New Zealand is known for its stunningly beautiful landscapes and adventure sports, but I had no idea that it also boasts an urban gem in the capital city of Wellington.
Welly, as locals call it, made me feel right at home. Maybe it was the buzzing coffee culture where I could get a flight of flat whites at the Flight Coffee Hangar? Perhaps it was the plethora of funky second-hand shops selling vintage and retro treasures? Or it was the inviting waterfront that drew me like a moth to a flame to enjoy the sweeping views and breezes, outdoor artwork, museums, and farmer’s markets?
Whatever it was, Wellington has it. I hope these outtakes from my assignment with Nat Geo Travel and Tourism New Zealand give you a taste of Wonderful Welly.
The Laundry Bar on Wellington’s famous Cuba Street hits the right chord with its funky New Orleans vibe and Southern-inspired menu.
Stretch your legs from central Wellington to the Aro Valley where an old garage is the now the new home of a popular brewery, the Garage Project.
Wellington has embraced the Cuban theme, which originated from a settler ship named “Cuba” in the 1840s and not with the country. Regardless of the origin, you’ll see nods to Cuba the country throughout the city, including at Fidel’s Cafe on (you guessed it) Cuba Street.
Who needs a wine or beer flight when you can get a different sort of buzz with a flat white flight? I was a skeptic until I sampled the espresso at Flight Coffee’s Hangar and was fueled up for the entire day picking up on notes of toffee or orange.
Another nod to Cuba, Havana Coffee Works is home to a roastery and a coffee shop. Here master roaster Joe Stoddart soaks in the toasted aroma of roasting beans.
Floriditas is a bright and airy eatery on Cuba Street.
It is hard not to drool at Sheperd, a new restaurant in the Hannahs Factory Laneway, when a colorful bowl of radish, carrot, and beetroot salad greets you on the table.
I loved wandering down the charming laneways like Eva Street in the Te Aro neighborhood of downtown Wellington.
A Wellington icon is the Bucket Fountain kinetic sculpture on the downtown Cuba Street pedestrian mall.
A trip to Welly isn’t complete without a ride on the famous cable car which carries visitors up to the beautiful, rolling grounds of the Wellington Botanic Gardens.
Passersby can’t seem to resist posing with the waterfront sculpture called, “Solace of the Wind.”
In a city more famous for its wind and rain, the sunshine brings out people in droves to the Wellington waterfront. The Karaka Cafe provides seating, mats, and even hats to sun seekers.
A wander along the waterfront will take visitors by text sculptures with words from New Zealand writers on the Wellington Writers Walk.
Actor/director Bryce Dallas Howard explores the Harbourside Market with Ray Letoa from Wellington’s Roxy Cinema. To learn more about Wellington, including a video featuring Bryce and more photos of the city from me, click here.
If you’re keen for more New Zealand inspiration, check out Nat Geo Travel’s Ultimate New Zealand Experience website. To license images, please visit my Photoshelter gallery.