- PRICES LIST
- HOTELS (BEST RATED)
- HOTELS (BEST VALUE)
- COFFEE & DRINK
- SIGHTS & LANDMARKS
- MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
- THINGS TO DO
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- THINGS TO KNOW
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Wellington is the capital city and second most populous urban area of New Zealand, with 398,300 residents.
It is located at the south-western tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range. It is the major population centre of the southern North Island, and is the administrative centre of the Wellington Region, which also includes the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa. Wellington is the world's southernmost capital city of a sovereign state.
Wellington became New Zealand's capital city in 1865, replacing Auckland; the government wanted a more centrally-located city as capital to quell the South Island nationalist movement.
Wellington offers a blend of culture, heritage, fine food and coffee, together with lively arts and entertainment.
Surrounded by hills and a rugged coastline, the city has a stunning harbour. Wellington’s charm is that it serves up a vibrant inner city experience with a slice of New Zealand scenery. And because of its compact nature, you can sample it all: boutiques, art galleries, trendy cafés and restaurants. Right on its doorstep is a network of walking and biking trails with beautiful wineries and vineyards just a few hours away.
Wellington offers an array of theatre, music, dance, fine arts and galleries and museums. It is also home to one of the nation’s key attractions, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
The 2014 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Wellington 12th in the world.
|POPULATION :||City: / Urban: 398,300 / Metro: 402,300|
|TIME ZONE :||NZST (UTC+12) Summer: NZDT (UTC+13)|
|RELIGION :||Anglican 13.8%, Roman Catholic 12.6%, Presbyterian, Congregational, and Reformed 10%, Christian (no denomination specified) 4.6%, Methodist 3%, Pentecostal 2%, Baptist 1.4%, other Christian 3.8%, Maori Christian 1.6%, Hindu 1.6%, Buddhist 1.3%, none 32.2%, other or unidentified 12.1%|
|AREA :||444 km2 (171 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft|
|COORDINATES :||41°17′20″S 174°46′38″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.11% |
• Female: 50.89%
|ETHNIC :||European 56.8%, Asian 8%, Maori 7.4%, Pacific islander 4.6%, mixed 9.7%, other 13.5%|
|AREA CODE :||04|
|POSTAL CODE :||5010, 5011, 5012, 5013, 5014, 5016, 5018, 5019, 5022, 5024, 5026, 5028, 6011, 6012, 6021, 6022, 6023, 6035, 6037|
|DIALING CODE :||+64 4|
Wellington is marketed as the 'coolest little capital in the world' by Positively Wellington Tourism, an award-winning regional tourism organisation set up as a council controlled organisation by Wellington City Council in 1997.
Popular tourist attractions include Museum of Wellington City & Sea, Wellington Zoo, Zealandia and Wellington Cable Car. Cruise tourism is experiencing a major boom in line with nationwide development. The 2010/11 season saw 125,000 passengers and crew visit on 60 liners. There were 80 vessels booked for visits in the 2011/12 season – estimated to inject more than NZ$31 million into the economy and representing a 74% increase in the space of two years.
Wellington is a popular conference tourism destination due to its compact nature, cultural attractions, award-winning restaurants and access to government agencies. In the year ending March 2011, there were 6495 conference events involving nearly 800,000 delegate days; this injected approximately NZ$100 million into the economy.
Wellington Visitor Information Centre
Wellington Visitor Information Centre (iSITE), Civic Square, Corner Victoria and Wakefield St, , toll-free: 0800 933 5363. A good place to begin your Wellington visit - they're able to book accommodation, activities and provide useful information about Wellington and surrounding areas. Their website contains the same information and is worth checking out prior to your visit. They are a member of the national i-SITE visitor information centre network.
Legends recount that Kupe discovered and explored the district in about the 10th century. The earliest date with hard evidence for Maori living in New Zealand is about 1280. European settlement began with the arrival of an advance party of the New Zealand Company on the ship Tory on 20 September 1839, followed by 150 settlers on the Aurora on 22 January 1840. The settlers constructed their first homes at Petone (which they called Britannia for a time) on the flat area at the mouth of the Hutt River. When that proved swampy and flood prone they transplanted the plans, which had been drawn without regard for the hilly terrain.
In 1865, Wellington became the capital city in place of Auckland, which William Hobson had made the capital in 1841. The Parliament of New Zealand had first met in Wellington on 7 July 1862, on a temporary basis; in November 1863, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Alfred Domett, placed a resolution before Parliament in Auckland that "... it has become necessary that the seat of government ... should be transferred to some suitable locality in Cook Strait [region]." Apparently there had been some concerns that the more populous South Island (where the goldfields were located) would choose to form a separate colony in the British Empire. Several Commissioners invited from Australia, chosen for their neutral status, declared that Wellington was a suitable location because of its central location in New Zealand and good harbour. Parliament officially met in Wellington for the first time on 26 July 1865. At that time, the population of Wellington was just 4,900.Wellington's status as capital is by constitutional convention rather than statute.
The city averages 2,059 hours of sunshine per year.
The climate is a temperate marine one, is generally moderate all year round, and rarely sees temperatures above 25 °C (77 °F) or below 4 °C (39 °F).
The hottest recorded temperature is 31.1 °C (88 °F), while −1.1 °C (30 °F) is the coldest.
The city is notorious for its southerly blasts in winter, which may make the temperature feel much colder.
It is generally very windy all year round with high rainfall; average annual rainfall is 1,244 mm (49 in),
June and July being the wettest months.
Frosts are quite common in the hill suburbs and the Hutt Valley between May and September. Snow is very rare at low altitudes, although snow fell on the city and many other parts of the Wellington region during separate events in July and August 2011.
|Record high °C (°F)||30.1|
|Average high °C (°F)||20.1|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||16.6|
|Average low °C (°F)||13.1|
|Record low °C (°F)||4.1|
Wellington is at the south-western tip of the North Island on Cook Strait, separating the North and South Islands. On a clear day the snowcapped Kaikoura Ranges are visible to the south across the strait. To the north stretch the golden beaches of the Kapiti Coast. On the east the Rimutaka Range divides Wellington from the broad plains of the Wairarapa, a wine region of national notability. With a latitude of 41° 17' South, Wellington is the southernmost capital city in the world.It is also the most remote capital city, the farthest away from any other capital.
