City Guide: 48 hours in Wellington

Wellington is a stunning place to visit for film, music, food, arts and culture lovers. Photo credit: Gettys

If you’re looking for a quick 48 hour getaway, then Wellington should be at the top of your list for destinations.

Its compact central city makes it perfect for all types of travellers, most of the time you won’t even need a car.

Our capital city is often compared to Melbourne due to its arts and café culture that gives it an edge over other cities of its size.

It’s a city that you can land in the middle of and straight away be immersed in cultures and creative industries that are leading the world.

City Gallery Wellington Photo credit: WellingtonNZ


There are a few names that are synonymous with theatre in Aotearoa, and BATS is one of those.

Since the 70’s it’s been much like a spiritual home of theatre in New Zealand, there are shows on all the time, but book ahead as it’s not the biggest of spaces and sells out fast.

Some would say that Cuba Street is an art installation in itself and that’s almost true. There are places located on or near the iconic street all within walking distance.

Located just a stones throw away from each other, the McLeavey Gallery and Bartley + Company Art are very different in terms of style, but equally as good as each other for art lovers.

Rogue & Vagabond Craft Beer Bar Photo credit: WellingtonNZ


Walking along Cuba Street can sometimes feel like you’re on a conveyor belt gliding through a music factory. The street is lined with buskers, veterans to newbies, young and old.

One place I always visit when in town is Slow Boat Records. This place is a genuine old school music store. It’s packed with the latest music on CD or vinyl, but has an extensive back catalogue ranging from cassettes and VHS tapes to 45’s.

If you’re travelling with kids, they may be hesitant to spend time here, but challenge them to locate something they find interesting. It won’t take them long, every taste is catered for.

There are some big concerts heading to Wellington as well. Norah Jones on 24 April, the Wellington Jazz Festival from 5 - 9 June and the amazing New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with its Beethoven Festival from 28 - 31 August, and The NZ exclusive of West Side Story hits the Opera House from 6 -16 June.

Light House Cinema Petone Photo credit: WellingtonNZ


Wellington is New Zealand’s own Hollywood. So much so they almost replicated the sign at the entrance of the film neighbourhood, Miramar using its nickname of ‘Wellywood.’ Although the locals stopped this and I’m glad that idea never went ahead, it’s a good example of how much this city contributes to the world of film.

For film lovers, visiting the Weta Cave is a must. Learn some of Weta Workshops unique and top secret techniques they have used behind the scenes on movies like Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

A great place for a bite to eat for those in love with the movie world is Coco at Roxy. It’s located in a stunning old art deco styled movie theatre.

If you are one of the millions of Lord of the Rings fans, then make sure you check out Embassy Theatre too. It’s where Peter Jackson held one of the trilogy’s world premieres.

Rita, Aro Street Photo credit: WellingtonNZ


When I visit Wellington I find it impossible to check out all the eateries on my list. There are places I’ve been to before that I want to visit again, and places I’ve read about and want to sample for myself.

On Sunday’s there is no better place to be than the Harbourside Market. Local food, coffee and produce are served from small stalls and from the back of trucks. Located right on the water, it feels a lot like the famous fish markets of Seattle.

The waterfront has a stack of pub style eateries which are great on a sunny day, or when there’s a game to watch on the TV.

But there are nice restaurants all over the city.

Rita, in Aro Valley has to be one of the cutest places I’ve ever eaten at. You feel like you’re in someone’s lounge, and are welcomed and treated as such too.

If you’re more of a food lover than a casual diner, then make sure you book a Zest food tour and experience the lesser known eating experiences the city has to offer.

To plan your winter Wellington get-away check out WellingtonNZ for a wealth of information and ideas.

This article was created for WellingtonNZ