Three people are taking a selfie at the Mount Victoria Lookout with a view of Wellington harbour and city centre behind them.

You can’t beat Wellington on a good weekend

Setting yourself up with a home base for the weekend is essential. Just a few steps from bustling Lambton Quay and the waterfront is Bolton Hotel. The five-star hotel offers plenty of facilities and comfortable beds to rest your head at the end of your busy days. The on-site restaurant offers daily breakfast, or you’re close to some of the city's best cafés for a famous Wellington flat white. 

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Arriving on Friday 27 September, you’re just in time for the World of WearableArt (WOW) Show. WOW is Aotearoa’s largest theatrical production and Wellington’s not-to-be-missed annual event. This year’s show, ‘DREAM AWAKE’, takes you through six ‘realms’. Guided by the mysterious and magical Dream Maker, it’s a live show that will leave you, well, wowed. It combines performance, live music, aerial artistry, dance, and digital technology to showcase the phenomenal works of wearable art on display. 

Hosted at TSB Arena, it’s right in the action of the central city. Take your pick of places to eat and drink before the show, but you’ll want to dine somewhere just as fabulous as the event you’re about to experience. Tucked in an unassuming spot in Mount Victoria, Koji combines Asian cuisine with Aotearoa produce. The menu often changes but is consistently delicious. When ordering, you don’t have to worry about missing out — the dishes are designed for sharing. Small plates mean you can try a bit of everything, and make it a more relaxed approach to high-end dining. 

After you’ve been suitably impressed at WOW, head out for a drink after the show. Plonk is an intimate and casual wine bar with live DJs and a very well-stocked cellar. Elixir offers cosy cocktails with comfy seating to debrief on the evening. 

For day two, you’ll need to pace yourself — and fuel up. Start your day at one of Wellington’s many brunch spots. August is a feast for the eyes as much as your stomach, with Mediterranean-inspired dishes (don’t skip the Istanbul eggs). An oasis in the city, Olive is a long-standing Cuba Street café and local favourite. Across the road, Loretta combines Scandinavian-style design with a Californian-style menu. All three are in close proximity to some of Wellington’s best shopping.

Wander down Ghuznee Street to find local designers and boutiques. Within 200 metres is twenty seven names, Caughley, KAUKAU, Sully’s, Service Depot, and many more. If you’re after secondhand gems and vintage treasures, Cuba Street is your spot. Victoria Street is home to a collection of heavy-hitting Kiwi designers. While you’ll want to tick off your favourites, make sure you leave time to discover the hidden gems tucked down the city’s side streets.

Despite the saying, you won't want to ‘shop 'til you drop’ this time. You’ll need to preserve some energy to cheer on the boys in black. The All Blacks are taking on Australia on 28 September, and you’re going to be right amongst the action. In what’s sure to be a blockbuster, the second game of the 2024 Bledisloe Cup is hosted at Wellington’s Sky Stadium. 

An All Blacks game at Sky Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. The place is packed with cheering fans as fireworks shoot up into the night sky.

If you’ve got time for a nightcap after the game, celebrate (or commiserate) at a waterfront bar. Foxglove and Dockside have outdoor seating and great atmospheres, while St Johns is close to bustling Courtenay Place. 

Before you head out on Saturday, toast the weekend the Wellington way — with an excellent coffee. However you take yours, the city’s roasters and award-winning baristas can make it just the way you like it. Flight, Supreme, People’s, L’affare, and Havana all come from the capital, and are offered at their flagship café, as well as spots around the city.

Want to win this weekend?

Sound like a bit of you? You can go in the draw to win this ultimate Wellington weekender. Enter your details below and sign up to receive the KNOW, your guide to all things Wellington, and you’re in the draw. The prize includes:;

  • two nights accommodation at Bolton Hotel for two people, 27 to 29 September
  • two tickets to 2024 World of WearableArt Show: DREAM AWAKE at TSB Arena, 27 September
  • two tickets to All Blacks vs Australia at Sky Stadium, 28 September
  • $200 voucher for Koji
  • $50 voucher for August
  • $500 shopping voucher for an independent Wellington boutique of the winner’s choosing.

Please note: the prize does not include transport to or from Wellington. If the winner is not from Wellington, they will be responsible for all travel to and from the city, including associated expenses.

Enter to go in the draw