The Windy City as they call it, is such a lovely, quirky, colorful yet peaceful capital and we absolutely loved it! It is so easy to explore this city by foot and it is so pleasant to wander down the streets and along the bays. Eva street and Cuba street is definitely where you will want to go to eat/drink as it’s full of nice restaurants, cafes and bars. The mount victoria will offer you a stunning 360° view over the city and Oriental Bay will make you want to buy a house there. We stayed two days there and it was enough to plenty enjoy everything this city has to offers and I bet it is even better in summertime.
WHERE TO STAY
TE KOPAHOU RESERVE & EVANS BAY MARINA
If you are travelling with a camper van there are two nice spots available for freedom camping in Wellington. They both have toilets but there are signs saying that camping is only permitted for Self-contained. We were non self-contained, we stayed two nights and it was all fine! You can find both sites on the WikiCamp App. Evans Bay Marina is very convenient as it located just 5min from the center and Te Kopahou Reserve is about 15min but it’s the best one in our opinion. More spots are available and the view over the sea is just stunning!
WHAT TO DO/MUST SEEN
KAITOKE REGIONAL PARK (website)
We stopped there on our way down to Wellington as it is located 45min north of the city. It is a very nice park where you can enjoy short or long hike and see one of the Lord Of the Ring location: Rivendell. We just did a short hike and walk along a small but nice swingbridge (picture above).
TE PAPA MUSEUM (website)
This national museum contains one of the world’s most important marine collection and the biggest attraction is the colossal squid which is the biggest on the planet. This museum is very interesting and offers 4 levels of culture and fun. Allow 1h30 to 2h for the visit. Open from 10-18 every day and it is free!
Eva street is definitely the coolest street of Wellington and New Zealand! It is colorful and quirky and you will find a few very nice places to eat and have a drink such as Goldings and Six Barrel Soda.
Just a few steps off Eva Street, Cuba Street is where you will want to go to eat and/or have a drink. There are so many cool places down there, that it was very difficult to choose every time we went there. You can see or favorites bellow in the where to eat/drink section.
MOUNT VICTORIA (website)
Mount Victoria is by far the best lookout of Wellington where you will enjoy a breathtaking 360° view over the Windy City. You can either drive there or hike from the center. I bet the sunrise and sunset are unbelievable from up there.
Oriental Bay is lovely suburb of Wellington full of colorful houses located right after the CBD. It has the closest beaches to the central city and is a popular spot both for living and for visiting. In summertime it becomes a hive of activities where families and friends meet to enjoy a day at the beach.
Tips: free parking spots are available there and it’s an easy 15min walk to the center.
LAMBTON QUAY & CABLE CAR (website)
Lambton Quay is the heart of the CBD and this is where you will want to go shopping. The famous red cable car is a symbol of Wellington and will take you from the main shopping street up to on the hills to the suburb of Kelburn. From there you will enjoy a stunning view over the central city and will be able to visit the cable car museum as well as the botanic garden.
Infos: one way trip takes approximately 5 minutes and the price is NZ$7.5 return per adult.
BOTANIC GARDEN (website)
This botanic garden is very lovely and so peaceful and it is perfect to have a little break off the city life. You can either get there by the cable car or by foot from Lambton Quay. A cafe is located inside along with some great food trucks to get your coffee fix. There is no entrance fee and it is open every day.
It is so pleasant to visit a city by foot and Wellington has the best waterfronts ever! The walk from Oriental Bay to Lambton Quay is really nice and will take about 30 minutes. Make sure you stop at the lovely and colorful boat houses along the way and enjoy a drink at the Karaka Cafe.
WHERE TO EAT/DRINK
FIDEL’S CAFE (website)
Such a cool place to eat or have a drink at anytime of the day! The atmosphere of Fidel’s Cafe is very relax, they’ve got a nice set up and they tune in good music. We got there for dinner on our first night in Wellington and had the apricot and chicken pizza that was delicious not to mention the dessert window that drove us crazy. The carrot cake was to die for. Highly recommended!
Tips: happy hour from 4-7pm NZ$28 for 2 Asaki + a large pizza perfect for a quick dinner
A trendy and fancy restaurant on Cuba Street that offers stylish dishes from breakfast through dinner. As it’s always busy you might have to queue a bit but it’s totally worth it as it’s delicious. Vegan and vegetarian are welcome!
BEST HUGLY BAGELS (website)
The best bagels we ever tried in our life! Not only that they are hand-rolled, cut and cooked in a wood-fired right on front of you they are so damn delicious and you can enjoy them from breakfast tip dinner as they offers sweet flavors as well. The perfect place for a lunch on-the-go or a break in the middle of your exploring day to get some energy along with a coffee.
FRIDAY NIGHT MARKET (website)
If you are in Wellington on a Friday make sure you pop by the Friday Night Market for a cheap and delicious dinner on the go. International food is on offer and it is quite difficult to choose between all those great stalls believe me. We went for a few Chinese buns and then we had the best Moroccan wrap ever at Zaaffran with complimentary mint tea.
MOUSTACHE, MILK & COOKIE BAR (website)
Wellington is full of quirky and trendy places to get food and this yellow bus is definitely one of them! You can take your delicious cookies away or eat them inside. Perfect for a little break in between visits. They also have a flagship store in Auckland.