The Government sector has long been a mainstay of the economy, which has typically risen and fallen with it. Traditionally, its central location meant it was the location of many head offices of various sectors – particularly finance, technology and heavy industry – many of which have since relocated to Auckland following economic deregulation and privatisation.
In recent years, tourism, arts and culture, film, and ICT have played a bigger role in the economy. Wellington's median income is well above the average in New Zealand, and the highest of all New Zealand cities. It has a much higher proportion of people with tertiary qualifications than the national average.
The urban area stretches across the areas administered by the city councils of Wellington, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Porirua.
Wellington Central Library (in the city square, next to the information centre). It's huge with great places to sit and read or if you bring your laptop to connect home via one of the city's paid-for Wi-Fi networks. Entry is free.
CBD Free WIFI, +64 4 909 7625. Free Wifi is available on the waterfront between the Railway Station and Te Papa. This is paid for by some adverts.
Prices in Wellington
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Milk||1 liter||$ 1.25|
|Tomatoes||1 kg||$ 3.60|
|Cheese||0.5 kg||$ 5.40|
|Apples||1 kg||$ 2.40|
|Oranges||1 kg||$ 2.50|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$ 3.80|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||$ 10.00|
|Coca-Cola||2 liters||$ 2.15|
|Bread||1 piece||$ 1.40|
|Water||1.5 l||$ 1.50|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||$ 37.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||$ 55.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||$ 90.00|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||$ 7.00|
|Water||0.33 l||$ 1.95|
|Cappuccino||1 cup||$ 2.90|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||$ 5.20|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$ 4.20|
|Coca-Cola||0.33 l||$ 1.75|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||$ 10.00|
|Cinema||2 tickets||$ 22.00|
|Gym||1 month||$ 50.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||$|
|Theatar||2 tickets||$ 100.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||$ 0.27|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||$ 14.00|
|Antibiotics||1 pack||$ 5.70|
|Tampons||32 pieces||$ 4.80|
|Deodorant||50 ml.||$ 4.00|
|Shampoo||400 ml.||$ 4.00|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||$ 1.60|
|Toothpaste||1 tube||$ 2.60|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||$ 75.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||$ 45.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||$ 88.00|
|Leather shoes||1||$ 95.00|
|Gasoline||1 liter||$ 1.30|
|Taxi||1 km||$ 2.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||$ 2.60|
61 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
227 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
Wellington International Airport (IATA: WLG) is in Rongotai, about 5 km (3 mi) southeast from the central city. It sits on an isthmus between the Miramar Peninsula and Mount Victoria. The southerly approach is over Cook Strait, while the northerly approach is over the harbour.
Wellington airport is a major transit point for domestic travellers. There are frequent flights to Auckland,Christchurch, Palmerston North,Rotorua, Hamilton, Nelson,Blenheim and many other destinations. International flights from Australia (Sydney, Melbourne,Brisbane) arrive about twice daily: the evening flights arrive after midnight when most facilities are closed. There are also seasonal flights between Wellington and Fiji.
Landing at Wellington Airport in a strong wind can be an adventure, and most pilots adopt a powered approach, followed by a full reverse thrust and hard braked landing due to the shortness of the runway (2,081 m). This tends to create a roller-coaster ride, so make sure your seatbelt is securely fastened and all loose items are stowed before landing. Many locals swap stories of approaches with large dips, shudders, bumps, sudden sideways movement, followed by the plane going around for a second (and even sometimes a third) attempt to land. While there has been the odd two-seater landing on its roof, no large passenger plane has ever had a serious accident in Wellington.
There is a regular airport bus known as the Flyer that departs from the south end of the domestic terminal until 21:00. Shuttle van services, taxis and covered car parking are directly outside the terminal.
When you get to the airport, call the Metlink hotline at 0800 801700. They answer very quickly and a friendly person will tell you what bus to take and even what special pass to buy (for example, if after the "Flyer" you are taking a train) if you say where you are going.
There are regular ferries between Wellington and Picton in the South Island operated by Interislander and Bluebridge, connecting with buses and the train to Christchurch. The Bluebridge terminal is next to the railway station. The Interislander terminal is about 2 km (1 mi) northeast of the railway station, and a $2 shuttle bus runs between it and the station (bus terminal next to Platform 9). Some cruise ships from overseas stop in Wellington.
Wellington is located at the southern tip of the North Island and is accessed from the north via two State Highways: State Highway 1 and State Highway 2. From most destinations in the North Island, you'll follow State Highway 1 south of Levin through the Kapiti Coast, Porirua and northern suburbs of Wellington. From the Hawke's Bay and the Wairarapa, you'll follow State Highway 2 over the Rimutaka Ranges and through Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt. Both routes meet at the Ngauranga Interchange, on the harbour shoreline 5 km north of the city centre.
Due to difficult terrain, there are sections of winding two-laned roads on both routes approaching Wellington. Traffic on State Highway 1 will encounter the Centennial Highway between Paekakariki and Pukerua Bay, where the road and railway run along a very narrow strip of land between the hills and the sea. Traffic on State Highway 2 will encounter the Rimutaka Hill Road, which winds its way over the Rimutaka Ranges and may occasionally close due to high winds or snow during winter. While authorities are working on improvements, serious and fatal crashes are common on these roads: remember to keep left, maintain a reasonable speed, and use the passing lanes to overtake slower traffic.
