Wellington has been touted by Lonely Planet (and countless others since) as ‘the coolest little capital in the world’. It’s streets are brimming with the beautiful aroma of freshly ground coffee, artists, hipsters, creatives and excellent food. Nestled nicely behind the harbour, Wellington can be taken in on foot in under 30 minutes, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in personality.
Mr Fit Foodie and I made it our last destination of our recent New Zealand tour. It was the perfect way to end our holiday - healthy food, exercise, good conversation and awesome sights. While it’s known for it’s extensive range of cafes, galleries and museums, it’s best kept secret is the number of outdoor activities that bring you closer to nature.
Wondering what we got up to? Check out my run-down of our 24 hours in Wellington.
7am: Early wake-up call to start a jam-packed day of activities. So much to see and do outside our window - with the streets already beginning to fill with morning joggers, dog walkers and commuters. You can sleep when you’re dead right? We start the day with a brisk walk over to Earnest for a green cold-pressed bevy. It’s crisp and full of nutrients to start the day off right.
8am: We stumble across Memphis Belle cafe - lured in by the early 90’s Q-Tip tunes pumping out of the stereo and art magazines stacked high in the window. A couple of long blacks later we’re back on our feet - caffeinated and ready for the next pitt stop: breakfast.
9am: We head over to Prefab - a beautifully designed warehouse-like space filled with communal tables and steel planters with home-grown herbs. Sparking water is served in a scientists conical flask. Uber cool.
10:30am: While the weather was overcast, we decided against kayaking or Stand Up Paddleboarding in the harbour, and opted for indoor rock-climbing at Fergs Kayaks. Both completely inexperienced, we learnt the ropes (excuse the pun) with our knowledgeable instructor Michael. Mr FF was first to climb, and made an impressive ascent to the top in under a minute. Lacking in hand-eye coordination I was already on the back-foot, but did manage to climb into a cave half-way up - felt very Lara Croft, minus the short-shorts.
12:30pm: We make the 5 minute walk to Seize Cafe, taking in local boutiques along the way. I pick up matching marble salt + pepper pinch-pots from LET LIV (swoon) and some snaps of cool street-art doted down abandoned laneways. Seize is buzzing and queues spill out the door, packed with hungry city workers looking for a nourishing lunch. They’re having a hard time selecting from the extensive menu of wholefoods on offer. I opt for the Smoked Chicken bowl with spinach and grilled peaches, while Mr FF goes for the poached egg, pea shoots, tomato, rockmelon and house-made pesto. We wash it down with a Maca Coconut smoothie and slice of banana bread. Words can’t quite express my delight, and my stomach is all kinds of happy.
1:30pm: We head over to the central iSite (information centre) to hop on the free shuttle to Zealandia - an amazing restoration project that houses some of New Zealand’s rarest birds, reptiles and insects on the brink of extinction. It’s more like stepping onto a set of Jurassic Park than it is hitting the usual zoo - with not a cage in sight. Wandering the numerous tracks through the untouched forest, we spot native parrots and beautiful robins amongst other endangered birds. Feels wonderful to connect to nature.
3pm: back in the city we manage to squeeze in a quick trip to Moore Wilson’s Fresh. It’s the greengrocers of my dreams - brimming with fresh local produce and hand-crafted goodies. I’m introduced to the feijoa fruit which makes an appearance on many menus around town. They're a little like a kiwi in shape, and have a sweet, aromatic flavour which tastes like a mix of pineapple, apple and mint. Yum.
3:30pm: A wander down nearby Leeds Street uncovers a laneway of artisan producers, from the Six Barrel Soda Co., Wellington Chocolate Factory, and my personal favourite: the Fix and Fogg nut buttery. Mr FF heads straight for Leeds Street Bakery for their famous salted caramel cookie, which by the look on his face, did not disappoint.
4pm: Back to Fergs Kayaks to rent vintage yellow cruise bikes, complete with basket. Taking a beautiful route along the waterside, we headed over to Balaena Bay before heading back to base. A great way to look at the architecture, harbour, thought I would recommend skipping the ride at rush-hour when the whole of Wellington filters out of office blocks and descends onto the streets to begin their pleasant walk home.
6pm: After lots of activities our tummies are rumbling one again. We head to Loretta’s for their delightful menu that offers a mix of healthy fair and pizzas cooked in their very own woodfired oven. The sign of tahini makes me weak at the knees, and my decision is promptly made. Mr FF is lured in by the smell of the pizza oven, and opts for a Smoked fish, black olive tapenade, watercress + lemon pizza while I place my order for roasted cauliflower, chargrilled broccoli, spinach, sunflower seeds + tahini dressing. The food was deliciously light but satiating, and the atmosphere buzzing with local chatter of the days events in the office. The perfect way to wind up the day and a chance review our highlights of our time together in New Zealand.
9:30pm: It’s time to head back to our inner-city apartment to get some rest. We catch 10 minutes of a film on TV before our eyes involuntarily close. Alarms set, ready for a morning flight to Sydney, we can safely say we’ve experienced the city at it’s best.
Fun Wellington Facts:
- Walking is the main mode of transport for almost 75% of residents
- There is a total of 715km of walking tracks to run, tramp or cycle.
- You're always near some beautiful greenery! The town is surrounded by a horseshoe-shaped green belt, stretching from Mount Victoria in the east to Te Ahumairanghi Hill in the west.
You can find out more about this awesome little city right here: