A person wearing sunglasses holding an ice cream, surrounded by cherry blossoms.

Your Wellington spring guide

If you can’t see your breath when you’re outside anymore it’s likely spring is on the way. Wellington knows how to entice you out of winter hibernation with a cheery collection of events and plenty of fun to be had.

As spring takes hold, changing seasons can mean a mixed bag in the weather department. The region offers things to do both inside and out. The biggest inside event is the World of WearableArt (WOW) Show: BEYOND. The Wellington Jazz Festival offers 100 gigs to enjoy. For the sporty, the WXV 1 Tournament will light up Sky Stadium with the best women’s rugby players from around the world.

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Go big or go home

Described as Broadway meets Cirque Du Soleil, the 2023 WOW Show: BEYOND will see the TSB Arena stage come alive with incredible works of wearable art. Seen by an audience of over 60,000 annually, the show takes you on a journey to a futuristic world. Accompanied by dancers, aerialists, musicians, and fabulous light displays, the three-week run from 20 September to 8 October will take your breath away.

Keeping to an inside theme, Wellington Jazz Festival saunters into town for five days from 25 October. American multi-Grammy award-winning vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant leads the festival. Rolling Stone magazine said the American is “regularly and rightly considered one of the greatest jazz singers of her generation.” Also, headlining is GoGo Penguin, an experimental jazz trio from the United Kingdom. Australian ethno-jazz group Zela Margossian and The Rodger Fox Big Band will collaborate with hip-hop legend King Kapisi.

Out, out and about

Heading outside and over the hill to Wairarapa, Toast Martinborough is back. The esteemed wine and food festival returns for its 30th instalment on Sunday 19 November. The full-day celebration of wine, food, and entertainment takes visitors to eight festival sites. Twelve local vineyards are taking part, along with fourteen delicious eateries and twenty-five talented musicians

Back in Wellington, On a Good Day brings Anderson Park at the Wellington Botanic Gardens to life. The summer celebration of music begins Thursday 30 November and spreads across three nights. So far internationally acclaimed Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy and indie-rock band The War On Drugs have been announced, with a third act to follow.

Waiter serving smiling customers at an outside table of August Eatery, with other customers and green plants in the foreground.

Don’t kick it, pass it

Watch the world’s women’s rugby superstars in action when they take the field in Wellington over Labour Weekend. The inaugural WXV 1 tournament is an exciting addition to the global women’s rugby calendar. In 2023, six of the best teams in the world will slog it out across Wellington, Dunedin, and Auckland over three consecutive weekends. The tournament is a springboard for teams eyeing the next Rugby World Cup in 2025. The first Friday night test will kick off at Wellington’s Sky Stadium on 20 October featuring England against Australia. The next day will have a doubleheader with Canada taking on Wales, and France up against the Black Ferns.

For the birds

Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne is an incredible slice of wilderness just minutes from Wellington’s city centre. Spring is an ideal time to visit as there’ll be hatchlings and new birdlife aplenty in the ecosanctuary. The 225 hectares of regenerating forest has an 8.6-kilometre predator-proof fence allowing native birdlife and other species to flourish. Make sure to visit during one of the feeding times so you can catch a flurry of wings.

The brunch bunch

With warmer days beckoning it’s time to have a lazy weekend brunch. Whether it’s bacon and eggs or a vege feast you can’t go wrong with Maranui in Lyall Bay. The coffee is strong and the views of the cook strait spectacular. The food and views are similar at Seashore Cabaret on the Petone foreshore. This time the view is of Wellington Harbour. On Taranaki Street, August serves up a warm Mediterranean twist on flavour. Its Istanbul Eggs are famous.