Hitchhiking from central Wellington is difficult as most traffic stays within the metropolitan area, and it is illegal to hitchhike on the motorway until the Hutt Valley (about 15 km or 9 mi northeast of Wellington) or Paremata (about 20 km or 12 mi north). If intending to hitchhike, you are best to catch a train to Waikanae or Upper Hutt and walk to the main highways to catch a lift from there (the best spot for Upper Hutt hitchhikers is at the Caltex petrol station about a 3 km walk north from the railway station along Fergusson Drive). Using a sign will help in finding a willing driver going your way.
Approximate distances and non-stop travel times to Wellington:
- Auckland – 640 km, 8 hours
- Hamilton – 520 km, 6.5 hours
- Rotorua – 460 km, 6 hours
- New Plymouth – 360 km, 5 hours
- Napier/Hastings – 310 km, 4.5 hours
- Palmerston North – 140 km, 2 hours
- Masterton – 100 km, 1.5 hours
The Northern Explorer train service runs between Wellington and Auckland, with departures from Auckland on Sat, Mon and Thur, and departures from Wellington on Sun, Tue and Fri. There is a once per day commuter service from Palmerston North, and a five-times-daily service from Masterton and the Wairarapa. Half-hourly suburban commuter service connect Wellington to Johnsonville, the Hutt Valley, Porirua, and Waikanaeon the Kapiti Coast.
National bus carrier InterCity Coachlines operates bus services to Wellington from across the North Island. Daily services operate between Auckland, New Plymouth, Napier, Hastings and Palmerston North. All InterCity Wellington services depart and arrive at Platform 9 at the Wellington Railway Station.
Nakedbus offers a more limited national network and offers daily (and some overnight) services to most major destinations on the North Island. These depart from a bus stop opposite the Amora Hotel on Wakefield Street or outside the McDonalds on Bunny Street, right opposite the Railway Station.
Transportation - Get Around
It's easy to get around the central city on foot, as it's very compact and pedestrian-friendly. In addition, the city's extensive public transit network with buses, commuter trains, and suburban ferries is available to take you further afield.
- (Greater Wellington Regional Council - Transport), toll-free:0800 801 700. Provides full information about routes and fares about Wellington's public transport system. They also have a m.metlink.org.nz mobile website for smartphones
The core of Wellington is notably compact and vibrant, and is well-suited to exploration by walking. As dictated by geography, the core of the city is quite linear, with the classic commercial backbone known as the Golden Mile making for a diverting and pleasant walking route. This route runs from the Railway Station down Lambton Quay to its southern end at Willis Street. It then runs down lower Willis Street to Manners Street, and continues straight onto Courtenay Place. On the Manners Street section, the route crosses Wellington's bohemian heartland of Cuba Street, which heads south into the core of Te Aro. While these streets mark the traditional core of the commercial city, the surrounding blocks also have plenty to be seen.
Another enjoyable and popular place to amble in the city core is theWaterfront, from the revitalized Kumutoto area in the north, past Queen's Wharf to Frank Kitts Park, and then through the Lagoon and City-to-Sea Bridge areas and on to the Te Papa museum and Waitangi Park. From here the waterfront curves northeastward along lovely Oriental Bay with its beach and promenade.
Wellington city itself has an extensive network of buses, including a significant number of routes served by electric trolleybuses. Excellent and free network maps and route timetables and maps are available from locations throughout town, including the main visitor centre in Civic Square, the Central Library, and many convenience stores. You can also access the timetables and maps online. While these maps can be quite useful if you desire to travel into the suburbs, they aren't generally necessary if you simply want to travel across the central city. Being a rather linear city, the heart of Wellington is heavily served by the central bus corridor between the Railway Station and Courtenay Place. Nearly all lines run along this section, so you rarely have to wait more than a few minutes to catch a ride. The route is approximately as follows:
- Out of the Railway Station bus terminal onto Lambton Quay.
- Lambton Quay to Willis Street.
- Willis Street to Manners Street, continuing straight to Courtenay Place
- From Courtenay Place straight onto Manners Street
- Manners Street to Willis Street
- Willis Street to Lambton Quay to the Railway Station.
You can always call the friendly hotline at 0800 801700 and they will tell you what buses to take and how much it will cost.
Bus fares use a zone structure. While the entire Metlink network has 14 zones, nearly the entire city of Wellington (extending to the water's edge in the south, east, and west, and as far north as Churton Park) exists within three zones. As of December 2014, adult cash fares are $2.00 for one zone, $3.50 for two zones, and $5.00 for three zones. Special fares apply on the orange 91 Airport Flyer bus.
If you plan to use the bus extensively, you can buy a day pass which allows unlimited trips after 09:00 on weekdays and all day weekends and holidays. The $9.50 BusAbout Wellington–Hutt Valley pass allows you to travel on Go Wellington (yellow) and Valley Flyer (purple) buses; the $21.00 Metlink Explorer also allows you to travel on Newlands and Mana (lime green) buses to the northern Wellington suburbs and Porirua, and on Tranz Metro electric train services. Both can be bought from the bus driver.
In addition, electronic Snapper fare cards are available from most supermarkets and convenience stores, which provide approximately 25% discount off adult fares on Go Wellington, Valley Flyer and Airport Flyer buses. These cards can be topped up electronically at various agencies for a small fee. However, you need to remember to tag not only when you board the bus but also as you leave the bus, or you will be charged for the whole route.
The train is the best form of public transport between the central city and Johnsonville, as well as the Hutt Valley, Porirua and the Kapiti Coast - although you do have to walk from Melling or Western Hutt, or catch a bus from Petone or Waterloo (Hutt Central) stations to central Lower Hutt's CBD. Services run half-hourly on the Hutt Valley, Kapiti and Johnsonville lines seven days a week, and hourly on the Melling line on weekdays. At peak times, services run much more frequently.
At Wellington station the destination and departure time of the next train departing from each platform is displayed on the message board at the entry to each platform. Two announcements are made a few minutes before each train is due to depart.
