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New ZealandNorth IslandTravelWellington

The Ultimate Guide to Wellington, New Zealand

By February 27, 2018 One Comment

In 2015 I moved to Wellington, New Zealand for what would be the best 6 months of my life. I traveled all over the country, but the capital city will always hold a special place in my heart.0n9a9652.jpg

6 months without a car makes you familiar with all the streets and I’m pretty sure I could lead you around this town blind folded. From festive night markets to beautiful gardens, this travel guide will give you all the insider tips of the best things to do and get the most out of your visit to Wellington.

What to expect in Wellington:

Language: English is the dominant language spoken here, although you may hear a few Maori words thrown into conversation like “Kia Ora” (welcome, hello) or “whānau” (family). Kiwi slang and unique sayings might also have you a little confused so check out this article for some helpful tips. 20 things people from New Zealand say

Currency: New Zealand Dollar ($) NZD

Credit/Debit Cards: There are plenty of ATM’s throughout the city and most all places accept VISA and Mastercard. AMEX varies from place to place.

Weather: New Zealand’s weather is pretty mild all year long. Wellington can be quite windy and rainy during the winter seasons, but their summers are warm and sunny!

Cold season: June-November

Warm season: December-May

{Stay}

Budget Friendly Accommodation:

If you’re on a budget, some popular downtown hostels are YHA Wellington CityDowntown Backpackers (located in an old historic hotel building), Nomads Capital Backpackers, and Base Wellington.

When my parents came to visit me they stayed at Asteria Apartments and it was really nice! It’s right on Willis Street, one of the main roads in town.

{Do}

 

Ride the Historic Cable Car to the top of the hill.

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With an amazing view of Wellington, the cable car, is a MUST. Head down to Lampton Quay (Wellington’s shopping area) to catch the car. Once you arrive at the top, you’re right at the entrance of the Botanical Gardens, another Wellington iconic attraction.

Get lost in the Botanic Gardens

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I’m not kidding, you actually might get lost!! There are so many walking paths to take through the gardens, I discovered something new and beautiful every time I went. Definitely check out the rose garden, and the tulips during the tulip festival!

Climb Mt. Victoria

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For another stunning 360 view of Wellington, hike to the top of Mt. Victoria. A short, medium difficulty 30 minute hike will bring you to a landing with incredible views of the city.

 

Visit the Weta Workshop

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Any Lord of the Rings or Chronicles of Narnia fans? If you’re a movie buff, you HAVE to go to Weta Workshop. This is where they create and make all the props and some costumes for movies like Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, Avatar, King Kong and many, many more. You’ll get to walk through the workshop and see actual pieces that were used in the movies! Since they are usually working on current movies, you’re not allowed to take pictures, but trust me! It’s worth it!

 

See a Kiwi bird at the Wellington Zoo

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You can’t go to New Zealand and not see a kiwi bird! They’re nocturnal though so you’ll most likely be in a really dark room.

Take a swing on the flying fox

New Zealand has these amazing things in their playgrounds called Flying Foxes and they are the most fun thing in the world. It’s a rope attached to a zipline with a little seat on it. You take up take it up to the top of a hill, run, jump onto the seat and enjoy the ride. It sounds crazy, but IT’S THE MOST AMAZING THING EVER ENJOY.

My favorite one was at Central Park off of Brooklyn street, mostly because I pretended like I was in New York.

Stroll up and down the hipster Cuba street and grab a coffee!

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This colorful street is perfect for exploring.

Visit Te Papa National Museum

 

IMG_9113IMG_9114This is an incredible museum (and FREE) and right down by the waterfront so take a little walk when you’re done!

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Take a tour of Parliament and the Bee Hive

You can’t miss this unique looking structure and if you’re into history, tours of this building would be right up your alley

{Eat}

 

Nicolini’s

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Treat yourself to a fancy Italian dinner and let your taste buds enjoy some of the best wine, bruschetta and risotto. This family owned restaurant is sure to be one of your best meals in Wellington.

 

 

Seize

Need a good healthy meal? How about a grain bowl with chocolate beet cake and avocado chocolate frosting? A little on the pricy side, but you’ll get a quality meal! Seize has amazing salads, grain bowls, acai bowls, oatmeal and pastries. WARNING! Oatmeal in New Zealand is called porridge and they usually eat it cold, also called muesli.

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Source: Wellington on a Plate

The Arborist: Amazing small plates and super yummy milkshakes! This place has all the vibes and even a rooftop bar when the weather is nice!

Fidel’s: A Wellington classic with the most amazing dessert case! (like the Tim Tam cake, HELLO) Try the Halloumi Cheese on your salad!

Sweet Mother’s Kitchen: For some southern, New Orleans vibes, this restaurant on Courtenay Place has all the goods!

Capital Market: Traveling with people who all like something different? Capital Market has your solution! This colorful indoor market is the perfect stop because there’s literally something for everyone! Even Kansas City BBQ!

Soho Brown’s: One of my favorite places to eat in Wellington. Fill up your tray as you pass by glass cases filled with yummy sandwiches, quiches, and treats! Try a New Zealand classic, yoyo cookies, ginger slice or millionaire bars!

Flying Burrito Brothers: This is where I had my first burrito. and it was so good I forgot to take a picture of it. On the far end of Cuba street.

{Get Around}

 

Wellington is a very walkable city. I didn’t have a car when I lived there and walked EVERYWHERE. It helps you get to know the city so much better, so if you like walking, this will be your jam! If not, the public transportation system is fairly inexpensive.

{Best time to visit Wellington}

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There’s always something going on in the city so there’s not really a time that’s better to go than another, but if you want better weather, I suggest going in the summer (America’s winter). I, on the other hand, went in the middle of their winter, but still, Wellington’s weather is pretty mild all year round. There were a couple really rainy and cold days but other than that it wasn’t too bad!

{Traveling to other places from Wellington}

Naked Bus is a great, inexpensive way to travel to other cities within New Zealand if you don’t want to rent a car. I loved them because they gave you coffee and ice cream on the bus. 😉

If you’re trying to get to the south island, the ferry is a good option or hop on a flight. Air NZ, and Jet Star have really good deals!

If you’re making the trip to New Zealand, Wellington has to be on your list. There’s no doubt that the culture, life and people in this amazing city will leave a lasting impression & leave you wanting to come back!

xx Nicole #DoStuff

Check out the other articles I’ve written about New Zealand to make sure you have all the inside tips before you go!

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NicoleERenard
Author NicoleERenard

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