How to do a summer weekend in Wellington
Summer in New Zealand’s capital city is a perfect blend of arts and culture with the great outdoors. Experience world-class exhibitions and arts festivals and cool-off with a dip at Oriental Bay and a scoop of locally-made gelato.
A drink in the sun
After you’ve checked into your hotel, head for a drink on the grass at one of Wellington’s waterfront or rooftop bars – St John’s Bar & Eatery, Dirty Little Secret and The Arborist are top spots. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, order a glass of locally-made craft beer and raise a toast to yourselves for choosing a weekend in Wellington.
Dinner at the night market
For dinner, check out the Wellington Night Markets which sets up on Cuba Street on Friday and Saturday nights.
It’ll just be a case of following your nose to find the delicious, freshly-made, sizzling eats with flavours inspired from around the world. With live music and lots of bustling activity, the markets are a fun way to fill your belly and get a taste of life in Wellington.
Start with brunch
Once you wake up, head for 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.
Time for ice cream
Afterwards, take a walk around the waterfront to check out the public sculptures (a selfie with Solace in the Wind is a mandatory part of your Wellington weekend) and check out the colourful boatsheds at Oriental Bay.
Grab a scoop of locally-made gelato from one of the Oriental Bay gelaterias and take a barefoot walk along the golden sand beach.
Cruise down Cuba Street
Take a wander to Cuba Street to find your favourite piece of street art and check out the famous Bucket Fountain. This colourful and vibrant street is home to some of the city’s best vintage shopping – from clothes to book and records.
Every March, CubaDupa, a street party like no other is held to celebrate the creativity and diversity of Wellington’s most famous street.
Make the most of the long summer evenings with a picnic dinner. Pick up picnic supplies from always-on farmers market Moore Wilson’s and head to Wellington Botanic Garden for Summer City Gardens Magic, a series of free evening outdoor concerts by local musicians and a beautiful garden light display. Picnic on the lawn in front of the Soundshell and boogie on down to some great music.
Ride the Cable Car
Take a ride on the historic Cable Car all the way to the top to check out the panoramic views of the city and harbour 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.
Head back into town for lunch at Mr Go’s, one of Wellington’s favourite fun eateries that serves up Asian hawker-style street food with a twist of Kiwi influence. The atmosphere is buzzy and laidback and it’s a great place for families and groups. Order up a bunch of things to share, some local craft beers or some of Mr Go’s renowned cocktails and you’re set.
While away the afternoon
What you do after lunch all depends on whether you’re an active relaxer or more about reading a book in a shady spot. The active kind can go hire kayaks and paddleboards from Fergs Kayaks at Queens Wharf to get out and explore Wellington Harbour and its sheltered coastline and bays. If you’re more about relaxing on a picnic blanket, head to Unity Books to find a gripping new summer book to read under a flowering pōhutukawa tree at Pukeaha National War Memorial Park.