Wellington – a central melting pot that is easy to pop over to no matter what side of the country you’re flying in from. Culture, food, entertainment, politics – it has it all. As part of my 2018 goal to encourage more Kiwis to fly, and how it’s been just over a decade since I’ve been myself, I leapt at the opportunity to visit when a $78 return flight popped up.
The city was super easy to navigate, had plenty to look at, and most importantly, had really epic food. Aaaaaand although I don’t want to bag on Auckland’s incredible transport system, Wellington’s public transport is actually incredible.
Wellington was raining heavily on the first day I arrived, so I was forced to stay indoors at Doubletree Wellington Hilton, which is most definitely the best place I could ever think of! Newly refurbished and complete with their signature warm cookie upon arrival, I was the first in the country to check in and try it all out for myself. Man oh man, was this hotel incredible. Service was top-notch, food was fresh and delicious, and the bed, OH THE BED was so fluffy and soft it would just let you sink right in and was hands down the best hotel bed I have ever slept in, in my life!
After checking in I popped out to see my friend Regina who took me round the corner to a dessert place called Louis Sergeant which makes ‘sweet couture.’
The owner, Louis, is a connoisseur of sweet, and trained in the art of French pâtisserie in Lille, Belgium and across Northern France. Everything looked incredible and it was so hard to choose, but eventually we settled on getting the L’estival (red) and the Marie Antoinette (pink).
After dessert we went back to the hotel and tried their (also new!) incredible fine dining restaurant called Spring Kitchen by DoubleTree Wellington. Regina is a food grammer and regularly shares the best places to eat in Wellington so it was really cool to have her insight as to what she thought. Big ticks from both of us – the menu showcased fresh, local seasonal produce and the service was impeccable. Our dining experience was a medley of exquisite Asian inspired flavors with modern European cuisine.
On the second day of Wellington I met my other friend Edric who took me to the iconic spots of Wellington such as Cuba Street, Parliament, Te Papa and the waterfront. It was so nice to see how much Wellington had changed over the years, and how similar it actually was to Melbourne, where there was a huge emphasis on food and culture.
Cuba Street is Wellington’s famous inner city slice of bohemia, where people can meet up at quirky cafes and shop at cool vintage stores.
The Beehive is the common name for the Executive Wing of the New Zealand Parliament Buildings, which of course, holds Parliament, but even has a fine dining restaurant available too.
Te Papa is New Zealand’s national museum where more than 1.5 million people visit each year. Te Papa Tongarewa translates literally to “container of treasures” and contains the world’s largest specimen of the rare colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni). It weighs 495 kilograms (1,091 lb) and is 4.2 metres (14 ft) long.
The waterfront boasts amazing views, numerous artworks and sculptures, heritage trails to walk along and award-winning cafes and restaurants to dine at.
Wellington was an absolute treat and I can’t wait to head back again. I was really surprised that all the sites to see were quite close to each other, which made the location of the hotel even more convenient. Next time when the weather is better I will be sure to visit Zealandia and the Botanic Gardens as well as hire a car to explore the outer skirts of the city and their great outdoors. There is so much us Kiwis can get up to with our weekends, and Wellington is a great spot to start exploring more of our backyard. I hope this experience has shown you more of our windy capital city, and I would love to hear about your trips and tips too.
Stephanie xx @thetravelkid.nz