Tickets can be bought at the Wellington station ticket office or suburban ticket agents. Since most smaller stations do not have ticket offices, you can also buy single journey tickets and day passes, with cash, from the conductor onboard the train. Ten-trip tickets and monthly passes do need to be purchased from a station ticket office or suburban ticket agents in advance.
A $14.00 Day Rover pass allows unlimited trips on any of the four electric commuter lines (i.e. Johnsonville, Kapiti, Hutt Valley and Melling) after 09:00 weekdays and all day on weekends. This can often work out cheaper than buying separate tickets if you need to make two or more journeys. A $21.00 3 Day Weekend Rover pass is available for train travel from 04:30 Friday to midnight Sunday. If you have a group of people, a $40.00 Group Rover pass allows up to 4 people to travel together on the same conditions as a Day Rover. The Metlink Explorer, Day Rover, 3 Day Weekend Rover and Group Rover passes are NOT accepted on the diesel-hauled Wairarapa Connection service.
By cable car
The Kelburn cable car is a Wellington icon. It provides a regular service between Lambton Quay and Kelburn. The Wellington city terminal is at the end of Cable Car Lane, just off Lambton Quay, near the intersection with Grey Street. The Kelburn terminal is at the end of Upland Road by an entrance to the Botanic Gardens.
As in all New Zealand cities, taxi rates vary according to the company. There is a "flagfall" charge, then a per kilometre charge once the cab starts moving. Extra fees apply for things like airport pickup, phone booking, electronic payment etc. Major taxi companies in Wellington include (alphabetically) Combined, Corporate, Green and Kiwi. There are many alternate taxi companies and taxis are usually in plentiful supply.
Check the door of the taxi before you get in for the current approved fare rates.
As noted above, driving in the core of Wellington is generally not necessary or as convenient as walking. However, it's not particularly difficult once you learn the one-way system, nor is traffic a big worry outside of normal rush-hour periods.
Street and garage/surface lot parking is not particularly difficult for a city of Wellington's density, but as with any city you may have to search a bit for a street spot. Street parking is generally metered in the centre at a rate of $4/h (M-Th 08:00-18:00, F 08:00-20:00), often with a one or two hour time limit. Multi-storey car parks tend to be similarly priced, but you can generally stay for longer periods.
In the suburbs immediately surrounding the city, coupon parking zones exist in conjunction with Resident Only parking. In the Coupon Zones, two hours of parking are free. Beyond that you must display a coupon to allow you to park for the entire day. These are available at convenience stores for $5 each. Enforcement of the Coupon Zones is 08:00-18:00. Resident Zones are generally reserved for residents (displaying a current permit) at all times, and you may be served with a ticket for parking there without a permit.
On the weekend, metered car parking is free, with a two-hour time limit on both days.
The Eastbourne ferry service, which provides regular services between Queens Wharf and Days Bay in Eastbourne, also stops at Somes Island most trips.
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
Wellington has a lot of restaurants and cafés, in fact more cafés, bars and restaurants per head than New York City. Malaysian food is surprisingly popular and available in most areas. You can also get good Turkish kebabs anywhere in the city, or Lebanese at the Phoenician Falafel on Kent Terrace (their kebabs are better than all the Turkish places too). Fish and chips is the best value food and you usually get better quality in the suburbs.
More or less traditional
- Aro Street Fish and Chips, Aro St.
- The Backbencher, 34 Molesworth St, Thorndon (opposite Parliament), . Dine with the political figures of the day, who have a menu to match their misfortunes (the desserts are named after has-been MPs - "still sticking around"). A light-hearted political/current affairs show is broadcast from the Backbencher on Wednesday nights (except in summer) and the bar will often be packed with Members of Parliament, Parliamentary staff, political activists, and journalists. Crowd participation is encouraged, with heckling common, but the audience are good-natured, as a camaraderie has developed amongst most activists, regardless of affiliation.
- The Green Parrot, 16 Taranaki St, . Opened in the 1920s and offers a very interesting atmosphere. Great food, large portions, open late, and serves free bread with every meal. The filet mignon is great. $10-30.
- Aunty Mena's Vegetarian Restaurant and Cafe, 167 Cuba St, Te Aro, . Lunch & dinner M-Su. Vegan Malaysian/Chinese food. Friendly staff & a homely atmosphere. $10-20.
- Cinta Malaysian Restaurant, Manners St (facing the Manners park). Affordable Malaysian food with nice cultural decorations and cosy lighting.
- Little Penang, 40 Dixon St. Cheap, very authentic Penang-style street food, run by a friendly family from Malaysia. Great for lunch or dinner. Some menu items are only available on certain days, so have a look at the menu board (assam laksa on Thursdays is especially good - spicy, sour fish noodle soup). $2-15.
- Satay Palace, Cuba St (between Floridita's and Aunt Mena's). Don't let the run-down décor fool you, ultra-cheap, excellent food and service.
- Satay Village, 58 Ghuznee St. These guys do a good curry laksa. Locals love this place because the owner seems to be able to recall what people have ordered before with near perfect accuracy.
- Satay Kingdom, Left-Bank (off Cuba Mall). This is the student Malaysian restaurant. On most evenings you will find it overflowing with people coming in for its cheap and hearty food. But don't be put off by the large numbers, the service is incredibly fast with food often arriving at your table before you if you're not quick!
- Great India. Very well-known restaurant. Has won the Wine & Food challenge for several years running.
- Tulsi, 135 Cuba St. Or takeaway in the BNZ food court. Their butter chicken was voted best in Wellington.
- Higher Taste, Lower Ground, Old Bank Arcade, Customhouse Quay. The only pure vegetarian Indian Restaurant.
- Indus, Tinakori Rd, Thorndon (Near the Thorndon shops and Premier House).They do delicious North Indian food, and their tandoori chicken is fabulous.
In Newtown: Some of the best ethnic restaurants are on Adelaide Road/Riddiford Street in the southern suburb of Newtown, between Wellington Hospital and the Zoo.
