5 Things to Do in Wellington to Make You Feel Like a Local

Welcome to the newly created guest blogger series – travel like a local, not a tourist.

Travel bloggers from right around the world will be regularly featured here on Live Travel Blog sharing those hidden travel treasures that only locals know best. This is a unique, interactive travel experience which will allow you, the reader, to view continent maps and select locations of interest based on where you would like to travel. Bare in mind, this is still in its early stages and as such, it is lacking content, but as the weeks go on, more guest blogs will be featured and make their way onto the map.

If you would like to contribute to the local guest blogger series and mark your spot on the map, please get in contact with me here.

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Five Things to Do in Wellington to Make You Feel Like a Local

by Amanda Williams of A Dangerous Business.
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I’m not going to lie to you – there’s a ton to do when visiting New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington.

Whether it’s exploring Te Papa, New Zealand’s fantastic (and free!) national museum; tracking down some kiwi birds at the zoo; scouting for hobbits in Miramar; or getting a birds-eye-view at the Mount Victoria lookout, there’s plenty to keep the average tourist occupied.

But what if you don’t want to be the average tourist in Wellington? What if you don’t want to hike out to see seals at Sinclair Head, or tour the beehive-shaped parliament building? What if you just want to experience Wellington as the locals do?

Well, have no fear. This, too, is possible.

If you want to feel like a local in Wellington, here are some fun things to do to set you on the right path:

1. Plan a Beach Day at Oriental Bay

On the days when Wellington isn’t living up to its blustery moniker of “Windy Welly,” it can be downright beautiful. When the sun shines and a fresh breeze blows in off the Pacific, you can’t help but want to be outside.

On days like these, head down to Lambton Harbor and nearby Oriental Bay for some quality time on the waterfront. You’ll find tons of locals out and about on nice days, walking dogs, roller blading, or playing games of pick-up rugby in the sand. Grab some gelato at Kaffee Eis, and then take a walk. This is a great spot for people-watching.

Oriental Bay - Wellington, New Zealand

2. Go Shopping on Lambton Quay

If that cash is burning a hole in your pocket, head down to bustling Lambton Quay and nearby Willis and Manners streets, in the heart of Wellington’s central business district, for some shopping. Here you can find everything from chain stores to pharmacies (or chemists as they’re called in this part of the world) to upscale boutiques.

Marvel at the fern ball sculpture in Civic Square as you pass by, and perhaps even catch a ride on the historic cable car that lifts off from a station on Lambton Quay. Sure, this is a slightly touristy thing (as is exploring the Botanic Gardens at the top station), but many locals also use the cable car to get from point A to point B, much as they would use the bus.

Lambton Quay - Wellington, New Zealand

3. Eat Dinner on Cuba Street

Wellington is often referred to as the “cultural capital” of New Zealand, as well as the political one. And it just takes a stroll down Cuba Street to understand why. Cuba Street – a largely pedestrian zone – is lined with shops, bars and restaurants of all sorts. Buskers often perform on corners, and a fountain made up of buckets adds a unique charm to the area. From Mexican to Turkish to Italian to Malaysian cuisine (and many others, too), there’s something for every palate on Cuba Street. Representing the cultural diversity that makes up Wellington, most of these restaurants are authentic, and offer up some delicious dining options.

Cuba Street Bucket Fountain - Wellington, New Zealand

4. Enjoy a Night Out on Courtenay Place

After a week full of work or play, many locals (and especially the young ones) like to unwind on Courtenay Place on the weekends. Here you can find restaurants, bars, two movie theaters, and quite a few dance clubs. Whether you’re in the mood for some live music at a small pub, or ready to get your dance on in a trendy club, you can probably find what you’re looking for on Courtenay Place.

Catch a movie at the renovated Embassy theater, or perhaps a live performance at the St. James Theatre. Get a taste of some New Orleans cookin’ at Sweet Mother’s Kitchen, and try a new flavor of gelato at Kaffee Eis. Then hit up one of the many bars and clubs for a quiet drink, or a night of raucous dancing.

Courtenay Place - Wellington, New Zealand

5. Support a Local Sports Team

New Zealanders are very serious when it comes to sports and supporting their favorite teams. The country has an intense rugby culture, and it’s probably almost illegal be a kiwi if you don’t support the national rugby team, the All Blacks.

The All Blacks play international matches from time to time in Wellington at Westpac Stadium, but they’re not the only team worth supporting. Wellington has a cricket team, the Wellington Firebirds, who often play at Basin Reserve, and the city is also home to New Zealand’s only professional football (soccer) team, the Wellington Phoenix.

Buy some team gear, have a pint, and then cheer on one of the local teams to really feel like you fit in.

Rugby - Wellington, New Zealand

This, of course, is not an all-inclusive list, but it should at least set you on the right (non-touristy) path in New Zealand’s capital city. Enjoy!

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Amanda - A Dangerous BusinessAmanda Williams is a 20-something journalist from Ohio with an affinity for travel and a slight obsession with New Zealand. After living in Wellington for 5 months, Amanda would like nothing more than to return to New Zealand full-time to wear jandals, eat hokey-pokey ice cream, and continue pretending she understands the rules of rugby. Her knowledge of Wellington comes from exploring and getting lost in the city more times than she can count, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. You can find Amanda at:

Blog: A Dangerous Business
Twitter: @dangerousbiz
Facebook: ADangerousBusiness

 

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