72 hours in Wellington

Three days of eating and drinking, arts and culture, biking around vineyards, nature encounters, night markets, with enough time to relax and have a sleep-in.

Hannahs Laneway People walking

The first thing to know about Wellington is you can walk almost everywhere. The city fits a lot into a small space, so nearly everything you need will be within strolling distance. Pack some comfy shoes and get ready to stumble across all sorts of wonders en route to your next destination.

Fortune Favours deck beers street art

Friday evening: sample some craft beer

Check-in at your hotel and head out to explore the city. Friday night in Wellington is all about good food and delicious beverages. 

Let’s get started with a taste of Wellington’s famous craft beer. Ghuznee Street boasts a fantastic line-up of brew bars including Whistling Sisters, Fortune Favours and Choice Bros. and Aro Valley is home to Garage Project, one of Wellington’s best-known breweries, and you can get a taste of their boundary-pushing beer and wine at their cellar door or taproom.

Grab some dinner on Cuba Street - with an array of dining options from relaxed to fancy, you'll definitely find something to suit your taste. Go for chilli oil dumplings at Rams Restaurant, burgers at Beer Meats Grill, beef rendang at Rasa or Venetian-style tapas at Ombra. 

Saturday

After a sleep-in and maybe a gentle stroll or jog around the waterfront, start your day with a coffee before heading out to discover some of the capital's top attractions.

Saturday morning: brunch by the beach

After a sleep-in and maybe a gentle stroll or jog around the waterfront, start your day with a coffee before heading out to discover some of the capital's top attractions.

Start the day with a delicious brunch at one of Wellington’s top cafés. Wellington is a city with beautiful coastlines, so why not head to one of our seaside cafés to soak up the views of the harbour while you enjoy our city’s legendary great coffee and free-range eggs done just the way you like them.

Scorch O Rama outdoors dining friends beach
Zealandia Ecosanctuary Kaka flying

Explore the ecosanctuary

Take a ride on the historic Cable Car to and enjoy panoramic views of the city from the Lookout at the top. From here you can catch a free shuttle to Zealandia, a world-first, fully-fenced predator-free ecosanctuary, the first of its kind in the world.

Go for a guided walk around with one of their knowledgeable hosts and find out more about their extraordinary 500-year vision to restore a Wellington valley’s forest and freshwater ecosystems as closely as possible to their pre-human state.

Check out Cuba Street

Ride Zealandia’s free shuttle back into town and take a stroll along Cuba Street. Known as Wellington’s most colourful street, here you’ll find the Bucket Fountain sculpture. Nearby is Hannahs Laneway, a culinary hotspot that’s home to artisan peanut butter makers Fix & Fogg, Wellington Chocolate Factory and more. For lunch, head to the next laneway over for Egmont Street Eatery’s seasonal menu with a strong emphasis on local ingredients. The restaurant has won awards for its food and the stunning interior fit-out.

Cuba Street people walking shops

Wander the waterfront

Stroll around the beautiful waterfront, stopping to check out the public art along the way and to get a scoop of locally-made gelato at Oriental Bay, Wellington’s golden-sand, inner-city beach. Another option is to hire an electric bike from Switched On Bikes, an effortless way to explore Wellington’s coastline and bays.

If you'd like to try a different walk, check out Wellington's extensive tracks and trails - find your wild and enjoy Wellington's regional trails your way. 

Oriental Bay people walkway
1154 pasteria cuba st pasta dishes

Saturday night

Go for dinner at one of Wellington’s top eateries for dinner. The culinary capital offers a range of dining styles – from fun, casual eats at Mr Go’s, 1154 and Burger Liquor, to the laidback luxury of Ortega Fish Shack and Rita or go try some of Wellington’s favourite Malaysian eats at Little Penang or Rasa.

Sunday

Today you’re going on a day trip to Martinborough. Catch the morning train from Wellington. It’s a one-hour ride to Featherston, where you’ll be met by a bus which will take you to Martinborough, the village at the heart of the wine-making district.

Sunday: day trip to Martinborough

Catch the morning train from Wellington. It’s a one-hour ride to Featherston, where you’ll be met by a bus which will take you to Martinborough, the village at the heart of the wine-making district.

Martinborough is a compact township that’s surrounded by wineries and the best way to explore is by bike. The wineries are located close together, and the country roads are quiet, which makes for a fun and relaxing bike ride. Hire bikes from Green Jersey – there’s a range of options from two-wheeled to four, and they’ll happily collect your wine purchases from the vineyards. Grab a wineries map and head out on your adventure. 