- Curry Heaven. A fantastic small traditional restaurant, the people are friendly and do takeaways, the Malai Kofta is excellent.
- Planet Spice. Two doors down from Curry Heaven on Adelaide Rd, they have an upstairs area.
- Indian Sweets and Snacks, 176 Riddiford St. A truly Indian experience, all traditional curries, and Indian sweets, very authentic, best place for a home-sick Indian.
- Yoshi Sushi & Bento, 126 Featherston Street & 110 Lambton Quay, Wellington CBD, , , fax: , e-mail:[email protected]. M-F 9.30-17.00. Japanese cuisine. Enjoy the stylish and modern atmosphere. Choose from the vast array of Japanese sushi and sides starting from as little as $1 or enjoy a delicious Japanese bento (lunchbox), Japanese udon soup, salad, miso soup, or a combination of them all. Catering also available.
- California Sushi, Left Bank off Cuba St. Yummy food and friendly shop owners. The place might not look like much, but they provide excellent service. Has been closed for health and safety reasons but is open again.
- Kazu Yakitori & Sake Bar, Level 1, 43 Courtenay Pl (Upstairs). 17:00-late.Japanese-style barbeque, fresh sushi, great selection of beer and sake.
- Sakura, Cnr Whitmore and Featherston St, , fax: . Tu-F 11:3014:00, Tu-Sa 17:3022:00. Japanese cuisine, fresh sushi, great selection of beer and sake. $15-20.
- Domo Sushi, 22 Brandon St. Excellent, freshly made sushi served by a very enthusiastic and welcoming Japanese man. Mainly caters to the lunchtime office-worker crowd, being just off Lambton Quay.
- Viva Mexico, 210 Left Bank, off Cuba Mall (apparently they have a second restaurant at 180 Riddiford St, Newtown these days: +64 4 389-0975), , e-mail: [email protected]. The most authentic, home-style Mexican food you'll find in Wellington. Seem to be open all day, but definitely book for dinner at the Newtown one. $10-20.
- La Boca Loca, 19 Park Rd, Miramar, , e-mail:[email protected]. A bit out-of-the-way in Miramar, but still authentic, interesting Mexican cuisine. Good selection of proper Mexican tequilas. Open every day (except Tuesday) for brunch, lunch and dinner. Adjoining shop sells imported foodstuffs from Mexico, including masa, dried chillies and condiments.$10-20.
- Pan de Muerto, 82 Tory St, , e-mail:[email protected]. 17:00-late. A more contemporary, experimental style of Mexican cuisine, in cosy, dark surroundings. The psychedelic, Day-of-the-Dead-themed decor is really something to behold! Becomes a cocktail/tequila bar after 23:00 on Friday and Saturday nights. $15-30.
- Fisherman's Plate, 12 Bond St. Looks like your average family-run fish-and-chips shop, but they also do excellent Vietnamese food, with an emphasis on noodle soups. Sit right up the back in the dinky plastic chairs for an even more authentic Vietnamese experience. $5-15.
- NAM, Willis Street Village, 142-148 Willis St. Good Vietnamese food. They also run a takeaway shop next door which is the place to get some lovely banh mi ($7.50) for lunch and a sweet dessert (a mung-bean sesame ball is recommended). If you go too late they may have sold out of banh mi for the day, though. $10-20.
- Phong Vu, 210A Left Bank Arcade (off Cuba St). Open for lunch and dinner, closed Sundays. They have all the Vietnamese basics covered, $10-20; also allows BYO.
- Wellington Night Market, Left Bank of Cuba Mall. F 17:00-23:00. Nice selection of food stalls offering cheap food ($10-15 at most) from around the world, including Chinese, South Indian, African, Filipino, and Malaysian. Has a quirky, bohemian vibe; live music sometimes, and a few little crafty-type stalls as well.
- Harbourside Market. Lively market along the waterfront near Te Papa, every Sunday morning. All sorts of fruit/veges and other food supplies, but in terms of finding breakfast/lunch, there are a good variety of options in the $10-or-less range, including casual-yet-sophisticated, Kiwi-style barbecue stalls (look out for the pulled-pork-sandwiches place; fish is good too), plus Vietnamese, South Indian dhosa, Chilean hot dogs, South American churros etc. Everything finishes up by about 13:00-14:00.
- Taste on Willis, 1 Willis St, Wellington Central (cnr Willeston St). There is a food court in the basement of the State Insurance Building (the big black square tower that looks like, in one architect's opinion, Darth Vader's pencil box). It has been neglected for many years and might not be the most pleasant place to dine, even if the stalls' food is good. It is mostly frequented by the many office workers in the area looking for a place where all co-workers can dine together happily. There is Sushi, Indian, Greek, Turkish stalls, amongst others. There are few seats not taken at lunchtime, so you may want to just get take-away. Some of the stalls offer discounted food after 14:00, and are all closed by 15:00.
- The White House, 232 Oriental Parade, Oriental Bay, , e-mail: [email protected]. Lunch F (more frequent in Nov-Dec), Dinner daily 18:00 onwards. Winner of numerous awards, specialising in seafood, NZ meats and organic vegetables.
- Logan Brown, 192 Cuba St (corner of Cuba and Vivian Sts), . In the former banking chamber of an historic banking building.
- Boulcott Street Bistro, 99 Boulcott St, , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. Bistro Lunch M-F from 12:00, Bistro Dinner M-Sa from 18:00, Wine bar all day M-F, reservations accepted for lunch only. Private room available for groups of 10-16. Modern bistro. Classic combinations, fresh ingredients, attentive service. Starters $14-21, mains $29-35.
- Pravda - elegant bistro dining, 107 Customhouse Quay (Part of the Lambton shopping precinct), . early to late. Pravda means “The Truth” in Russian, but here it is a cafe, bistro, bar and restaurant. The coffee is strong, the food is diverse and of a high standard. $8-40.
