Wellington
View of the city from Mount Victoria. Photo by Charles Stemen, Champlain College who studied abroad in Wellington.

Want to spend a weekend in one of the most unique cities in the world? Here are a few places you can’t afford to miss while exploring the beautiful city of Wellington. This itinerary hits the “must see” places for a weekend trip, so you won’t miss a thing!

Friday

Looking for an exciting nightlife scene for your first night in Welly? Courtenay Place is the place to be! With dozens of different bars, there’s definitely something for everyone. From dancing to 80s music at “Boogie Wonderland” to getting classy with a signature cocktail at “The Library,” there’s a bar to suite whatever scene you’re into.

Saturday

Start your Saturday morning at the famous (and free!) Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand. Coming from a person who is not usually a huge museum lover, this is no ordinary museum. It explores various aspects of Maori culture, walks the visitor through the history of the land, and provides a hands-on experience that helps visitors learn all about both human and animal life in New Zealand. It is even home to a giant colossal squid.

Like to shop? Well, you’re in for a treat. The next stop on your Saturday trip is Cuba Street, located in the city center, is lined with clothing stores, restaurants, cafes, and more. Also known as “Cuba Mall” this street has everything, from little boutiques to espresso cafes, to Mexican food, to an Irish Pub. Catch it on a beautiful day, and you’ll see musicians playing for those walking by to enjoy. Located right in the center is the famous “Bucket Fountain.” Rumor has it that Elijah Wood climbed onto this fountain when filming in New Zealand.

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Photo of the bucket fountain on Cuba Street by Ashok Chadwaney who studied abroad in New Zealand.

For your next activity, get ready to be up close and personal with some of New Zealand’s most spectacular wildlife at Zealandia. Zealandia is a 225ha conservation and restoration project, open to the public and located only 10 minutes outside of the city. Enjoy either a guided tour, or tramp your own way across the park.

Sunday

Come down right next to the water on Sunday morning for the most popular farmers market in Wellington. This market includes everything from your everyday fruits and vegetables, to the unique food stands of local producers, to ice cream and yummy treats. There’s always a new food to try at an extremely affordable price! Plus the market features local entertainers, allowing you to make your stroll around the market more leisurely.

Farm grown fresh tomatoes at the weekly Wellington farmers market. Photo by Cydnie Oleinick who studied abroad in Wellington.

While you are at the farmers market, be sure to check out Oriental Bay. Situated right at the base of Mount Victoria, Oriental Bay is an extremely popular attraction, regardless of the season. During the summer, you can hop right in and take a swim in the bay or even rent out a kayak or paddle board. This is also a common place to take a jog or ride your bike, as the views are quite exquisite.

Take a swim in the harbor or rent paddleboats with friends. Photo by Shannon Johnston who Interned abroad in New Zealand.

An absolute must-do in Wellington is to climb Mount Victoria. The view from the top of the mountain is unbelievable. The tramp up there is relatively easily, taking only about 30 minutes to climb. However if you choose to there is also a car/bus route up to the top. The mountain gives a panoramic view of the city of Wellington and is jaw dropping no matter what time of day. Sunrise, midday, or sunset, this is one view you cannot miss out on.

After all that hiking, take the famous Wellington Cable Car from Lambton Quay all the way up to the Botanic Gardens for your next activity. These exceptional gardens span 25ha and feature many different attractions including a rose garden, duck pond, and peace garden. You can stroll through self-guided trails to explore the beautiful plants and flowers flourishing within the gardens.

Photo of the cable car by Janelle Holte who studied abroad in Wellington.

No matter what you do, you are sure to enjoy a weekend in this beautiful city. Enjoy the fabulous nightlife scene, learn about New Zealand, shop ‘til you drop, hang by the harbor, and get a real taste of the city at the farmers market during an action-packed weekend in Wellington.

Danielle Silverman is a TEAN Alum and student at the University of Pittsburgh. She studied abroad with TEAN at Victoria University of Wellington in Wellington, New Zealand.