Wellington City is that part of the urban area of Wellington in New Zealand that is administered by Wellington City Council. The Windy City is centred on the western foreshore of Wellington Harbour and stretches as far north as the suburb of Tawa. It is ringed by hills, providing the scenic home of New Zealand's parliament and government, and many of the country's national arts and cultural attractions. The adjacent districts of Wellington are Lower Hutt, at the head of Wellington Harbour, and Porirua, to the north beyond Tawa.
- See also: Wellington#Get in
- 1 Wellington International Airport (WLG IATA). In Rongotai, within the City and 5 km (3.1 mi) SE of the city centre. The Airport Flyer bus runs between the airport and the central city for a fare of $12.
- 1 Railway Station. An imposing building opened in 1937.
- There is a train from Auckland three days per week. It is operated by KiwiRail.
- There are regular local services from Porirua, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and the Kapiti Coast. Those are operated by Metlink.
- A daily commuter service connects the city with Masterton in the Wairarapa. There are no trains on Sundays but Metlink runs replacement buses departing from the bus platform on the far side of train platform 8.
- A weekday commuter service operated by KiwiRail comes in from Palmerston North in the morning and returns there in the evening.
- Intercity buses arrive at the Railway Station
- Cook Strait ferries are run from Picton to Wellington by two companies. The Bluebridge terminal is near the railway station and the Interislander terminal is 2 km to the north.
- Eastbywest ferries run around the harbour. Services run from Days Bay in Eastbourne on the east side of the harbour, some of them also stopping at Matiu/Somes Island. Other services run between Seatoun on the Miramar Peninsula and downtown Wellington.
Museums and galleries
- 1 Cable Car Museum, 1A Upland Road, Kelburn (top of the cable car). Daily 09:30-17:00, closed 25 Dec. Free.
- 2 Carter Observatory (Space Place), 40 Salamanca Rd, Kelburn (2-min walk from the top of the cable car), ☏ . Daily 10:00-17:00. Offers a state of the art planetarium show, along with multimedia exhibits that show how early Māori, Polynesian and European settlers navigated their way to New Zealand. $18.
- 3 City Gallery, Civic Square. daily 10AM - 5PM. Runs a consistently avant-garde set of exhibits, with no permanent collection. Has an excellent café, Nikau, attached to it.
- 4 Holocaust Centre of New Zealand, 80 Webb St. Su-F 10:00-13:00. A small museum. Free.
- 5 Katherine Mansfield Birthplace, 25 Tinakori Rd. Tu-Su 10:00-16:00. The Victorian house where the author Katherine Mansfield was born, and lived for her first five years. The house is furnished as it would have been in the 1890s. $8.
- 6 Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa), 55 Cable St, ☏ . Daily 10:00-18:00, closed 25 Dec. New Zealand's national museum contains interesting exhibitions on the country's history and culture and includes several shops. Free (except for the occasional special presentation).
- 7 Nairn Street Cottage, 68 Nairn St (top of Willis St). Sa and Su tours at 12:00, 13:00, 14:00 and 15:00. Preserved cottage built in 1858 and kept in the same family until it became a museum, with a exhibition on its history. The small garden is open every day. $8.
- 8 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. Shown in just two rooms attached to a tattoo studio. One of Wellington's least museums. Free (the sign at the entrance about payment relates to getting a tattoo).
- 9 New Zealand Portrait Gallery, Shed 11, Customhouse Quay. daily 10:30AM - 4:30PM. free.
- 10 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.
- 11 Wellington Museum (formerly Museum of Wellington City & Sea), Queens Wharf, 3 Jervois Quay, ☏ . Daily 10:00-17:00, closed 25 Dec. A well-presented museum of the history of Wellington, including its maritime history. Free.
- 12 Department of Corrections’ Heritage Centre, Mayfair House, 44-52 The Terrace, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 7:30AM - 5.00PM. Displays on corrections and prisons. free.
- 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
- 13 Parliament Buildings, Molesworth St, Thorndon, ☏ . Home of New Zealand's lawmakers and leaders, the complex consists of four building: the Beehive (or Executive Wing), Parliament House, the Parliamentary Library and Bowen House. 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. Depending on parliamentary business, tours may include a visit to the House of Representatives debating chamber and the Select Committee rooms. For security reasons, you need to leave all your belongings at the visitor centre and clear a checkpoint.
- 14 National Library of New Zealand, corner of Aitken and Molesworth Sts (across the road from the Cathedral and Parliament). The library regularly holds exhibitions.
- 15 Turnbull House, Bowen St (just across the road from Parliament Buildings). This imposing brick mansion now seems small and out of place amongst the surrounding high-rises.
- 16 Old Government Buildings, 15 Lambton Quay (opposite Parliament). 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.
- 17 Old St Paul's (one block east of Parliament). Daily 09:30-17:00. 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.
- 18 Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. Park always open; National War Memorial interior daily 10:00-17:00. A tall Art Deco carillon was dedicated in 1932, the Hall of Memories opened in 1964, and the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior was built in 2004. There are Australian, Belgian, French, Turkish, UK and US memorials and some sculptures in the wider park, which was opened in 2015. Free.