Coffe & Drink
Wellington is home to a range of good coffee roasteries. Local roasters include Caffe L’affare, Coffee Supreme, Havana, Mojo, and People's Coffee. Below is a small range from the extensive café scene.
- Aro Café, Aro St. Offering a range of vegan and gluten-free food.
- Beach Babylon, 232 Oriental Parade, Oriental Bay, . 08:00-late. A retro, beach-paradise inspired cafe and restaurant with Wellington's best outdoor dining area. Serves good, retro New Zealand cuisine. $10-30.
- Caffe L’affare, 27 College St, . M–F 07:00-16:00, Sa 08:00-16:00, Su 09:00-16:00. Founded by an Italian and with its own roastery that supplies coffee to cafés and supermarkets across the country.
- Deluxe. Nestled beside the Embassy Theatre, Deluxe is the ideal pre-movie meeting place. Portions are well-sized and the food is tasty.
- Fidel's Café, 234 Cuba St. A popular destination, it is claimed to be one of Wellington's best-known cafés. Has a selection of vegetarian and vegan food.
- Floriditas, Cuba St on Marion Sq. Good cooking using fresh, locally grown and organic food that’s popular among foodies.
- Gasoline, between Woodward St and The Terrace. Caters to a largely corporate clientele.
- Maranui. In the surf life-saving club buildings at Lyall Bay (near the airport). Relax in front of a panorama of the beach and the Cook Strait.
- Memphis Belle. Great single origin filter coffees from Flight Coffee around the corner.
- Midnight Espresso. Selection of mostly vegetarian counter food.
- Neo Cafe & Eatery, 132 Willis St. A trendy café offering a delicious variety of cuisine and very good tea.
- Nikau. At the Art Gallery (Civic Square) - good food, but at relatively high prices.
- People's Coffee. Excellent single origin espresso in Newtown. Also, their "Brewtown" next door is a great place to try some filter coffee.
Sights & Landmarks
- Plimmer's Ark (Under and in the Old Bank Arcade on the corner of Lambton Quay and Customhouse Quay - near Plimmer's Steps.). A hundred years ago a Bank was built on top of a wrecked ship that had been used as a market. When they renovated the building they discovered the ship's timbers and preserved the remains in the building! Just take the escalator down through the bank vault doors
- Parliament Buildings, Molesworth Street, Thorndon, .Home of New Zealand's lawmakers and leaders, the complex consists of theBeehive (or Executive Wing), Parliament House and the Parliamentary Library. The grounds of Parliament are open to the public, and free tours of the buildings are available from the visitor centre located between the Beehive and Parliament House. For security reasons, you need to leave all your belongings at the visitor centre and clear a security checkpoint.
- National Library of New Zealand. corner of Aitken and Molesworth Streets (across the road from the Cathedral and Parliament). The library regularly holds exhibitions.
- Turnbull House, Bowen Street (just across the road from Parliament Buildings). This imposing brick mansion now seems small and out of place amongst the surrounding high-rises.
- Old Government Buildings (opposite Parliament at 15 Lambton Quay). This is the largest wooden building in the southern hemisphere and the second-largest in the world. It is now the home of Victoria University Law School. The Supreme Court (across the road) is worth spending a couple of minutes looking inside.
- Old St Paul's (one block east of Parliament). Daily 9.30am - 5pm. This was the Anglican centre for decades. Superseded by the new cathedral north of Parliament, this one is popular for weddings and funerals. donation, tours $5.
- Elmscourt (on the corner of The Terrace and Abel Smith Street). an historic art deco apartment block
Statues and sculptures appear in some intriguing places around town. Famous prime ministers, memorials, and works of art have all been erected in the streets of Wellington, including:
- Memorial statues to two prime ministers in the grounds of Parliament as well as a bicentennial memorial to Captain Cook's 1769 discovery of New Zealand.
- The Cenotaph on the corner of Lambton Quay and Bowen Street, just outside the Parliament Grounds, is where a Dawn Memorial Service is held every ANZAC Day (25 Apr).
- Behind Parliament, on the corner of Museum and Bowen Streets, is a small park with 3 sculptures in block.
- On the corner of Lambton Quay and Stout Street, the fallen column was created from a column and letters from the State Fire Insurance Building demolished in the 1980s.
- On Lambton Quay, opposite Cable Car Lane, the two stainless steel monolithswith pimples are actually a poem in Braille.
- Where Lambton Quay meets Featherston Street there is a wind mobile.
- The Bucket Fountain in Cuba Mall - a real splash, for many years.
- The Wellington City Council website provides a guide to its public art: Wellington City Council Public Art Guide. More information and a walking tour guide is available at Wellington Sculptures.
Wellington City is surrounded by hills, so there are a number of good vantage points.
- Wellington Cable Car, . M–F 07:00–22:00, shorter hours at weekends & around Christmas & New Year. From Lambton Quay (next to the McDonald's). The easiest way to get a nice view of the city and harbour, the Cable Car runs on rails from Lambton Quay to the Botanic Garden in Kelburn every ten minutes. Adult $4 one way, $7.50 return. Concession prices are available for children, students and senior citizens over 65.
- Mount Victoria, off Lookout Rd (take #20 bus from Courtenay Place). 196m high, this is the best lookout in Wellington. The full 360-degree view is a great place to see the airport, the harbour, the CBD and the Town Belt with just a turn of the head. It takes about an hour to walk up from Courtenay Place. Many tourist buses go there but also a lot of the locals, especially at night to 'watch the view'.
- Mount Kaukau, off Woodmancote Road, Khandallah (take Johnsonville train from Wellington Station to Khandallah). 455m high, and easily recognisable by the 122-metre television transmitter atop it. A great lookout point, but not as close to the city as Mt Victoria.
- Wrights Hill. More views, and WWII underground tunnels which are open to the public on public holidays for a small fee.
