Wellington is the vibrant urban capital of New Zealand and well known as one of the world’s coolest little cities to visit. In recent years it has become home to international film stars during the filming of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit. The relaxed atmosphere of this compact capital city located on a picturesque harbour and surrounded by wild native bush covered hills makes Wellington a popular spot for visitors and locals alike.
The QT Museum Hotel is our pick of the coolest place to base yourself for a weekend. A luxurious boutique hotel located right on the harbour you will be able to enjoy the fantastic views of the large natural harbour, as well as be in close walking distance to the main shopping, craft-beer bars, cafes and the modern national museum Te Papa. Filled with more than 160 original artworks this hotel is described as eccentric creativity meets luxury travel.
A trip to Wellington, aka Middle Earth, would not be complete without visiting some of the filming locations from the Lord of The Rings trilogy. Fans of the films can join a location tour to visit the Outer Shire, RiverDell and Helms Deep before going behind the scenes at the Weta Studios, the Academy Award-winning design company that created the special effects and props for Lord of the Rings, King Kong, Thor, District 9, TinTin and the Chronicles of Narnia.
Lunching Like A Local
For something fresh, simple and light with a distinct New Zealand taste, Aro Street Café is the place to go. This iconic city café and bistro has been serving up local favourites for more than 20 years. Try their Cranberry & Brazil nut muesli with roasted stone fruit & Zany yoghurt or the poached eggs with braised lentils, buttery spinach & grilled ciabatta. Finish with a cup of their house-roasted coffee before heading off to explore more of the city.
New Zealand Designs
In the afternoon head into the central city for a spot of shopping with Wellington shops serving up something for everyone, from quirky and eclectic to high-end local designer brands. Our pick to check out while you are here; World.
Step into the modern warehouse space of this premium New Zealand fashion line. Fuelled by their energy and passion, this label has developed from a cupboard at the back of an arcade, to one of the leading fashion houses in New Zealand.
Vessel on Victoria Street is a must-see shop displaying a range of exclusive ceramics and homewares by Kiwi artists. It’s a local favourite and perfect for finding something unique to remember your visit to this city.
The Old Bank Arcade on Lambton Quay with three floors of specialty shops and some of New Zealand’s top designer fashion brands such as Ricochet
Eco-Dining at Logan Brown
For dinner, our pick is Logan Brown. Ranked amongst Wellington’s best restaurants, it oozes class without being overly formal, and we love their commitment to minimizing their ecological footprint by caring deeply for the New Zealand environment in every aspect of their business. Located in a 1920s banking-chamber dining room, Logan Brown is the place to really experience a genuine taste of New Zealand cuisine. ‘We proud to represent the best of what our people and country produce, sustainably and ethically’ says owner Shaun.
Try their Risotto with charred corn, cauliflower, aged Parmesan & crisp shallots or the Heirloom tomatoes with Rewana Bread, Tanara, Pickled Cucumber and Koringo. And finish with a New Zealand classic Hokey Pokey, Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Coffee & Milk Crisp
For a different type of nightlife while in Wellington head to the famous Zealandia By Night Experience.
This after-hours tour by torchlight of Wellington’s ecological sanctuary will bring you up close and personal to some of New Zealand’s best nocturnal critters. Little spotted kiwi birds, glow-worms, Tuatara lizards and, and longfin eels are some of the cool wildlife you might catch a glimpse of on your night-time adventure.
If you are looking for the usual type of nightlife, back in the city you will find no shortage of live music, vibrant bars and local hangouts along Courtney Place which goes all night and into wee hours of the morning.
But, before calling it a night, grab a quick midnight snack at Midnight Espresso (187 Cuba Street), the perfect urban café for late night coffees and snacks. Try their giant hot chocolate with marshmallows to finish the night with a warm glow.
Just like the chocolaty goodness of a Midnight Espresso hot chocolate, Wellington will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling that will make you want to come back and spend some more time in this very cool little capital city.