- 19 Cathedral of St Paul, Corner of Molesworth St and Hill St. M - F: 10AM - 5PM Sa: 10AM - 4PM Su: 8AM - 4PM, Services Su 8AM, 10AM, 4PM. Large Anglican church built between 1954 and 1998. The cathedral is a relatively plain design, made of reinforced concrete, and has some fine stained glass. A farmer's market is held in the car park on Saturday mornings.
- 20 St Mary of the Angels, Wellington (corner of Boulcott Street and O'Reily Avenue). St Mary of the Angels is the Catholic parish church for Wellington Central. The church opened in 1922.
Art Deco architecture
- 21 Central Fire Station, Kent Terrace. Fire station (still in use) designed by Cyril H Mitchell of Mitchell & Mitchell in 1935, which includes the clock from the old Town Hall. Fountain Court, 10-48 Oriental Parade, a three storey block of flats, a few doors towards the sea was built in 1938.
- 22 Elmscourt (on the corner of The Terrace and Abel Smith St). An historic art deco apartment block.
- 23 Hotel St George, Willis and Boulcott Streets. Former hotel (now student accommodation) built in 1929-30
Statues and sculptures
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 St, 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 Sts, is a small park with 3 sculptures in block.
- On the corner of Lambton Quay and Stout St, 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 monoliths with pimples are actually a poem in Braille.
- Where Lambton Quay meets Featherston St there is a wind mobile.
- 24 Bucket Fountain, Cuba Mall. a real splash, for many years. The Bucket Fountain is an iconic kinetic sculpturet. It consists of a series of "buckets" that fill with water until they tip, spilling their load into the buckets and pool below. The fountain was designed by Burren and Keen and erected in 1969.
- 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.
- 25 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.
- 26 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'.
- 27 Mount Kaukau, off Woodmancote Road, Khandallah (take Johnsonville train from Wellington Station to Khandallah). 455 m 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.
- 28 Wrights Hill. Open 5 days per year. More views, and World War II underground tunnels which are open to the public on public holidays for a small fee. $8.
- 29 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.
- 30 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.
- 31 Zealandia (Karori Wildlife Sanctuary), Waiapu Rd, Karori (1st left after Karori Tunnel, #2 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. Adult $19.50, child (5-17) $10, more for guided day tours & night tours.
- 32 Matiu/Somes Island (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.). 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 island is a nature reserve managed by the DOC, bio-security bag inspections on arrival and a small exhibition. The animal quarantine station and some wartime defences can be explored, there are good harbour views, but the wildlife is the main attraction. Bring food in sealed containers and something to drink as there are no shops. There is a campsite and two bachs which need to be booked in advance. Ferry $25.
- 33 Weta Workshop. The studio that made the hit movie trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Tours must be booked online in advance. Also features a gift shop where you can buy Lord of the Rings memorabilia.
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 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.
- 1 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. At the Bolton Street entrance, the former mortuary chapel, reconstructed after the motorway, has information on the cemetery history and guide leaflets if you want to explore further.
- 2 Karori Cemetery. An interesting picnic spot.
- 3 Frank Kitts Park (waterfront). A great place to wander around, with walls to climb, inline skates, and jet ski rental.
- 4 Otari-Wilton's Bush, 160 Wilton Road (#14 bus from Lambton Quay). visitor centre daily 8AM - 4PM, gardens dawn - dusk. 100 hectare botanic garden of native forest.
- 5 Red Rocks/Seal Colony (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.). This is an interesting walk named for its distinctive red rocks (probably Jasper). 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).
- 6 Skyline Walkway. A 12-km (5-6 hr) challenging walk.
- 7 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 23-26 m of water off Island Bay on Wellington's south coast. The wreck lies about 600 m 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".
- Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park.
- 8 Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, ☏ .
- Bats Theatre, 1 Kent Tce, ☏ .
- 9 Capital E, 4 Queens Wharf. National Theatre for Children, with a public play space. Charges for some events, many free.
- 10 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.
Events and festivals
- 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 March.
- Dance Music.
- Fringe Festival. 3 weeks during February/March.
- New Zealand International Arts Festival. February/March every year.
- Out in the Park. Annual gay and lesbian carnival on the first Saturday of March.
- 1 Old Bank Shopping Arcade (Corner of Willis Street and Lambton Quay). Small upmarket arcade in the former BNZ HQ which opened in 1901. Has an animated musical clock which performs on the hour, and a small display on the remains of a boat washed up here in 1855.
- 2 The Warehouse, 133 Tory Street. The red shed for cheap clothing and household goods.
- 3 New World, 279 Wakefield St (to the east of Te Papa). Daily 07:00 - 23:00. Main central supermarket, with small stores in the Railway Station and on Willis Street.
- 4 Wellington Underground Market (Underneath Frank Kitts Park). Sa 10AM - 4PM. A market in the waterfront underground car park with over 50 stalls selling crafts and some food.
- 5 Harbourside Sunday Market (behind Te Papa). Su 7:30AM - 1PM. A weekly outdoor market, with hot food stalls, local artisan food and some value fruit and veg stalls.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
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.
