Centres of attention
The most popular attraction in Wellington is probably Te Papa (below). You can spend days exploring the rich history of New Zealand in this museum. From here, walk along the waterfront to Oriental Bay. When the weather is fine, have a swim in the ocean or hire a four-seat crocodile bike from The Enormous Crocodile Company and cycle around the bay.
As a fan of The Lord of the Rings movies, I can’t get enough of Weta Workshop, a movie buff’s dream that offers behind-the-scenes studio tours.
In the event
For those who appreciate art, I highly recommend the annual World of Wearable Art show held in September. Sports fans should not miss the Wellington Sevens (January 28 to 29), as well as regularly held Super Rugby and International Cricket games.
August is the month for foodies, with gourmet festival Visa Wellington on a Plate taking place then. In the summer, Wellington Free Outdoor Cinema (Tel: 64 21 110 8517) holds open-air movie screenings at Lagoon Lawn on Cable street.
Sip and sup
As a wine and coffee aficionado, I’m lucky to live in New Zealand’s coffee capital. Believe it or not, Wellington has more cafes, bars and restaurants per capita than New York.
One of my favourite caffeinated spots is Mojo Coffee (below), where I recently joined a roastery tour and lesson. Prefab serves fabulous coffee and melt-in-your-mouth scones – it’s no wonder it’s always busy.
My current favourite dining spot is Charley Noble. I love its wine, service and food, especially the ravioli.
In a group, I like to visit Chow or Dragonfly for sharing plates of fabulous Asian treats, including pork and chive dumplings, and Peking duck lettuce cups.
Top of the town
A trip to Wellington is not complete without visiting the lookout at the top of Mount Victoria. It offers a fantastic view that stretches to the airport. You can watch planes – and the world go by – all day here, along with cruise ships and ferries.
Travel up the hills surrounding the city on the Wellington Cable Car. Once you are at the top, wander through the beautiful Wellington Botanic Garden and explore the Space Place at Carter Observatory.
Hip by night
For a unique party experience, head to The Library (below). Sitting at a bar with a bathtub, surrounded by bookcases and old sofas, is so relaxing. Plus, it also has a wonderful cocktail list; try its Coco Butter Kisses.
Or catch a free movie over a tipple at Southern Cross. Housed in a cool little cottage that dates back to the 19th century, the Cuban-style Havana Bar serves tapas, rum and good music. Look out for the amazing Wellington Night Markets held on Friday nights on Cuba Street. Relish its entertainment, food and cultural vibe.
View other useful insider’s guides.
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.