A Beginner’s Guide to Wellington New Zealand

A Beginner’s Guide to Wellington New Zealand

Wellington New Zealand, has been called the ‘Coolest Little Capital in the World’.  I am not going to argue with that.  Wellington is a small city nestled on a beautiful harbor, surrounded by a lovely accessible green belt and a ‘couple’ of hills.  The upside of those hills – the view.  This is our Beginner’s Guide to Wellington City, where we share some of our favourite places to visit, things to do, and of course, to eat.

Wellington City Guide

 

Guide to Wellington, travel guide

Wellington Harbour

Recently, I posted about having a staycation, which got me to thinking – if I had a good friend coming to Wellington for the first time, what would I recommend they absolutely must do?  This is our guide to Wellington, New Zealand.

Wellington is the Captial City of New Zealand and has a rich Maori history pre-dating European colonisation.  An insight on some of that history can be found here and here.  Our Maori heritage in New Zealand provides us with a unique place in the world. It is important to start this guide to Wellington by acknowledging the original inhabitants of this place.

So let’s begin our Beginner’s Guide to Wellington with a few things you should know:

Weather

Before we go any further, I need to get something off my chest.  Wellington’s weather can be tempestuous, changeable, stunning, warm, cold, wet and windy. Oh, and that could be in one day. But life is what you make of it.  I think we should celebrate the weather in Wellington, it always gives us something to talk about. The trick is to be prepared – this is captured in one magic word layering.  You will need to be prepared for any types of weather and the best way to do that is to wear layers.

When our days are warm and sunny they are glorious.  Our waterfront fills up with people soaking in some warmth or enjoying a coffee or glass of wine at one of our many cafes or restaurants.  When our days are blustery and cold, then I think there is something quite special about Wellington.  You can wrap up and see a whole different side of the city.

Also, it can get a touch windy in Wellington. So keep this in mind as it will quickly undo your newly coiffed hair, ruin you umbrella (don’t bother!), or blow away the precious parking coupon you had in your hand.  The upside of the wind – it can also blow away your brain fug.  There have been many, many times I have been very happy to be larger lady when the wind whips up in Wellington and my smaller counterparts have to grab something to hold on to – not me my friends. Me, I am anchored solidly in place. Boom.

Getting here

You can fly, drive, sail, train or bus into Wellington.  The airport is a 15 minute bus or $20 – 30 cab ride from the city centre.

Exploring

Wellington is great for getting out and exploring.   Getting around in Wellington is pretty straightforward.  We are a compact city, so walking is a good way to get around the city centre.  Wellington is situated on a harbor, surrounded by hills, so if you are going further afield than the city centre there are a couple of good options.  A good place to start comparing these options is here.

Out and about

No guide to Wellington can be without ideas for getting out and exploring, having a wander and just being a bit nosey:

  • Walk along the waterfront, along any of our coastlines or take a walk in the City Green Belt – there is even an app to help you chose the best walk for you
  • Catch the Cable Car, take in the Botanic Gardens including loads of public art, and the Carter Observatory
  • Walking tours  – we love the Sculpture Walk, and the xx walk to find out about local history
  • Head out to the South Coast to explore the Red Rocks, take a peek at the South Island, or see some seals. There is something quite magical about heading out to the South Coast when it is wild and wet – even for a drive. Check if there are any weather before you go.

 

Guide to Wellington

Sculpture Wellington Waterfront

Guide to Wellington

Te WhareWaka

Guide to Wellington

Wellington Waterfront, Brewbar, NZX

Things to see

Guide to Wellington, Beginners guide, Tips and Tricks

Parliament Buildings, Wellington, New Zealand

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Apparently Wellington has more cafes per head of population than New York .  I can tell you that if you are a coffee drinker – then Wellington is the place for you.  So much good quality coffee – we love these places, plus you can check out thir roasteries….go on, I know you want to.  Wellington really is a great place if you love travel and food, here is our guide to Wellington foodie places.

We are also very, very spoilt for choice for food.  Definitely try and check out some of these, we love them, and have enjoyed good food/drinks and service at them all, all do blooming good coffee, so here are the places we love (and frequent):

