What to do on a sunny day in Wellington
They say 'you can't beat Wellington on a good day', and we agree - there's something pretty magical about Wellington on a sunny day. The Wellington waterfront comes alive with friends having drinks on the grass at outdoor bars, the brave swimmers jumping off the diving platform at Taranaki Wharf and sun-seekers lying on towels at Oriental Bay.
Oriental Bay, Wellington
Wellington's diverse landscape provides a wide range of outdoor swimming options for those that love to cool their heels throughout the scorching summer period. Whether you prefer soaking in the rays at Oriental Bay's golden beach or throwing on a wetsuit and hitting the surf at Lyall Bay, Wellington has you covered with a variety of swimming hot-spots.
Wellington Botanic Garden
101 Glenmore Street, Kelburn, Wellington
Beautiful all-year-round, Wellington Botanic Garden features over 26 hectares of stunning views, unique landscapes, exotic forests, native bush, colourful floral displays and specialist gardens. Visit the Begonia House, a heated glasshouse that’s home to lush and colourful tropical plants and stop by the award-winning Lady Norwood Rose Garden which has over 3,000 roses. Follow the Sculpture Trail and discover some of the stunning contemporary sculpture that has been placed around the gardens including a work by Henry Moore. The gardens are open every day and entry is free. This is also part of the Northern Walkway track
Wellington Waterfront Jervois Quay, Wellington
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 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.
Scorching Bay, Karaka Bays, Wellington
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 Café
100 Shelly Bay Road, Maupuia, Wellington
Chocolate Fish Café at Shelly Bay is the go-to for enjoying a classic Kiwi seafood barbecue in the sun.
Chocolate Fish's specialty is seafood sandwiches featuring paua (abalone) and mussel fritters straight off the barbecue – simple, classic and absolutely delicious. If seafood isn’t your thing, there’s lots of other options on the menu, plus a great kids’ menu, too.
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.
Matiu/Somes Island, Lower Hutt, Wellington
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
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.
Pencarrow Coast Road, Lower Hutt
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
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.