How to have a sustainable Wellington weekend
Spend a three day weekend in the capital that’s as good for the planet as it is for the soul
A weekend away doesn’t have to cost the earth. Wellington is a compact, walkable city, with plenty to eat, drink, see, and do. Pack your walking shoes and enjoy a weekend for the eco-conscious traveller, visiting local businesses with sustainability at heart.
Where to stay
Wellington has hundreds of beds to rest your head for a night or two, but few are as guilt-free as those at Ohtel and Boulcott Suites.
- Ohtel is a sustainable seaside escape nestled in Oriental Bay. It has a paperless check-in process. Energy-and water-efficient systems and amenities, and eco-friendly products in the rooms. Local and seasonal produce are served at the in-house café.
- If you’re wanting a self-contained, apartment-style room, head to Boulcott Suites. With similar eco-friendly initiatives to Ohtel, Boulcott Suites also has EV charging available – handy if you’re looking to explore the region.
Day one: coffee, critters, and cuisine
- Start the day like a true Wellingtonian – with a freshly brewed flat white. If you didn’t pack your reusable cup to drink on the go, sit in one of the city’s many cafés to enjoy your coffee.
- Once you’ve refuelled, head to the waterfront. East by West sails across the Wellington Harbour from Queen’s Wharf daily. Jump on board the Ika Rere, the first electric ferry in the southern hemisphere. The 19-metre vessel will drop you off at Days Bay in Eastbourne. Here you can spend the morning exploring local walks, shops, and cafés.
- Catch a ride back to the city on a return sailing, and grab a bus or car share to get to Wellington Zoo. A visit to the world’s first carboNZero zoo is the perfect guilt-free way to enjoy mother nature. For a truly special experience, book in advance for one of their Close Encounter experiences.
- After a busy day, you’ve surely worked up an appetite. Shepherd is an award-winning restaurant tucked down Hannahs Laneway. Reusing food scraps, making the most of seasonal ingredients, and creating everything from scratch allows the chefs at Shepherd to minimise their environmental impact.
Day two: mixing old and new
- Wellington’s vintage shopping is some of the best in the country, with everything from curated, high-end second-hand boutiques to thrifting heavens with hundreds of bargains to be found.
- If you’re looking for new rather than pre-loved visit Nisa for organic, hand-made underwear that supports Wellington’s refugee community.
- Kowtow is a fashion-lovers haven, with chic, understated pieces made from organic, renewable, biodegradable, and regenerated fibres.
- Browse the boutiques down to Lambton Quay and catch the iconic 120-year-old Wellington Cable Car up the hill to Kelburn. From the top, a free electric shuttle can whisk you to a slice of wilderness just a few minutes from the city.
- Zealandia is a fully-fenced, predator-free eco-sanctuary, the first of its kind in the world. The pioneering project has brought thousands of native birds back to the capital. Take a tour with a guide to learn more about their conservation work.
- Dinner is served at Graze Wine Bar. Fitted out in completely second-hand or recycled materials. The pescatarian menu features locally foraged produce, sustainably sourced seafood, and in-house pickles and ferments.
Day three: beaches and beers
- Get the day off to a “wheely” good start with an e-bike hire from Switched On Bikes. Their e-bikes are the speediest and arguably most fun way to see the city, making easy work of the capital’s many hills.
- Head off on an adventure around the city’s many beaches and bays. Watch the planes land in Lyall Bay and reward yourself with a famous milkshake and fries from local hotspot, Maranui.
- Back in the city, spend the afternoon learning about Wellington's craft beer capital.
- Craft Beer Tours are a fully guided walking tour of the city’s many breweries, from craft beer darlings Garage Project to lesser-known local favourites. The hosted tour is carbon-friendly, offsetting all their carbon emissions.
- Finish with a touch of luxury at fine-dining restaurant Hillside Kitchen. The set menu changes often, allowing them to use seasonal produce from their kitchen garden. The low-impact dining experience makes for a guilt-free, delicious way to end your sustainable long weekend.
While Wellington is an incredibly walkable city, there is much to explore beyond the city centre. Visitors have a number of environmentally-friendly transport options.
- Public transport within Wellington is frequent and easy to use. Check out Metlink for up-to-date timetables and a journey planner.
- Mevo is a carbon positive car share company, with modern electric vehicles available around the city via their app.
- CityHop also offers a fleet of car-share vehicles, with EV options.
- EkoCabs are a 100% electric taxi fleet servicing Wellington city and surrounding suburbs.