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Wellington cable car

Travel: Capital gains in Wellington

Wellington has all the wow factor you could want.

Our bustling capital is home to an array of spectacular world-class events, all taking place over the upcoming months. That means now is the perfect time to book your tickets and pay the city a visit to make the most of all it has to offer.

Whether your trip is for the much-loved Wellington On A Plate in August, the legendary World of Wearable Art Awards Show (Wow) in September, or just a quick break away, we’ve found a few new places, as well as some old favourites, to make your stay a memorable one.

Kitchen at Charley Noble
Kitchen at Charley Noble


Home to a thriving café culture and some of New Zealand’s top eating establishments, it’s easy to create an entire itinerary around indulging your taste buds. Wellington has its established restaurants, but there are several newbies that are worth a visit.

  • Charley Noble, 1 Post Office Square

One of Wellington’s newest eateries, Charley Noble is the brainchild of Paul Hoather of Oriental Bay’s The White House. Specialising in seafood and fine cuts of meat, you can sit and watch the kitchen action where meat is cooked in the fire pit. Arrive early at this charming ex-maritime building to secure a table as reservations aren’t taken. Or choose a tipple from the extensive wine and cocktail list while you wait.

  • Leeds Street Bakery & Red Rabbit Coffee Co, 6G/14 Leeds Street

Tucked away in a small street, you may think you’ve taken a wrong turn until you find the Red Rabbit storefront. The bakery is a new venture by brothers Jesse Simpson and Shepherd Elliott – the award-winning team behind Ti Kouka Café. From the bakery, an array of delicious breads and pastries are passed through a hole in the wall to be served at the Red Rabbit Coffee Co next door.

It’s a delicious pairing of freshly baked delights and finely crafted coffee. Don’t leave town without trying one of their salted caramel biscuits. A word of warning, though – if you try one, you’ll want a few more to take home (if they get that far!)

For casual style and top-notch food, stop in at Charley Noble.
For casual style and top-notch food, stop in at Charley Noble.

  • The Crab Shack, Queens Wharf

Next door to Simon Gault’s fine-dining restaurant, Shed 5, his latest venture is a more laid-back establishment and has lower prices to match.

With a casual, Cape Cod-themed dining experience, you can order shellfish by the scoop, then opt for entrées and mains that give a Kiwi twist to Americana-style food.


When you catch Wellington on one of its stunner days, take the Cable Car from downtown to the Botanic Gardens for a bird’s-eye view of the city. Thanks to a recent $1.9 million upgrade, if the weather takes a turn while you are at the top, you can still check out the view from the covered terminus at the viewing platform.

  • The Wow Factor: 25 Years In the Making. Until August 17, Te Papa, 55 Cable Street

An entrant in the Weta Workshop Film and Costume category at the Wow Awards.
An entrant in the Weta Workshop Film and Costume category at the Wow Awards.

Te Papa, our national museum and gallery, is always worth a visit for its sprawling exhibits, including The Wow Factor, the current must-see at the Eyelight Gallery. This exhibition features more than 25 exceptional garments from previous Wow shows, ranging from the intricately beautiful to the completely outrageous – exactly what you’d expect from this sensational event. A tour is sure to whet your appetite for Wow.


With a shopping landscape that’s compact and easily covered on foot, this city makes retail therapy easy. From local, handcrafted labels to the high-end, the city covers the spectrum.

  • Kirkcaldie & Stains, 165-177 Lambton Quay

There’s a reason the department store, fondly known as Kirks, is a Wellington institution. It’s all class, with a wide range of covetable labels and wares presented in heritage surrounds. Clocking up more than 150 years in business, Kirks is a great starting point for a day of shopping.

  • Good as Gold, 120 Victoria Street

While a visit calls for a slight deviation off the main shopping routes, it’s well worth making a detour to this boutique, with its cool and quirky fit-out. Plus, if you’re on foot, it’s on the way to Leeds Street Bakery, so you can work up an appetite! Here you’ll find fashion and streetwear from around the world as well as New Zealand designers, including Twenty-Seven Names. This small store is full of treasures.


  • InterContinental Wellington, 2 Grey Street

The Intercontinental is perfectly positioned for a city break or a weekend at Wow, and the recently refurbished rooms are the ideal spot to recharge your batteries.

The Australian Women's Weekly
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