The Botanic Garden
Catch the Cable Car up to the Botanic Garden, and relish the beautiful plant life all around you. After you’ve done a bit of exploring, find an intimate grassy spot in the vicinity to set up your picnic station. If you want to get good views of Wellington, head towards the Krupp Gun sculpture. For those feeling a bit romantic, another nice place to settle into is right by the award-winning Lady Norwood Rose Garden.
Clyde Quay, Oriental Parade
Want to try a more Kiwi approach to summertime picnicking? Then grab some fish’n’chips from Mt Vic Chippery and head towards Oriental Parade. You can either walk up to Clyde Quay, or go a little further afield to get to Oriental Bay beach. Either way, you’ll be well-placed to feast up a storm right by the idyllic coastline.
If you want a bit of urban flair to your picnic location, head along to the Wellington Waterfront. You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to places to settle in and watch the passing crowds: on the lawn by Te Papa, beneath the Pohutakawa tress by Frank Kitts Park, or by local contemporary art installations like Nga Kina.
For those wanting a glimpse of Wellington’s native plant and wildlife, Otari-Wilton’s Bush is the best place to go. The reserve is just 10 minutes away from the city – if you don’t have a car, take the No. 14 bus that goes to Wilton. While you’re there, make sure to do some hiking and bird-watching too.
A local favourite for panoramic views, Mount Victoria’s grassy hillside is a great place to stop for a bite to eat. Make your way up to the lookout, then settle in to watch the passing planes above, the cruising ferries below, and the city life in between.
If you want to go further afield, take the East By West Ferry to Matiu/Somes Island. This predator-free, scenic reserve has only become open for the wider public in recent years, and is truly a sight to see. Take a couple of hours to walk around, and learn about Matiu/Somes Island’s rich Maori heritage and history. With so much tranquility on show, you won’t need to stray too far to find the right spot for your picnic.
If you want to go further ashore than Matiu/Somes Island, stay on the ferry and get off at Eastbourne Village. Revel in the scenic cruise along the way, then lay out your blankets and supplies by the waterfront. You can either walk from the wharf to Williams Park, or head over to Days Bay for a sun-kissed feast. After that, you’ll have plenty of time to take a stroll around the village.
Kaitoke Regional Park
Here’s a special treat for Lord of the Rings fans – Kaitoke Regional Park was the setting for Rivendell, and still has a replica of the Elvish Archway for you to see. It’s a little further afield than most items on our list (approximately 45 minutes from Wellington central), but the journey is worth it. The iconic landscape is filled with places for walking, cycling, swimming, kayaking, and picnicking.
Another scenic lookout with marvellous views to its name. The Massey Memorial is a historic site that includes a mausoleum, a World War II anti-aircraft gun battery, and a full panorama of the Wellington Harbour for the keenest of sightseers. There are plenty of picnic places around – it’s up to you whether you want to make the trek all the way up, or to settle for some serenity somewhere in the middle.
Truby King House and Garden
Not only does this heritage-listed estate offer a stunning piece of local history, it’s also within close quarters to Wellington Zoo. Visitors have access to the Truby King Garden all year round, where they can marvel at a collection of roses, pines, azaleas and rhododendrons that have been around since the 1920s. If you happen to be visiting around November, you can also catch sight of the Truby King House itself. Find a nice spot by the garden to set up station and enjoy the lovely flora all around.