Your guide to summer in Wellington

Summer in Wellington means incredible summer events and festivals, meals at award-winning eateries, walks, gelato and a swim at Oriental Bay

Wellington turns on the charm in a big way during summer, which is only natural for a city that sits between a sparkling harbour and lush hills.

Although we can’t promise full-on scorching weather every day, we can assure you that your trip to Wellington during the warmer months will be wonderful and filled with incredible events and festivals, thirst-quenching craft beer, delicious  and unforgettable arts and culture experiences.

Gelato on the waterfront

A wander around the waterfront is mandatory when you’re in Wellington in the summer. Follow the flocks of locals down to the harbour, set your direction and stroll. Heading towards Oriental Bay is always a good idea, and you’re bound to pass gelato shops, cafés and bars on your way there. You could continue walking further around the bays, or take it easy and soak up some sun. Kaffee Eis at Franks Kitts Park and Gelissimo at Freyberg are top contenders for the best gelato to eat while people-watching in the shade of a flowering pōhutukawa tree. (If you can’t pick between them, go to both.)

Wellington's city-side golden sand beach

Pack your swimsuit if you fancy a dip on the golden sand beach of Oriental Bay, just a 15-minute walk from the central city. Because of the shelter of the harbour, it’s a relaxed and calm beach that makes for a chilled-out paddle for the whole family. If you’re brave, keep an eye out for the diving boards and spots to jump off peppered around the waterfront. Or attempt to stay slightly drier with a stand-up paddleboard or kayak - you can hire them from Ferg’s Kayaks, who also offer lessons if you’re a tad unsteady.

Summer events calendar

Head to Te Papa for Destination Mars an interactive theatrical experience combining gaming wizardry and captivating live-action, or discover the long-hidden works of a Swedish artist-mystic at Hilma af Klint: The Secret Paintings, a once in a lifetime experience at City Gallery. Both events are part of the New Zealand Festival of the Arts.

In February you can check out the NZ Fringe Festival and the Performance Arcade. These annual events show off the quirky, cultural capital and the creatives who live and work here. Expect music, dance, art, theatre, and everything in between.

In March Wellington's Basin Reserve hosts the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup and Wētā Workshop’s Costume Trail, Journey Through Middle Earth, runs until the end of the month.

A walk with a view

Locals love a walk to the top of Mount Victoria to enjoy the sunset. Don’t let the name scare you, it’s technically a mountain but the walk up will only take you around half an hour, and you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the city and bays. From here you can also wind your way to the Southern Walkway trail and admire the variety of scenery, ranging from views of the harbour and central city to the shade and tranquillity of the Town Belt forest. 

Outdoor drinks & dining

Top off your Wellington summer experience in some of the city’s finest al fresco eating and drinking spots. Having a gin on the lawn at St John’s or a pint in the park outside Rogue & Vagabond is a must-do, while craft beer bars Fortune Favours and Heyday Beer Co have excellent outdoor spaces, as well as snazzy indoors you can retreat to if things start cooling down.

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