5 Things You Must Do In Wellington Winter Edition

By James Cook

I have been living in Wellington for about 6 months now and have witnessed the changing of the seasons here. I have done 2 top 5 lists for this city as the winter is so vastly different to the summer that it is like you are in a completely different city. So without further adieu here are my top 5 things to do in the winter in Wellington.

1.Te Papa 

Te Papa means the earth in Maori and is the national museum for New Zealand. It is located in a huge earthquake proof building on the waterfront. Consisting of 5 floors they often host talks and classes. Best of all this museum is free! Another draw is the fact that they have free refills on coffee in the ground floor cafe and there is free internet (ok maybe not that surprising if you are from any European/North American country but in New Zealand internet is like gold!)

178 Cuba St. A cool little cafe

2.See a film.

Wellington to New Zealand is Hollywood to America. The film industry here is big business and what better place to watch a film then one of the old style movie theaters. The best one is the Embassy theatre, it was where the world premier for the 3rd Lord of the rings film was held and is very grand. Your other option if you are staying in the centre of Wellington is Paramount. It is also very grand and has an ace little cafe which leads directly to my next point.

3. Go to a Cafe

I have been here for 6 months. This is a small city. I have not even been to a 3rd of the cafes that Wellington has to offer. The cafe per capita ratio here must be among the top in the world! The cafe I go to the most is Meow but recently I have been going to one called Fidels. It is at the top of Cuba Street and makes the greatest milkshake I have ever tasted (Snickers thick shake)!

4.Soak up some high culture

Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand. It is also the Arts capital, proof of this lies in the many theatres and countless art galleries dotted around the city. The 2 biggest ones are the national Gallery and the City Gallery. As for the theatre if you walk along Courtney place you will see 3! There are also lots of live music events and every Monday at the Fringe bar there is a live comedy night.

5. Go eat something

Like any good city wellington has a plethora of great eateries. From budget food courts to places where it costs hundreds of dollars and everything inbetween. The restaurants here do not leave much to be desired (strangely though almost every other place seems to be Malaysian!).

At the moment you can also go to pretty much any bar and watch a game of rugby as the World Cup is being hosted here!

13 thoughts on “5 Things You Must Do In Wellington Winter Edition

  1. Having visited last October and fully intending to be back next July (ah yes, the heart of winter), your list only makes me want to go back to WLG all the more. Thanks for your list, James!


  2. Speaking of seeing a film in Wellington, I’d like to give an honorable mention to the New Zealand Film Archive. It houses tens of thousands of films and videos, free to screen, in their Wellington archive in Te Aro. http://www.filmarchive.org.nz

    And a few things I’d like to add to the Must Do list:

    Take in the view:
    There are a handful of really great places to get a nice view of Wellington and Lambton Harbor. Mount Victoria is the obvious one but there are lots of hills to climb in the town belt that surrounds much of the city. Check it out from the Botanic Gardens or Victoria University, or try to make your way to the top of the Majestic Centre or State Insurance Building for a real breathtaking view.

    Any city with an active nightlife is bound to have good people-watching opportunities. The obvious spots would be Courtenay Place or Cuba Street, but if you’re not really in to checking out loads of obnoxious jocks or twenty-five year old kids with pickled livers then head to the railway station downtown, the universities, or Oriental Bay.

    Check out parliament:
    Take a tour of the Beehive, Parliament House and the Parliamentary Library. Tours last an hour and you’ll learn loads of good stuff about the buildings, parliamentary processes and New Zealand history. Just a heads up, to get the full experience you should probably consider yourself a nerd.

    Go back in time at Zealandia:
    Zealandia is an ecological island, a native wildlife sanctuary in Korori with a 500-year plan to return native species to its one square mile grounds. The reserve is home to loads of native species, some reintroduced, and you’ll see lots of birds like kaka, weka, bellbird, tui and fantail. You’ll likely see some giant weta and maybe even a couple of tuatara. Zealandia is expensive but between the creatures and the expansive visitor’s center, and considering where your money is going, it’s well worth a visit.


  3. Fotoeins – it is a great city but the weather can change so quickly! Today we even had Hail!

    Bryan – Thanks for the input I have not yet been to the Film Archive yet but I will keep an eye out if they have anything good showing. People watching is always fun I used to sit in a square in Florence and watch people while I had my morning coffee. I have also still got to try Zealandia but I am not sure there will be enough time before we leave for Australia. I will try to check out the building tours as well. They sound interesting.

    Lissie – It can be quite miserable but we had some amazing weather the weekend before last (although that fact is negated by the fact we had a freak hail storm today!)



  4. My cousins told me that a lot of restaurants in Wellington serve delicious foods. But I failed to ask them what kind of food do they usually offer. I would like to know if there is a restaurant in Wellington that serves exotic foods.


  5. aah thank you for these tips.. i am going this july for 8-9 months..
    all i have heard is that the winter kills you.. since i am not at all use to extreme winters (as i stay in mumbai) the thought of being in the windy wellington winter creeps me out… please tell me its not that bad !!
    and since i am a vegetarian.. you think there will be good enough options for me to survive 😉


    1. It may be a little shock at first but you’ll be ok. It’ll only be cold for the first month or two of your stay! They’ll be plenty of vegetarian options available to you as well, you definitely won’t go hungry.


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