Our guide to a wild weekend in Wellington

Plan a wild weekend in Wellington with our itineraries for families, adventurers & couples.



Stuff NZ Newspapers


Stuff Travel

Wellington is New Zealand's vibrant cultural heart and foodie capital, brimming with quirky cafes, tucked-away bars and award-winning restaurants. But beyond the museums, festivals, and food, there's so much more to discover in Wellington – from epic cycle trails, island nature reserves and boutique luxury hotels, to fun family activities. To help you plan a wild weekend in Wellington we've curated a wide range of experiences for every type of traveller. COUPLES Fancy hiding away with your other half for a weekend? Wellington is the perfect place to escape, packed with cosy cafés, luxury stays and intimate cocktail bars. Start your day with caffeine at Pour & Twist, a manual coffee bar where every cup is made by hand – no noisy espresso machines here. They call it slow coffee, encouraging you to pause a moment, connect with others and take your time to enjoy a cuppa. Get your art fix at one of Wellington's many galleries, including City Gallery Te Whare Toi, The Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt, or Toi Art at Te Papa. If you're into long walks along the beach, take the short trip to Lyall Bay. Go barefoot in the sand, watch the surfers catching waves and planes landing at the nearby airport, then finish at Parrotdog. This nostalgia-fuelled craft beer bar features 70s pub design, takeaway beers and a rotating selection of 17 taps. At the end of the day, retreat from the city, order room service desserts and sink into bed at one of Wellington's luxury boutique hotels QT Wellington, Naumi and Ohtel. Local tip: For daily deals on drinks and dinner check out WellingtonNZ.com FAMILIES Wellington is the perfect place to explore with the family, with plenty of activities to keep the crew entertained. A capital visit wouldn't be complete without a trip to Te Papa, NZ's National Museum. But people often miss the equally fascinating Wellington Museum, which is just down the road and was once voted one of the top 50 museums in the world. Our favourite exhibit here is the whirring, beeping time capsule in The Attic on the top floor, which tells Wellington's intriguing story with a combination of cinema, art and installations. Afterwards, trundle up the hills of Kelburn on the Wellington Cable Car. This bright red, 120-year-old Wellington icon has spectacular views of the city below, as well as a kid-favourite colourful light show on the way up. Another great way to get around is to buy a Wellington City Pass. This includes a return trip on the Cable Car, and a choice of two attractions out of Zealandia, Space Place, Wellington Zoo and a Te Papa tour. It's a great money saver for families. When the little ones get tired grab a room at a kid-friendly hotel in central Wellington - Rydges and Atura have brilliant deals for families. ADVENTURERS Wellington is an adventurer's dream, surrounded by epic natural scenery. Head back in time at Zealandia, the world's first fully-fenced eco-sanctuary, just a few minute's drive from the city. Visitors can explore this incredible slice of wilderness independently, taking in the 225-hectares of bush and forest and the many walking tracks, bridges, streams, and even a dam. The best way to see the sanctuary however is with a guide, who can help you spot the hundreds of native birds that call Zealandia home. Take a Zealandia by Night tour to see a different side of the sanctuary, and for a chance to see the rare little spotted Kiwi. Local tip: Take the East by West Ferry (the first fully electric ferry in the Southern Hemisphere, how cool?) and explore Matiu/Somes Island or carry on to Days Bay in Eastbourne, where you can swim, grab an ice cream, and finish with a beautiful dinner by the sea. BEYOND THE MUSEUM Explore the city on two wheels with Switched On Bikes. Grab an e-bike or a more traditional ride to zoom up Mt Victoria and earn beautiful views from the top, or explore Wellington's many bays and beaches. If you're up for a longer adventure, the Remutaka Cycle Trail is another must-do. This one- to five-day ride takes in historic railway tunnels and swing bridges through mountain ranges and valleys, lush rolling farmland and rugged coastlines. If you're hungry after all your adventures, head to Hannahs Laneway for a foodie feast. Grab Fix & Fogg's fancy peanut butter on toast, snack on the world's best salted caramel cookie from Leeds St Bakery, and gaze upon beer being brewed right in front of you (and drink it of course!) at Fortune Favours. Then to top it all off, book a night at The Intrepid, a boutique luxury hotel in an old Cadbury Warehouse that sits atop Wellington's coolest natural wine bar, Puffin. Ready to start planning your next wild weekend in Wellington? Find out more and plan your adventure at WellingtonNZ.com.