© NZPocketGuide.com
© NZPocketGuide.com

Discovering Wellington, the Coolest Little Capital

© NZPocketGuide.com

78 Days on the Road

It has been non-stop since arriving in Wellington. The capital city has provided us with a museum visit that has exceeded all expectations and beyond, a free tour around Parliament, a behind-the-scenes tour of Weta, and yesterday, a walk on the wild side in Zealandia. Today, we’re going to just turn it down a notch… just a little bit… to explore the fabulous city of Wellington. Cafes, art, shows: we want to see why so many people say Wellington is a “happening” city.

A waterfront wandering

By some sort of Wellington miracle, the sun comes out in the morning – perfect weather for a walk along the waterfront. The Wellington waterfront is just about having “lots to see”. There’s art, there’s poetry carved into slabs of concrete and hidden in obscure places, there are men in suits riding on their scooters, sculptures made from rusted maritime objects, water fountains – even one out to sea on Oriental Parade.

Art, art everywhere!

Oh man, we’ve seen too much right here. We need to get off the waterfront. Even that is an overload of the senses. We take some stairs and bridge way over the waterfront road and towards the i-SITE seeing contemporary wooden art in the shape of birds and various other carvings.

Then the scene dramatically changes to stone artworks, such as a giant pyramid that you can walk through and metal palm trees.

City tourist? Have a coffee!

We’re going to be the stereotypical city visitor here, but there is a subtle hint of coffee that seems to hang in the Wellington atmosphere. It’s been toying with us every time we have walked down the streets of Wellington so far, so we finally have to do it… We have to get a coffee!

Treating ourselves at Enigma

So our search for a cafe brings us to the main street of Wellington, Courtenay Place. Bars, cafes, boutique stores, amongst the giants of Reading Cinema and Subway, line the street giving us variety. We like the look of the Enigma cafe, which is specifically open early until late!

Enigma is a popular place, but we do find a table and get down to ordering coffee. However, they have a mean selection of cakes! Laura goes for an adventurous caramel and mixed berries tart, while Robin gets a classic chocolate cake. What is that?! Clearly Robin has not been inspired by the art and possibilities of Wellington today…

Damn, look at those cakes!

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That hipster street

Now that we have our token city activity done with, we mooch on without much direction down random streets. We find one street filled with plant pots and gardeners’ dreams, then there’s a few alleys we wish we hadn’t turned down, but then we emerge on the famous bohemian street, Cuba Street.

Now, we’ve heard Cuba Street is meant to be the place to be for coffees and general bohemian good times, but we start to get a little worried when we are passing chain store after chain store. (The hipster street isn’t looking so hipster anymore!) Alas, we are glad we walked far down Cuba Street because we are spoiled for choice with shops and places to eat: Grill Meets Beer, Fiders, Southern Cross, Olive, Plum and the Cuba Street Bistro. Mmm, now we are hungry, again.

Cheap eats at Capital Market

After being recommended to us by the receptionist at Trek Global, we check out Capital Market because a) it’s near the hostel, and b) it has cheap and good food!

The Capital Market food court has a decent selection of oriental food, as well as a gluten-free stall and a bar. All the colours of the freakin’ rainbow decorate this food court, making it not too shabby to hang out in too. We get some hot chocolates, some $8 meals, and call ourselves some happy backpackers.

Raw comedy night

The hip and the happening doesn’t stop there, because tonight we have some tickets to see a comedy show at The Fringe Bar, just off Courtenay Place. We haven’t seen a comedy gig in ages, so we’re pretty stoked right now!

We arrive at the bar early, because, ya know, beer is served there, and play in a painful game of pool with two guys, Mitchell and Jerome. Not painful because of the company! Oh no, just because we all suck so bad!

Nevertheless, tonight is a “raw comedy” night, meaning it’s like an open mic night of half-prepared jokes – some comedians will be awesome, some, well, not so much.

The man can’t play pool but at least he is funny!

It turns out that Jerome who we played pool with is actually a freakin’ hilarious comedian. (A shout out to Jerome Chandrahasen who does gigs in Wellington and Auckland. Check him out!)

After about six comedians, a lot of laughs and a lot of nonsense, the night ends with Enigma, the “world’s greatest pick-up artist” from the U S of A. Then, everyone’s worst nightmare at a comedy gig happens to us, we are picked for the gag… Ok, so it wasn’t that bad, and we’re easy to laugh at.

The perfect end to a Wellington walkabout

We’ve ended our time in Wellington the way we should have and we are proud of it, goddamnit! Having a coffee, trying to understand art, having more coffee, stuffing ourselves, having a beer, and laughing at people we are meant to laugh at – all before taking the ferry to the South Island tomorrow. Join us then!

Art appreciators, whatever the weather!

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See you tomorrow!


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