- Aro Street Fish and Chips, Aro St.
- 1 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 2 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. $23-33.
- 3 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. $5-15.
- 4 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. mains from $24.
- Sakura, Cnr Whitmore and Featherston St, ☏ , fax: . Tu-F 11:30-14:00, Tu-Sa 17:30-22:00. Japanese cuisine, fresh sushi, great selection of beer and sake. $15-20.
- 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.
- 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.
- 5 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.
- 6 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.
- 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: , ✉ email@example.com. M-F 09:30-17:00. 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.
- 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.
- Flying Burritto Brothers, 182 Cuba St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 17:00–late. Wellington is the home of the first Flying Burrito Brothers with two floors of seating and an impressive range of tequila on the mirrored back wall.
- Viva Mexico, 210 Left Bank, off Cuba Mall, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu–Su 12:00–21:00. Taco shop, rather than a full restaurant like the Newtown restaurant. $10-20.
- Viva Mexico, 180 Riddiford St, Newtown, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu–Su 12:00–21:00. The most authentic, home-style Mexican food you'll find in Wellington. $10-20.
- 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.
- Boulcott Street Bistro, 99 Boulcott St, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. 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.
- Logan Brown, 192 Cuba St (corner of Vivian St), ☏ . In the former banking chamber of an historic banking building. Mains around $40, early bird dinner special $45 per person.
- Pravda Café & Grill, 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.
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, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
- 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: , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 09:00-03:00. Live music.
- S&M's Cocktail lounge, Cuba St. Wellington's only gay bar 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.
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.
A way to get to know more locals and experience some NZ culture (if that's what you are looking for) is a shared house (a "flat" in NZ English). These are an option for stays of a month in summer while students are away – usually flats are taken for the year or at least several months. Look for "Flatmates wanted" in the local Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday newspaper (Dominion Post) classified ads or on TradeMe.
Flats are usually well furnished already by the other tenants in the communal rooms. You may need to provide your own bed (you could buy a cheap one second hand for the summer), or they might be able lend you one. All flatmates share the rent, bills and chores, and occasionally food, meals and even washing too. Some flats come fully furnished, but this is not the norm.
To find flats, the locals use www.trademe.co.nz or Facebook.
- 1 Hotel Waterloo, 1 Bunny St (cnr Waterloo Quay, opposite railway station), ☏ , toll-free: 0800 225 725, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Dorm beds from $26. Single room with shared bathroom $72. The travel desk on the ground floor can help with booking transport and activities.
- Lodge in the City, 152 Taranaki St (cnr Vivian St), ☏ , toll-free: 0800 257 225, fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Dorm from $19, single room $55, doubles from $76.
- Nomads Wellington (Nomads Capital), 118-120 Wakefield St, ☏ , toll-free: 0508 666 237, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 2pm, check-out: 10am. Dorm from $26, doubles from $95.
- Rowena's Lodge, 115 Brougham St, ☏ . Camp sites from $15, dorms $23.
- 2 Worldwide Backpackers, 291 The Terrace, toll-free: 0508 888 555, ✉ email@example.com. Queen, double, twin, double + single, 3 share, 4 share and 6 share.
- 3 YHA Wellington, 292 Wakefield St (cnr Cambridge Tce - opposite the fire station), toll-free: 0800 600 100. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 07:00-10:00. Dorms from $26, double/twin rooms $74 (members 18+ years).
- 4 The Setup on Manners, 57 Manners St, CBD (opposite McDonalds), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Serviced apartments in an apartment hotel for as little as one night or for long term. Free Wi-Fi & Sky TV. From $105.
- 5 CityLife Wellington, 300 Lambton Quay (vehicle entrance: 14 Gilmer Terrace), ☏ , toll-free: 0800 368 888, fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Four star plus, suite style hotel. Rooms on the Gilmer Terrace side face directly onto the steep hill the hotel sits on and have no view.
- 6 Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel, 70 Tory St, ☏ . Studio rooms, 1 & 2 bedroom apartments and penthouse suites. From $149.
- InterContinental Hotel Wellington, 2 Grey St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Adjacent to the waterfront, InterContinental Wellington is the only internationally-branded 5 star hotel in Wellington.
- 7 Museum Hotel - Hotel de Wheels, 90 Cable St (opposite Te Papa - Museum of New Zealand), ☏ . In one of the largest ever building relocations, this hotel was moved across the street in 1993 to make way for Te Papa museum. From $149.
- 8 Park Hotel Lambton Quay, 101 The Terrace, ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00. Hotel opened in 2016. Rooms have some cooking facilities. from $149.
- 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. (The library is closed indefinitely as of 2018 while it undergoes evaluation for earthquake strengthening.)
- CBD Free Wi-Fi, ☏ . Free Wi-Fi is available on the waterfront between the Railway Station and Te Papa. This is paid for by some adverts.
- Lower Hutt
- Porirua – including suburbs such as Mana, Paremata, Pauatahanui, Plimmerton, Pukerua Bay and Titahi Bay