Known as the windy city, Wellington has much so more to offer than just a brisk breeze. It has a beautiful harbour, a great dining scene and is the cultural capital of New Zealand, which means there’s almost always a show to see or an exhibition to explore.
If you’re planning a jam-packed Wellington weekend—whether you’re a visitor or perhaps even a local who wants to break out of your usual weekend routine—we have so many ideas of Wellington activities to share.
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Have dinner at Egmont Street Eatery
If your ultimate weekend officially begins on a Friday night, there’s no better way to kick it off than with a meal at Egmont Street Eatery. Tucked away in a funky laneway in the middle of Wellington, Egmont Street Eatery has a small but fabulous menu where every dish is unique, offering something slightly unexpected. Unless you’re an Egmont Street Eatery regular, you’re unlikely to have tasted these dishes before. As an example, the ethical pork loin is served with burnt feijoa, pickled green tomato, cauliflower purée, roast hazelnut and fermented cabbage chip. And not to be outdone, the cocktails are distinctive too! Try the Sakura cocktail with Japanese whisky, apricot, berries, and mint.
To make your experience extra special, we highly recommend reserving the high stools at the chef’s pass. You’ll have a great view of the chefs busily preparing your meals and perhaps even pick up some cooking tips from the experts to try at home!
Take a guided tour of Wellington, Kāpiti or the Wairarapa
There is so much to see and do in Wellington, but the neighbouring regions of the Wairarapa and Kāpiti Coast also have an abundance of experiences in store! There are many companies that run some incredible trips in and around these regions (and Wellington too!)—and there’s something for everybody and every duration.
Our recommendations? A winery tour through Martinborough is an idyllic way to spend the day at any time of year. Relax among the vines in summer or curl up in front of roaring fireplaces during winter. The wine and hospitality are great here all year round—and the knowledge from the tour guides can’t be faulted. If you prefer to indulge in fine food over wine, the Wellington Foodie Tour is sure to tickle tastebuds! Discover Wellington’s best coffee, chocolate, gin, beer, and award-winning cuisine. Another great choice is to head up the west coast to the beautiful Kāpiti region and explore the gorgeous natural environment. Whatever your choice, you can’t go wrong.
Pay a morning visit to Te Papa
A weekend in Wellington is not complete without a visit to Te Papa. Here, you can see the only Colossal Squid on display in the world, the bones of famous racehorse Phar Lap, and the incredible invention that helps to protect Te Papa in the event of an earthquake. History buffs will be fascinated by the stories of migrants, refugees and Pacific people, and art lovers will enjoy browsing the diverse sculptures, paintings and installations.
Outside, take a stroll through Bush City, where you’ll discover from of New Zealand’s natural wonders, from plants to rocks and maybe even native birds. Afterwards, browse through the souvenir shops then head outside for a picturesque morning stroll along the waterfront.
Spend the afternoon at Southward Distilling
Southward is a popular small batch gin distillery located on vibrant Cuba Street in Wellington City. They offer tours and tastings that last anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours. If you’re keen to taste much as possible, the ‘Southward Liquor Tasting’ is a great option. You can spend 90 minutes touring the distillery and sampling up to five varieties of vodka, gin, and whisky, with options ranging from blood orange vanilla vodka to guajillo chilli gin.
And if you want to take a bottle home with you, book the ‘Blend Your Own Botanicals’ experience. You will get a tour and tasting and the opportunity to create your own bottle to take away! After trying different styles of gin to discover which you like best, expert distillers will walk you through the process of creating your own 500ml bottle by blending the flavours of your choice.
Nibbles and entertainment are also included in these packages, visiting Southward distilling the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Watch a show at St James Theatre
St James Theatre is a simply spectacular venue, and home of the Royal NZ Ballet. After reopening in June 2022 after refurbishment, the programme has some incredible acts lined up! Most weekends you will find ballet, musicals, opera or orchestra on show, but you may have to book in advance to make sure you don’t miss out!
In 2022 shows at the St James will include La Traviata by the Wellington Opera, Cinderella by the Royal New Zealand Ballet and Les Misérables by the Capital Theatre Trust. If you’ve never been to the opera or ballet before, there’s no better place to have your first experience than at the St James Theatre.
Morning walk up Mount Victoria
An early morning walk is always a great way to start the day, and a morning walk up Mount Victoria on a fine day will show you Wellington’s beauty at its very best. It’ll take you around an hour and a half to walk the full 4.6 kilometre loop, and there are some steep sections along the way. But once you reach the summit and take in the breathtaking views across the harbour, city and surrounds, you’ll be glad you made the effort. If you’re a bit short on time, you can also take the short loop to the summit, which is 45 minutes.
Have a hearty breakfast at August Eatery
August Eatery is a relative newcomer on the Wellington dining scene and has quickly become known as a new breakfast and brunch hotspot among locals. The Mediterranean-influenced food is to die for, with offerings like tsoureki French toast with orange curd, braised quince and labneh, or chorizo and feta omelette with watercress and parsley salad. There are both indoor and outdoor dining options, and the building itself is bursting with charm, boasting floor-to-ceiling windows on the front façade.
Bookings aren’t accepted on weekends unless you’re a group of six or more, so be prepared to wait a little while for a table if you arrive at a busy time. Don’t be put off if there’s a line, the waitlist system is efficient and the food is worth the wait!
Rest and Relax at Spring Spa
Sundays are meant for relaxing and during a busy weekend in Wellington, a quick break at Spring Spa is always a good idea. Located within a heritage building on the corner of Tory and Jessie Streets, the spa is easily accessible if you’re staying in the city centre. But as soon as you set foot through the doors, the busy city will be the farthest thing from your mind.
Relax and be pampered with a massage a pedicure or a facial. Or treat yourself by booking a 75-minute relaxing Spring Wellbeing Experience, which includes guided breathwork, a warm salt and botanical oil foot bath, a full body massage, rejuvenating facial and a neck and scalp massage. Spring is often busy on the weekends (and for good reason too)—so we recommend booking your treatment well in advance!
OR Have Sunday lunch at Boomrock
If you happen to be in Wellington on the last Sunday of the month and you’ve made more room since breakfast, head out to Boomrock on the West Coast for lunch and clay bird shooting. The Sunday lunch package includes transfers from TSB Arena, with the coach leaving at 10.30am and returning at 4pm.
Enjoy canapes on arrival then try your hand at Claybird shooting or Extreme Golf, which are available for a small extra cost. Take time to admire the spectacular clifftop views of the coast—which are said to be among Wellington’s finest— and keep an eye out for marine life in the waters below. Afterwards, feast on a beautiful three-course meal in a social dining setting and have some drinks before heading back to town.
Play mini golf at The Witching Hour
The Witching Hour Mini Golf and Bar is a great way to round out your Wellington weekend. Play 13 fun ‘haunted holes’ among skeletons, ghosts, fog, spiders, witches and clowns—seeing who can best remain composed among the hordes of creepy creatures.
This spooky mini putt course is open from 12.30pm during the weekends and becomes adults-only from 6pm onwards. This means that you can enjoy a drink while you play or chill out at the bar afterwards as the winner celebrates their victory.