People enjoying the sun on Oriental Parade, with the sun shining and Wellington city behind them.

Your guide to summer in Wellington

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At the top of the list is the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts. Only coming around every two years, it’s a celebration of contemporary arts. The 2024 festival offers a broad selection of international, national, and local acts. The programme covers theatre, dance, visual art, music, comedy, and more. Kicking off in February, it’s set to be equal parts jam-packed and diverse. From an arena show from Grammy award-winning indie band The National, to an evening with Australian musician, comic, and composer Tim Minchin. ‘BELLE – A performance of the air’ is a gravity-defying and exhilarating aerial show from Malia Johnston (Show Director, 2023 World of WearableArt).

Don’t miss a beat

It’s a massive summer of music for . Opening the season is On A Good Day. Spread over three days from 30 November, it features a great lineup of international acts. Anderson Park in Wellington Botanic Garden will reverberate to the sounds of Dermot Kennedy, indie-rock band The War On Drugs, and Matt Corby and Allen Stone. Foo Fighters will take over Sky Stadium on 27 January. With over 25 million albums sold worldwide and 15 Grammy Awards, the band’s world tour promises to be huge. Jim Beam Homegrown focuses on the local scene. Over 40 acts feature in a one-day celebration of New Zealand music on 16 March. The five stages along Wellington’s waterfront, along with food and carnival rides, are the ultimate send-off for the summer season.

Nothing short of super

This summer, the capital is hosting a world premier exhibition. Marvel: Earth’s Mightiest Exhibition allows you to explore the superhero universe. Hosted at Tākina Convention & Exhibition Centre, audiences will have a behind-the-scenes look at the 80-year history of some of Marvel’s most iconic characters. Discover the stories behind Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, Black Panther, and the Guardians of the Galaxy.

With so much to see and do you’ll need to rest between adventures. When you’re not at exhibitions, gigs, and shopping, stop off at one of the city’s excellent eateries. During the warmer months head outside for some al fresco dining and enjoy the city buzz around you.  Alternatively, sit near the ocean to grab brunch by the beach. If you have a sweet tooth, there’s a fantastic lineup of local ice cream shops peddling artisan flavours and decadent delights.

And for the wine lovers, if you’re fast you’ve still got time to head over the hill to Toast Martinborough. The esteemed wine and food festival has been captivating audiences since 1992. Its 30th instalment on Sunday 19 November will see thousands of visitors descend upon Martinborough and Wairarapa. The showcase of local wineries and food has live entertainment too.

2 people walk along the pier at Days Bay in their swimsuits with towels over their shoulders.

Seas the day

The warmer days are upon us so it’s time to pack a picnic and head across the harbour. The bays around Eastbourne offer lazy weekend brunch options and great beach walks. The East by West Ferry leaves from Queens Wharf on Wellington’s waterfront and offers regular return trips. With easy walks and views of the city, it’s great for a day of exploring.

If you’re looking to spend your summer on island time, take a trip up the Kāpiti Coast. Kapiti Island is New Zealand’s oldest nature reserve and is twenty minutes by boat from Paraparaumu. If you’ve got the time, stay overnight and try your luck at spotting one of the 1,400 little spotted kiwi who call the island home.