The Best-Kept Secrets Of Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington I
Wellington I | © Allan Bergman/Flickr
Karmi Chan

As the dynamic capital of New Zealand, Wellington is well known for its picturesque waterside location, colorful houses, welcoming locals and relaxed, amiable atmosphere. But what about those lesser known attractions and activities? If you fancy something different to a museum visit or a tour around the parliament house, Wellington boasts a number of hidden-away secrets just waiting to be discovered. From quaint movie theaters to family-run, innovative food joints, here’s our list of the best-kept secrets not to be missed in the city.

Wellington I

1. Wright's Hill Lookout

Wright’s Hill Lookout

For a relaxing day surrounded by the beauty of nature, make sure not to miss Wright’s Hill Lookout, a spot offering majestic, panoramic views of the city. As well as gorgeous scenery, Wright’s Hill boasts many walking tracks and picnic areas, perfect for a day of family fun. The place is also the home to WWII gun emplacements and tunnels which are open to the public on select days; this is an historic and beautiful area to traverse when in Wellington.

Address: Karori, Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington, New Zealand I © Moritz Lino/Flickr

2. Taste


A local family-run restaurant, Taste is a favorite dinner spot amongst locals, a cozy and quiet venue oozing a relaxed and refined atmosphere. The joint serves up a small but tasty menu, a selection which includes lamb and bacon fry and an excellently cooked fillet steak. Tasty meal side dishes incorporate fried potatoes and iceberg lettuce with a buttermilk dressing, and with a comfortable environment, personal service and home-style cooking, what’s not to love?
Address and Telephone: 2 Ganges Road, Khandallah, Wellington, New Zealand, +64 4-479 8449

3. Matiu Somes Island

Matiu Somes Island

Matiu Somes Island is a must-visit when in Wellington. A short ferry ride away from the city, this island makes for the perfect day trip, and is a beautifully scenic spot home to many wild birds, skinks, tuataras and more. A day spent here will be relaxing and idyllic, a change of pace from the bustle of dynamic Wellington. Top tip: bring a packed lunch and enjoy a picnic for an unforgettable dining experience encompassed by the best of New Zealand’s nature.

Address: Matiu/Somes Island, Wellington, New Zealand

Matiu Somes Island I © Laura Molles/Flickr

4. Weta Cave

Model of Golem at Weta Cave I © Bill Harrison/Flickr
© Bill Harrison/Flickr

Weta Cave

Weta Cave is the shop front of the world famous Oscar-winning Weta workshop, a movie-based visitor experience in the heart of Wellington. Learn the secrets of the special effects behind Weta Workshop by taking the Weta Cave tour here, an excursion during which participants will get to see behind-the-scenes interviews and see first-hand some characters and props from your favorite Hollywood hits. Entry into the Weta Cave is free, and includes a complimentary video screening. We recommend that you book tours in advance, as they fill up fast during the busy summer season. Weta Cave is an exciting and unique experience, and it can only be experienced in Wellington.

Address and Telephone: 1 Weka Street, Miramar, Wellington, New Zealand, +64 4-380 9361

Model of Gollum at Weta Cave I © Bill Harrison/Flickr

5. Ti Kouka Cafe

Cafe, Tea , European

Ti Kouka Cafe cooks up delicious food using only the best local ingredients, and is a joint which serves bucket-loads of culinary goodness, offering patrons a large breakfast, brunch, lunch and drinks menu to choose from. The coffee at Ti Kouka Cafe is some of Wellington’s best, and the venue uses renowned Red Rabbit Coffee to create an unbeatable cup of joe. Although Ti Kouka Cafe is seemingly always bustling with business, the wait for a table is never too long, and the staff always treat customers as if they’re the only ones in the restaurant. Stop by on Sundays to experience the wonders of a hearty brunch being served all day.

6. Roxy Cinema

Cinema, Park

Exterior of Roxy Cinema I © smalljude/Flickr
© smalljude/Flickr

Roxy Cinema

Bringing back the magic and romance of old-time film, Roxy Cinema is the perfect destination for a relaxing night in Wellington. In 2013 Roxy Cinema was named ‘Best Cinema in New Zealand’ by the Australian Independent Distributors’ Association, and is home to two state-of-the-art cinemas as well as a trendy restaurant and cocktail lounge. We highly recommend visitors to check out this magical cinema for a worthwhile movie night whilst in Wellington.

Address and Telephone: 5 Park Road, Miramar, Wellington, New Zealand, +64 4-388 5555

Exterior of Roxy Cinema I © smalljude/Flickr

7. Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary

7. Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary
© russellstreet/Flickr

Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary

Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary is an eco-restoration project and education facility which is a must-see for visitors of all ages. Housing an array of native wildlife types including 40 different species of bird, dozens of reptiles and hundreds of plants, there’s so much to see at this sanctuary you might need more than one day of exploration. Many of the plants and animals seen here are endangered and practically extinct, meaning a trip acquaints visitors with some of the most precious animal types in the world. There are complimentary tours and talks offered all day, adding an interesting educational element to any trip.

Address and Telephone: 53 Waiapu Road, Karori, Wellington, New Zealand, +64 4-920 9200

Tuatara at wildlife sanctuary I © russellstreet/Flickr

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