The list of things to do in Wellington continues to get longer and more impressive, and with flights to the capital from almost anywhere in the country, there's no reason why it shouldn't be on your list of destinations this summer.
Here's our guide to a summer weekend in Wellington.
This summer there's something extra special to see in the capital, the Terracotta Warriors exhibition at Te Papa. These figures are in amazing condition considering their age; they're more than 2000 years old. Some call the collection the eighth wonder of the world. They stood as guards to the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shihauang.
Within the collection on show are eight warriors standing at nearly two metres high, and more than 160 Chinese artefacts made of jade, gold and bronze. They’re on display from 15 December until 22 April. This once-in a lifetime opportunity is truly worth adding to your Wellington summer to-do list.
Whether its breakfast, brunch or dinner, there's one place that never fails to impress. Floriditas on Cuba Street is a bright, casual café and restaurant that serves up an amazing selection of food as well as a long list of wine and beer, and being Wellington, their coffee is outstanding too. Or try the neighbouring Noble Rot, with an award winning French inspired menu and a second to none wine list, it will be a perfect summer’s evening dining experience.
Wellington’s tour of parliament is one of the most underrated attractions in the country. Not only do you get to walk through the corridors of power and into the cauldron that is the debating chamber, but you get to learn about some of our country’s most interesting historic events and people.
For example, did you know that the Queen isn’t allowed to enter the debating chamber? Why? You’ll find out on the tour.
Parliament’s hallways are lined with photos of every prime minister in the country’s history. From Henry Sewell in 1807, to our current PM, Jacinda Ardern.
For those that aren’t overly familiar with how a government works, you’ll be an expert after the one hour tour, as knowledgeable guides explain all parts of the political machine in a way everyone can understand.
You can also have lunch at the famous Bellamy’s restaurant in the Beehive. This historic restaurant used to be reserved for members of parliament, but now it’s open to everyone.
Wellington’s reputation for being a melting pot of culture and performance gets an extra boost this summer with artists from across the genre spectrum visiting the capital. T-Pain, Bill Murray, Engelbert Humperdinck, Brian Ferry, Eminem and the Homegrown music festival are just a handful of examples of the entertainment set to take place in Wellington in the next few months.
One of the nicest places to sit and enjoy the summer sun is at Scorching Bay Beach on the Miramar Peninsula. There’s a large grass area to enjoy a picnic, and a stretch of sand on the foreshore for those who want to be closer to the water. From here you can watch ferries travel in and out of Wellington Harbour, as well as yachts and parasailors closer to the shore. Or for a spot closer to the city, the famous beach of Oriental Bay is the perfect spot to sit and watch the world go by.
End the night with cocktails at the Hanging Ditch on Leeds Street. This laneway bar gets its name from the fact that all of its liquor hangs on bungee like cables from the ceiling. The talented bar tenders pull the bottles down as required when making drinks off their extensive cocktail menu. If you’re after something a bit more flamboyant, then S&M’s on Cuba Street is well worth checking out. The bar has been open for 11 years and is a cornerstone of New Zealand’s LGBTI community.
Air New Zealand flies to Wellington from Christchurch, Queenstown and Dunedin, plus 11 regional ports with connections available from all Air New Zealand serviced domestic airports.
This article was created for Air New Zealand. What will warm your soul in Wellington this summer? Take the quiz to find out.