For a capital city, Wellington New Zealand has scored some amazing cred from Lonely Planet’s “coolest little capital” to Deutsche Bank’s “best place to live in the world.” And, while it’s far from the biggest city in the country, it certainly lives up to its cool reputation.
Bryce Dallas Howard says Wellington is her “favourite city.” “I instantly fell in love with Wellington’s vibe, community and culture. It’s small, walkable, jam-packed with surprises. You can spend months in town and never run out of cafés to try, shops to explore or friendly locals.”
For visitors on the go, Bryce recommends the best way to maximize 48 hours in Wellington.
Friday: “Wellingtonians are some of the friendliest Kiwis – designers, artists and creative thinkers who are the fuel behind New Zealand’s film hub.”
Stay at QT Museum Hotel with its amazing art collection, a stone’s throw from the waterfront, to absorb some of the local artistic bent. Explore street art and artisan shops in Hannah’s Laneway for tasty morsels and photo stops. Spend the afternoon examining local history at Te Papa Museum, then foot it to lively Cuba Street where the hipsters come out to eat, shop, and play at night.
“It’s easy to become inspired in Wellington. There’s so much creativity all around you.” Saturday: Start your day by grabbing a superb flat white from one of Wellington’s ever-present cafés, and head to city fringe Karori for a taste of nature. Not 10 minutes from downtown, Zealandia is a 556-acre eco-sanctuary for native birds such as the flightless kiwi and the living dinosaur tuatara.
“I loved that even though I was living in the city, I could just pop up the road to Zealandia or the rocky coast by Island Bay, and feel like I was a million miles away,” Bryce says. “Wellington is this gorgeous blend of nature and city.”
A lunchtime visit to the suburb of Miramar puts you in the epicentre of “Wellywood” and the home of Weta Workshop. Watch out for visiting celebs while dining at your choice of eatery, or continue a few minutes down the road to Scorching Bay and film-themed Scorch-O-Rama Café with its quirky beachside tables and chairs – settle in for a long lunch or a delicious ice cream.
Cap off the evening with a live show at San Fran or Bodega, and dinner in one of many establishments on Courtney Place.
Sunday: Bryce’s “favourite Wellington Sunday tradition” is the Harbourside Market, located on the waterfront beside the museum.
“The market is full of fresh produce, live performers and delicious food trucks. It’s the perfect place to connect with friends and meet new ones.”
To complete your stay in Wellington, visitors can relax in the Botanic Garden, sample craft beer at Garage Project in Aro Valley, or hike up Mt. Victoria to take in a 360-degree view of the city and harbour.
Bryce Dallas Howard was recently in New Zealand filming a six-part video series with National Geographic Travel.