  • Astoria – excellent service, very speedy in the morning, and are very, very delicious Bacon Sandwich.
  • VicBooks – 2 locations –  the best Lemon, Honey and Ginger in town, and they have Little Dough Co doughnuts Thurs- Sat
  • Ombra – great Venetian food, service and wines
  • Dragonfly – delicious food and cocktails.  Great outdoor courtyard hidden away behind the restaurant
  • WBC – tucked away up some stairs on Victoria St, delicious seasonal food
  • Capitol – perfect spot to eat delicious food and people watch
  • Havana – great food, service and cocktails.  After dinner you can pop next door to the bar.  Plus they have daily sunshine deals on drinks.
  • Floriditas – delicious food, very yummy baking, and they do a lovely Bellini with their breakfast menu
  • Loretta – sister restaurant to Floriditas.  Amazing menu, loads of salads, grain based dishes and overall deliciousness.
  • Fidels – good food, delicious baking, outside area to park up in
  • Fisherman’s Plate – this looks like a fish and chip shop (not a bad thing) but they also do very, very good Vietnamese food.  Fresh.  Unassuming. Delicious.
  • Southern Cross – o.k I have to admit I used to drink a lot of beer here when I was a student. But this place is no longer that place.  They have great food and a fabulous beer garden. They also have a Kids Club that does workshops, theatre and the like – and they do birthday parties.  We attended a 10th birthday party there and it was chocker with families having breakfast. If that isn’t your thing – head in later in the day, find a spot and while away some time.
  • Moore Wilsons – not a cafe or a restaurant.  But the food – my goodness. The finest food from the region and further afield – bread, baking, cakes, cheese, coffee….and the list goes on
  • Drink craft beer – so many choices – we like Garage Project and Black Dog – but there are so many to choose from

So many choices, and so many more.  If there is a particular kind of food experience of cuisine you want to know about – leave a comment below – or get in touch with Andrew, who could tailor a tour of some of our favourite spots for you.

Further afield…..

If you have a bit more time you should also head out to Petone (train, bus, drive)  where another foodie mecca awaits– but that would be a whole other guide!

Wellington is a great place to explore. Lots to do and see – plus the people are lovely and friendly.

Wellington New Zealand

Come and visit, you can’t beat Wellington on a good day, hopefully our guide to Wellington whet your appetite. In case you need more of an incentive to come and visit, check out these gorgeous videos of Wellington:

‘The Coolest Little Capital in the World’ by Stephen Patience

‘Little Wellington‘  by Michael Jooss.

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16 Comments

  1. May 6, 2017 / 9:51 am

    My favourite city in the world! I lived in Welly for 10 months and fell head over heels for it – even it’s winds!

    • reddoorponderings
      May 6, 2017 / 11:16 pm

      So pleased to hear Wellington is your favourite city – it is a great place indeed.

  2. May 6, 2017 / 10:15 am

    loving all your suggestions! can’t wait to explore this city one day! and your photos are making me eager to make that day soon!

    • reddoorponderings
      May 6, 2017 / 11:16 pm

      Thanks for your feedback! You should visit- it is a great place to explore.

  3. May 7, 2017 / 8:07 am

    This is a great guide. We loved our time in Wellington last year. You might be understating the hills a fraction and as a cyclist I can tell you the wind is quite a challenge. You may be anchored firmly to the ground when the wind picks up but it makes life tricky for those of us on bicycles. Cycling is either almost impossible or ridiculously easy – depending on whether the wind is a head wind or a tail wind.

    • reddoorponderings
      May 8, 2017 / 4:59 am

      Good point about the cycling. Sometimes I have almost been at a standstill while cycling into the wind! Thanks for your feedback.

  4. May 7, 2017 / 10:29 am

    It certainly looks like a cool city! We’ll have to visit soon. Thanks for adding your inspiration to #wkendtravelinspiration!

  5. May 8, 2017 / 1:07 am

    I had no idea that weather in Wellington is that temperamental. Good to know! I would love to visit New Zealand some day, and Wellington would most definitely be one of my stops. Looks like a great town you have there. #WkendTravelInspiration

    • reddoorponderings
      May 8, 2017 / 4:59 am

      It is definitely worth a visit!

  6. May 8, 2017 / 7:31 am

    I’ve never been to New Zealand, but when I think of it, I tend to think of trips in the countryside. I guess that’s what I hear about most. Wellington sounds beautiful though!

    • reddoorponderings
      May 11, 2017 / 5:43 am

      The countryside is beautiful – we are renowned for it!

  7. May 8, 2017 / 10:39 am

    Wellington is my favourite weekend getaway. Two of my top things to do include a visit Te Papa and sitting in on a session of Parliament. Wellington also has the best Mexican restaurant that I have found in New Zealand.

    • reddoorponderings
      May 11, 2017 / 5:44 am

      It is a great place for a weekend getaway. Best Mexican restaurant? Which one is that – may have to check it out!

  8. May 11, 2017 / 10:57 pm

    Love how you ‘fessed up about the weather first up. I’ve not been to Wellington – we’ve just been to the south island but I can see from your photos how beautiful it is, especially the harbour. Hope we get to Windy Wellington one day soon. Thanks for linking up.

    • reddoorponderings
      May 11, 2017 / 11:34 pm

      It is beautiful. Ha. yes our weather is infamous – but I think that’s what gives it character.

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