We all love to travel and experience new places, but the realities of life – work, family, bills to pay – often scupper those plans.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Exploring the city you live in can be a little adventure of its own when you step our of your routine to revisit old favourites or check out something new.
That’s especially the case for the people who live in and around Wellington. With so many diverse and interesting places to dine, drink, and play, there’s something for everyone looking to reconnect with the capital.
MAKE AN EVENT OF IT
Wellington is hosting more than 410 events through March and April, so there’s really no excuse to not get amongst the action this autumn.
Jim Beam Homegrown is back for another year on March 18, spreading its celebration of Aotearoa’s music across five stages on the waterfront.
And unlike so many other music festivals, Jim Beam Homegrown is easy to pop in and out of as you please. Need a breather between your favourite bands? Then head to Cuba Street for a relaxing bite to eat before re-joining those thousands of music fans.
CubaDupa, the country’s favourite street festival, is also back on March 25 and 26.
Cuba Street and its surrounding laneways will be packed with food, fun, and theatre across more than 28 stages and zones this year.
The entertainment is divided up into fun for The Adventurer, The Performer, The Chiller, The Dynamo, and The Whānau, so there truly is something for everyone regardless of their mood that weekend.
Meanwhile, the famous Visa Wellington On a Plate celebration is dishing up two servings of the festival this year, with the first taking place from May 5-21. Spread across Wellington, Porirua, Hutt Valley, and as far as the Kāpiti Coast and Wairarapa, there will be delicious morsels to enjoy at more than 100 festival events and pop-ups.
And if it’s been a while since you visited City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi, then this autumn is a great time to return, with the largest exhibition from renowned artist Reuben Paterson on until June 18.
Reuben Paterson – The Only Dream Left spans 25 years of Paterson’s work, including paintings, sculptures, installations, and animation. The exhibition also includes The Golden Bearing, a 4.5 metre gold-glittered tree that’s being exhibited alongside Paterson’s other works for the first time.
Speaking of sculptures, Wellington is also hosting a new immersive LEGO exhibition at Tākina, Wellington Convention & Exhibition Centre from June 3 – October 16.
Using six million LEGO bricks, Jurassic World by Brickman is the blockbuster dinosaur franchise reimagined by Ryan ‘The Brickman’ McNaught.
The NZ International Comedy Festival also turns 30 this year, so it would be rude not to celebrate this big birthday without hitting one of its shows. Local and international comedians will be bringing the laughs to the capital for three weeks in autumn (May 5-28).
EXPLORING THE BEST IN FOOD AND DRINK
Locals know Wellington is the master of casual dining and café culture, with more than 570 cafes, bars, and restaurants packed into its compact CBD.
Whether it’s an impromptu drink after work or a long Saturday afternoon stretching out in front of you, there are plenty of new establishments to seek out and sample.
Concord can be found in a historic 1950s building on the corner of Victoria Street and marries delicious comfort food with an elegant casual dining experience. Kisa celebrates the cuisine of the wider Middle East and is a permanent fixture in the CBD after originally delighting locals as a pop-up restaurant in 2021.
If you’re looking for somewhere new for a tasty drink paired with delicious snacks, you could seek out Puffin, a wine bar with a focus on organic and minimal intervention wines. Kuikui Lane will also become a firm favourite with its strong spirit of manaakitanga (hospitality) and a focus on gin-based cocktails that use only New Zealand-sourced ingredients.
Or maybe this autumn calls for revisiting a few old favourites around Wellington. Think dinner at the iconic Ortega or Logan Brown; a classic cocktail or homemade soda at Crumpet; or a late night coffee at Midnight Espresso.
And come Sunday morning, there’s always that other dependable Wellington institution, the Harbourside Market.
Whether you’re in the mood for a bowl of steaming dumplings or simply want to add to the weekly food shop with some artisanal goods and fresh produce, this long-running market is another great spot for discovering new experiences and new treats in your own backyard.
This content was sponsored by 100% Pure New Zealand. You can find out more about all that Wellington has to offer locals this autumn at WellingtonNZ.com.