Martinborough vines
Bike hopping Martinborough wineries

Bike around the vines

Start at Cambridge Road, just minutes from the village. Winemaker Lance Redgwell uses biodynamic and eco-farming principles to farming his vines and a minimal intervention approach to wine-making. These are wines that Lance hopes will challenge your taste buds and your perception of wine while giving you a delicious experience.

A platter at Poppies

Run by husband and wife team (Poppy is the winemaker, Shayne is the viticulturist), Poppies’ romantically rustic cellar door and restaurant is known for their simple but beautiful antipasto platters. Sit inside in the cosy restaurant or outside under the pergola with an unencumbered view of the vines that have produced the wine you’re enjoying.

Poppies wine and platter
Moy Hall+exterior

Dine among the vines

Moy Hall has a casual menu of delicious small plates for sharing with feature local lamb, seafood, olive oil, herbs and seasonal salads and which cater for a range of dietary requirements. Sit outside at tables amongst the vines and enjoy a tasting of their hand-made wines that are made from grapes grown on the family’s eight-hectare vineyard.

One last winery

After lunch, head to renowned Wairarapa winery Palliser Estate. Land that was once used for farming sheep now produces acclaimed wine that is enjoyed around the world. Their cellar door is open year-round and pours tastings of their wines – their pinot noir and chardonnay are particularly delicious.

Palliser Estate Wines wines
Martinborough Wine Bank lounge chairs wallpaper

Wine in the bank

Visit Martinborough Wine Bank, a historic bank that has been converted into a tasting room showcasing some of the Wairarapa’s finest wines including award-winning, single vineyard and reserve wines from boutique wineries that often don't have visitor cellar doors. There are over 60 local wines always available for tasting and everything you can try you can buy – the perfect take-home souvenir.

After, catch the bus back to Featherston Station to meet the late afternoon train back to Wellington. You’ll arrive back in Wellington in the early evening.

Monday

It's your last day in Wellington, but there's still plenty left to explore, great coffee to drink and delicious things to eat. 

Monday morning: Wellington's top toast

It's your last day in Wellington, but there's still plenty left to explore, great coffee to drink and delicious things to eat. 

Head to Customs by Coffee Supreme for a slice of their excellent toast and a mug of freshly brewed coffee. Serving up some of the best coffee and sourdough toast in town in a prime people-watching and dog-patting spot in the super-hip Ghuznee precinct. Modelled off a mid-century American modern domestic kitchen with warm wood panelling and Customs is a place you’ll want to linger.

Customs by Coffee Supreme toast
Te Papa Museum Family and Guide looking at Waharoa

Visit Te Papa

From Customs, it’s a ten-minute walk to Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum and art gallery. Known for its cutting-edge approach to telling the stories of Aotearoa New Zealand, one of the best ways to get to know to Te Papa is to take a guided tour – there’s a range of choices from behind-the-scenes at the museum experiences to informative tours of the exhibitions.

Lunch at The Larder

Head to The Larder in Miramar for lunch, it’s a popular neighbourhood eatery with an honest focus on ‘nose to tail’ eating. Owned and run by Miramar residents, Jacob Brown (ex-Boulcott Bistro and Tabou in Sydney) is the chef and his partner, Sarah Bullock, the restaurant has consistently won accolades for its thoughtful, creative and innovative dishes and its outstanding service.

The Larder group sharing meal
Visitors coming out of Weta Workshop

Movie-making magic

You can’t leave Wellington without a visit to Wellywood at Weta Workshop. Visit the fascinating Weta Cave and take a Studio Tour which will have you journeying from Middle-earth to Tracy Island and beyond as you explore 25 years of award-winning creativity and get a behind-the-scenes look at movie-making magic.

Where to stay

Wellington is an incredibly compact city so no matter where you choose to stay, you’ll find that nothing is too far away, but these hotels will put you right in the heart of the action in inner-city Wellington and they're close to Wellington Railway Station.

Park Hotel room bed
James Cook breakfast food flat lay hands
CityLife exterior street people

Park Hotel - A contemporary four-star hotel with the 'best of Wellington' under one roof.

West Plaza Hotel - Spacious rooms in a central location with laneways, boutique shopping and the city's attractions on your doorstep. 

CityLife Wellington - One and two-bedroom suites with everything you need for a long weekend including kitchenette, washing machine and dryer. 

Ibis Wellington - A three-and-a-half star hotel that's close to Lambton Quay and the waterfront with secure parking and a fantastic on-site restaurant. 

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor - With two in-house restaurants, a day spa and gym, live piano performances and a high tea experience, you might be tempted to spend your entire long weekend at the hotel. 

Mercure Wellington - Abel Tasman Hotel - Affordable, quality accommodation with free Wi-Fi and an in-house restaurant.

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