- Brooklyn Wind Turbine, off Ashton Fitchett Dr, Brooklyn. Another great place to go to get an excellent view of the city, the harbour, and Cook Strait, plus experience the wind! The current turbine was installed in 2016 and is the second on the site; the first was erected in 1993 to test the potential of turning Wellington's infamous wind into electricity.
- Massey Memorial, Massey Road, Miramar. An interesting place to go if you want to see a large memorial in the middle of nowhere, with a good view of the surrounding harbour. The memorial's namesake is William Massey, Prime Minister of New Zealand between 1912 and 1925.
- Zealandia (Karori Wildlife Sanctuary), Waiapu Rd, Karori (1st left after Karori Tunnel, take #3 or #23 bus from Lambton Quay). Daily 09:00-17:00 (last entry 16:00), closed 25 Dec. A predator-proof fence encloses an old water catchment area, forming a mainland island that provides a natural haven for endangered native birds, tuatara, wētā, and other indigenous flora and fauna, safe from introduced predators. By far the most convenient place in the country to see rare New Zealand wildlife. $17.50, child $9, more for guided tours.
- Matiu/Somes Island. Out in the middle of the harbour, this island has its share of history. It was once a quarantine station for immigrants, and later (and more extensively) for animals. It was also an internment camp for "dangerous" individuals during both world wars. The ferry leaves from Queen's Wharf and Day's Bay (on opposite sides of the harbour). Only at certain times will the ferry stop at the island and only upon request. The best choice is to leave Queen's Wharf at noon and return at 14:30 or 15:25. $18.50.
Museums & Galleries
- Te Papa, 55 Cable St, . F-W 10:00-18:00, Th 10:00-21:00.New Zealand's national museum contains interesting exhibitions on the country's history and culture and includes several shops. It has the only complete colossal squid on display. Free (except for the occasional special presentation).
- Museum of Wellington City & Sea, Queens Wharf, 3 Jervois Quay, . Daily 10:00-17:00, closed 25 Dec. Queens Wharf. A well-presented museum of the history of Wellington, including its maritime history.Free.
- City Gallery, Civic Square. Lacks a permanent collection but runs a consistently avant-garde set of exhibits. It also has the excellent café, Nikau, attached to it.
- Carter Observatory, 40 Salamanca Rd, Kelburn (2min walk from the top of the Cable Car), . 10:00-17:00. Recently re-opened, Carter offers a state of the art planetarium show, along with multi media exhibits show how early Māori, Polynesian and European settlers navigated their way to New Zealand. $18.
- BNZ Museum, Level 1, 60 Waterloo Quay (opposite Railway Station). M-F 09:30-16:00. Museum of banking history. Free.
- Cable Car Museum. Daily 09:30-17:00. Free.
- Holocaust Centre of New Zealand, 80 Webb St. Su-F 10:00-13:00. A small museum. Free.
- National Tattoo Museum of New Zealand, 187 Vivian St. F-Sa 12:00-20:00, Su-Th 12:00-17:30. History of tattooing in New Zealand and the Pacific, especially traditional Maori tattooing. Free.
- Reserve Bank Museum, 2 The Terrace. M-F (also Sa in Jan-Feb) 09:30-16:00. Small museum on the economic history of the country, with an unusual analog water powered computer.
Things to do
Parks and gardens
- The Botanic Garden is a nice place to go for a picnic, or just an afternoon walk (or run for a challenging fitness experience). You can take the Cable Car from Lambton Quay for a quick 5-minute trip to the top; but it is not designed to be exciting, despite being photogenic. If you're keen on walking up, take the lifts in the The James Cook Arcade (or one of several others along Lambton Quay) up to The Terrace, head south uphill until you reach Salamanca Rd. Head uphill up Salamanca Rd until you reach Victoria University. A set of stairs on the opposite side of the road to the Hunter Lawn goes uphill right to the top of the Gardens. If you already shelled out for a Busabout Daypass ticket, just catch the Mairangi bus, get off at the stop after the University, and walk back along Upland Rd until you reach the Cable Car Museum. At the top of the Gardens, there are several attractions:
- The Cable Car Museum has two of the old cars in semi-restored and fully-restored condition and some of the original Cable Car machinery from the system that was replaced in 1978.
- The Lookout has a great view day or night, and the large map next to the round tree usually has a few pamphlets with maps of the Gardens.
- The Carter Observatory is a stones throw from here. This is the perfect place to explore the Garden from, or wander back to the city.
- Bolton Street Memorial Park. Watch out for the friendly black cat who haunts this hillside cemetery. If you're returning from the Botanic Gardens by foot, this is great place to meander through and check out the epitaphs of early pioneers and historical figures. Between 1968 and 1971, over 3700 bodies were controversially exhumed to make way for motorway construction; their remains are now in an underground vault below the Early Settlers Memorial Lawn.
- Red Rocks/ Seal Colony. This is an interesting walk named for its distinctive red rocks (probably Jasper). Take the number 1 bus to the end (Island Bay). Walk across the park towards the ocean and hang a right. There is another bus, number 4, that goes to the end of the road but only at certain times. Travel west (right side, if facing the water) until you run out of road. Here you will find a disused quarry and a soon-to-open visitors centre. The walk along this beach is pleasant but rocky and often very windy, so dress accordingly. If you walk for about an hour you'll come across a distinctive pass though the rock face. Just on the other side of this is a seal colony that is worth the walk. Please bear in mind that these are wild animals and so require a certain level of respect, so keep your distance and don't get between them and the sea, especially if you value your health! Continuing on from here, you will eventually arrive at Makara (but this is a long distance, and the seal colony is a recommended turn-around point).
- Dive the frigate Wellington (F69). Probably the world's most accessible dive wreck. Just a few kilometres around the coast from Wellington International Airport. Sunk on 13 November 2005 in 23-26m of water off Island Bay on Wellington's south coast. The wreck lies about 600m southeast of Taputeranga Island (the island of Island Bay).
