Your Wellington backyard bucket list
This year we challenge you to attack your "backyard bucket list”. Here are the top ten must-dos in the Wellington region, as voted by locals.
Sip a slow coffee from Pour & Twist
13 Garrett Street, Te Aro, Wellington
At Aotearoa's first fully manual coffee brew bar there is no espresso machine in sight. Rejecting the typically fast pace of your morning coffee run, Pour & Twist invites its customers to slow down, connect and consider their drink, tasting the coffee and appreciating the art of how it was made.
They have your staple black or white coffees covered, but if you venture further on the menu you'll find options such as a grey marble—activated charcoal powder, coffee, cream, maple, and milk, or indulge in a Kopi — traditional Malaysian style coffee with condensed milk.
Taste Te Puna Wai Ora's pure artesian water
Buick Street, Petone, Lower Hutt
Combining form and function, Te Puna Wai Ora is both a piece of outdoor art and a public spring water fountain.
Te Puna Wai Ora’s pure artesian water originates from the Hutt River and enters the artesian aquifer at Taitā Gorge (located further north in the Hutt Valley). The water is filtered through rock and clay during its long journey through the aquifer.
The urn-like sculpture was created by artist Louise Purvis to symbolise an oasis and a place of rest and refreshment and people are encouraged to bring their own bottles to fill and enjoy.
Explore Matiu Somes Island
Matiu/Somes Island, Lower Hutt, Wellington
In the middle of Wellington's stunning harbour, Matiu/Somes Island is a tranquil retreat for both wildlife and visitors. This predator-free scientific and historic reserve is owned by local iwi (Taranaki Whānui) and managed by the Department of Conservation. Hop on the East by West ferry that runs daily and wander among native plant and bird life, taking in the stunning views around the harbour.
Taste the pillow doughnuts at Tomboy
21 Majoribanks Street, Mount Victoria, Wellington
Why is this doughnut named after a soft furnishing? When you eat one, you’ll know why.
Tomboy’s buttery brioche doughnuts are like giant fluffy pillows – that you can eat. To get your hands on a pillow, you’ll need to get to Tomboy’s Majoribanks Street café early – they sell out quickly.
Walk to the Putangirua Pinnacles
These amazing rock formations, which featured in The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, are one of New Zealand's best examples of hoodoos – tall thin rock spires. The Putangirua Pinnacles are off the beaten track in South Wairarapa, about two hours from Wellington (including a pit stop for great coffee at Land Girl), but well worth the roadie.
From the Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve car park and camping ground, you can take an easily-graded bushwalk to a lookout above the Pinnacles, or a walk up the gently-sloping streambed to the base of the Pinnacles where you can marvel at the majestic natural wonder. These tracks are appropriate for children and each take around 45 minutes. We recommend doing both.