Top 10 Wellington Travel Tips

Windy Wellington certainly lived up to its reputation for my fleeting visit in June.

The only sign of blue sky that I saw was a poster of the harbour at the Central Markets. Boy it looked beautiful!

Unfortunately for most of my visit the sky looked like this.

Even the locals were complaining about the weather but that didn't stop a whole bunch of them trudging, or I should say running in the Wellington Marathon. They breed 'em tough here.

One of my fellow travellers, who has visited many parts of the world, said in her view Wellington on a good day is one of the prettiest cities in the world.

Inclement weather certainly didn't slow us down. We wined and dined our way throughout the CBD and the interior of Te Papa was warm and dry despite the rain outside. Te Papa is a not-to-be-missed  Wellington highlight for all the family.

Here are my top 10 Wellington travel tips -

  • In Wellington on a Sunday and like food? Don't miss the City Markets next to Te Papa. These indoor markets are filled with the most amazing selection of high quality foods. Great if you are self catering but still wonderful if you are looking for gifts reflecting the region to bring home. So much better than another t-shirt and a great chance to meet and talk with locals. 

  • Get down to Cuba Street and walk its whole length. Poke your head into the quirky shops and stop to eat in the cafes and restaurants. Doesn't matter if it's morning or night – there will be something open and it's likely to be good.

  • Wellington on a Plate (14 – 29 August) is a great reason to travel to the region. For two all things culinary will be celebrated with a programme of over 80 events scheduled.The program is innovative and inclusive, with something new and different at all levels. Foodies heaven. Find out more here.

  • If you want to blend in, wear stylish black – head to toe. Wellington dresses well, with layers to keep you warm and a coat to peel off once inside. Don't forget a hat (beanie) and gloves).

  • Old BankArcade and Chambers is a heritage building on the corner of Lambton Quay and Hunter Street. It's a great spot of exclusive boutiques including Andrea Moore, Richohet, Workshop, Minnie Cooper, I Love Paris, Ruby, Nature Unplugged and more.

  • Dessert is a big thing in Wellington. Treat it like a special occasion and revel in it! The cold will make you burn off the calories in no time - promise!

  • Make sure you sample wines from around the New Zealand. Marlborough and Martinborough are both close wine regions.

  • Book a room with a view. A hotel on the hill is still walking distance to everything but the city view is fabulous. I stayed at the the Mercure Wellington and Novotel Wellington.

  • If you have left over NZ cash when you get to the airport and no immediate use for it – spend it! Changing it back to AU will cost you more than the premium you pay for goods at the airport and the exchange rate works in your favour when purchasing.
  • Do remember to declare your walking boots on entry to New Zealand and when returning to Australia. Customs will ex ray your bag and find them any how. They don't like it when you forget things...

Bottom line:
As well as offering a convenient place to stay during Wellington on a Plate, the Mercure Wellington hotel has a special lunch menu and dinner and dessert offer at its restaurant, Brasserie 345.

The restaurant’s set lunch menu available during DINE Wellington is priced from $25 which includes two courses plus a glass of Wellington regional wine selected from the hotel’s exclusively local Mercure Grands Vins wine list and tea or coffee. Guests can choose between Kumara and smoked fish bake with rocket salad or hearty braised lamb shank on creamy mash with wilted greens for main. The dessert choice is Tiramisu served with Kapiti affogato ice cream or pecan tart served with Kapiti pohutukawa ice cream. Courses have been matched with Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc or local Pinot Noir.

Brasserie 345 will offer a Modern New Zealand à la carte dinner menu for the duration of DINE Wellington, Those who dine in will receive a free dessert when they order a main course.

Mercure Wellington, 345 The Terrace, 04 385 9829.

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer:  This was visit was hosted by Tourism New Zealand.