- Take a ferry across the harbour. Go down to Queen's Wharf and check out the destinations and times.
- Oriental Bay, Oriental Parade (Past Te Papa). Oriental Parade is Wellington's most beautiful street. Wellingtonians and visitors run, walk, cycle, rollerblade and eat at the great cafes & restaurants on this strip or sunbathe at the beach. However if you are not from somewhere really cold it is unlikely that it will be hot enough for you to be in desperate need for a swim. There is a spa pool (jacuzzi) in Freyberg Swimming Pool (on Oriental Parade) which is inexpensive if you enjoy "people soup".
- Skyline Walkway.
- Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park.
- Karori Cemetery is an interesting picnic spot.
- Frank Kitts Park. A great place to wander around, with walls to climb, inline skates, and jet ski rental.
- Circa Theatre.
- Bats Theatre.
- Downstage Theatre.
- Capital E National Theatre for Children.
- The Embassy Theatre, 10 Kent Terrace (opposite Courtenay Place), . 09:30 until late. This 1920s heritage-listed theatre is Wellington's premier film venue, and hosted the world premières of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Festivals and events
- Beck's Incredible Film Festival. Incredibly strange, exploitation cinema and extra low budget movies.
- Comedy Festival.
- Cuba Street Carnival. Wellington's largest free street festival is held biennially in late February. Being revamped.
- Dance Music.
- Fringe Festival.
- New Zealand International Arts Festival. February/March every year.
- Out in the Park. Annual gay and lesbian carnival on the first Saturday of March.
- Wellington Sevens. The annual rugby sevens tournament held in Wellington is the fourth on the IRB Sevens World Series circuit, and is played at Wellington's Westpac Stadium (aka "The Cake Tin") in early February and includes teams from 16 countries. The event attracts over thirty thousand spectators annually. The tournament has become Wellington's largest sporting event and one of New Zealand's leading sporting events. It also has a reputation for a party atmosphere, with a large proportion of attendees choosing to wear fancy dress. Recent years have seen large groups of costumes that vary from Fred Flintstone and Wilma to Care Bears, dance troops, wrestlers and many other interesting costumes. More recently items of recent media interest or advertisements form a key theme. Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, George Bush have made appearances. Movie figures such as Men in Black (MIB) and Austin Powers are crowd favourites and an impersonator of Austin has been a regular feature each year performing to the crowd.
Wellington has a bustling nightlife, concentrated along Courtenay Place, one of the major streets running from the CBD. It runs through Te Aro and ends in Mt Victoria. The nightlife causes this street to have the highest population density in all of New Zealand on Friday and Saturday nights. In most establishments, drinks are remarkably affordable at about $6, and entrance charges are either nonexistent or minimal. In some of the better clubs reasonable dress standards apply, however in the day the mood is usually extremely casual, with flip-flops (called Jandals in New Zealand) and even bare feet occasionally accepted (a common Kiwi choice on hotter days). Cuba Mall also features some cool and more alternative bars.
Away from Courtenay Place in the CBD district (Lambton Quay) there are many after work bars frequented by office workers, however this area becomes deserted in the later hours, and thus these establishments usually do not provide all night partying.
- Blend Bar, 118 Wakefield St.
- Chow & Motel Bar, 45 Tory St, , e-mail: [email protected].A combination restaurant/bar and cocktail lounge in one connected unit. Chow is a restaurant & bar serving Asian fusion food, cocktails and Sake. Motel Bar is behind Chow with its main entrance in Forresters Lane. According to worldsbestbars.com it is 5th best bar in the world.
- Good Luck, Cuba Mall. Hidden away down underneath Cuba Mall in the basement of a building. Good Luck can be difficult to spot. With a low roof and dim lighting, it is a cozy place for a winter drink. Also good in summer, it can be a little dark and hot in the warmer summer months.
- Hashigo Zake, 25-29 Taranaki St, . Noon-late. Totally uncompromising beer bar. Local and imported craft beer, wine, whisky and sake.
- Havana Bar, 32a Wigan St, . Attached to the popular Havana Coffee Works. Near the top of Cuba St in an old character house, it is a nice place to listen to some jazz or just relax out in the outside courtyard bar.
- Hummingbird, 22 Courtenay Pl, , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. Daily 09:00-03:00. Live music.
- The Matterhorn, Cuba Mall. The Matterhorn has been a popular bar for many years.
- S&M's Cocktail lounge, Cuba St. Wellington's only gay bar currently operating is small but packed on weekends especially. Two floors, with the lower floor being a sweaty dance floor.
- The Southern Cross, 39 Abel Smith St, Te Aro (on the corner of Cuba St), . c. 08:00-late. Rated by Metro as one of the best 5 garden bars in the world.
- Valhalla Tavern, 154 Vivian St. Music venue specialising in metal, punk and hardcore. Formerly known as Medusa, Valve and Hole In The Wall.
Things to know
Aside from the national public holidays, Wellington has its own public holiday,Wellington Anniversary Day. Commemorating the arrival of Wellington's first European settlers aboard the Aurora on 22 January 1840, it is observed across most of the Greater Wellington and Manawatu-Wanganui region on the Monday closest to 22 January.
Safety in Wellington
Wellington is reasonably safe at night, but common sense should prevail, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, as in any other city.
Occasionally, tourists relax security in New Zealand thinking that it is a crime-free paradise. While violent crime against tourists is very rare (and is usually followed up by public outrage against the offenders), opportunistic petty crime can still occur. Taking simple steps like locking valuables away and keeping to well-lit areas at night usually prevent problems.
Vehicle break-ins are common, especially in shopping malls and 'park and ride' type car parks. Thieves generally target older vehicles with less complicated locks. Removing all valuables and leaving the glove box open (to show that no valuables are hidden) will usually act as a deterrent. Police will normally give you a copy of their report for insurance purposes, but it is very unusual for any stolen property to be recovered and returned to its owner.