However, If seafood isn't your thing, there's lots of other options on the menu, including a great selection for kids. Grab a spot on a beanbag on the grass or nab a picnic table and soak up the beautiful views across the harbour, as the kids run around on the grassy lawn. It's a slice of heaven.


Somes Island far view

Matiu Somes Island

Matiu/Somes Island, Lower Hutt, Wellington

View map

Situated in the middle of Wellington's stunning harbour, Matiu/Somes Island is a tranquil retreat for both wildlife and visitors. Māori have occupied this island for generations and in more recent times, Matiu/Somes Island has served as a human and animal quarantine station, an internment camp, and a military defence position. It is now a predator-free scientific and historic reserve where visitors can wander amidst native plant and bird life and take in the stunning views around the harbour. The island can be reached on the East By West ferry which runs daily.


Days Bay, Eastbourne

Days Bay, Lower Hutt

View map

Across the harbour from Wellington is Eastbourne and Days Bay. Our favourite way to get there is on the East by West Ferry, which runs regularly from Wellington’s waterfront. Days Bay is a popular swimming beach during the warmer months and it’s customary in these parts to do some bombs (local lingo for jumping into water) at Days Bay Wharf. Hire a kayak or a paddle board from The Boatshed for some aquatic fun or enjoy an real fruit ice cream on the beach.

SD Days Bay Eastbourne Beaches Bays
115927567 111151777227182 6599523091654856187 n

Pencarrow Coast

Pencarrow Coast Road, Lower Hutt

View map

Walk or bike the coastal trail along the Pencarrow Coast and take in the uninterrupted views across Wellington Harbour. Follow the beautiful (and flat!) coastal trail along the Pencarrow Coast Road to the 1906 lighthouse on the shoreline - about an hour's bike ride. If you're feeling fit, you can also venture up to New Zealand's first lighthouse, once home to the country's only woman light house keeper. Once you reach the lighthouse, you'll be rewarded with vast views over Wellington harbour and across to the South Island.


St Johns Bar & Eatery

5 Cable Street, Te Aro, Wellington

View map

Situated in the historic former Wellington Free Ambulance building, this popular waterfront bar and restaurant is the place to be on a sunny day.

St Johns sheltered outdoor area has grassy lawn where you can pull up a bean bag or a deck chair and enjoy an alfresco drink and snack.

Inside, the beautiful Art Deco-style building has been elegantly refurbished with period light fittings, plush velvet booths and potted palms. Soak up the lush atmosphere in the bar before heading next door to dine at the eatery.


St Johns Bar table
St Johns bar plate
St Johns Bar & Eatery outdoor bar

You might like

Be in the KNOW

Subscribe to get fortnightly updates on what’s fresh, new and happening in Wellington

You may unsubscribe in the footer of all emails from WellingtonNZ. For more info, read our enews terms