With bright sunny skies one day and wind that will (literally) blow you away the next, finding the right activity to do in summer isn’t always an easy pick for Wellingtonians.
Spending a few summers here, I’ve found that if the weather isn’t playing ball, there’s always something to do around town or elsewhere. Most of all, the locals tend to always be out and about no matter what.
This creative city, or the coolest little capital, has so much life that is often forgotten under the haze of Auckland’s city lights and the mountainous ranges of Queenstown. Don’t let it fool you, Welly is beautiful and thriving, and a summer must-do for visitors to New Zealand.
Drive to makara for hiking
Makara Beach is a stunner, and just a short drive from Karori (Wellington’s largest residential area). Above the beach is where the real magic happens. You can drive to the top to scour the cliffs or hike up from the beach to reach unbelievable views to the South Island. If you are going to hike, wear appropriate footwear, a windbreaker, and bring plenty of water — on a sunny day, it’s a tough one.
Enjoy a pint at a wellington brewery
The craft beer in Wellington is seriously good. Along with the beer, comes brewery spaces that rival any of the bars in town. When the sun’s out, head to a brewery over one of the pubs in the centre of town.
Some of my personal faves around Welly:
- Heyday Beer Co. (off Cuba St.)
- Black Dog Brewery (relocated to Cuba St.)
- Garage Project (Aro Valley classic)
- Fork & Brewer (go-to craft beer location in the CBD)
go for a park stroll
(And wear water shoes!)
Even on the foggiest of days, Wellington has amazing community areas which are quite lacking where I’m from in Sydney. Walking paths and bike trails galore. Down at Karori Park (pictured), there’s a decent loop for walking and cyclists or if you’re up for more of a challenge, the mountain biking trails at Makara are very close by.
Adventure & travel shoe company Aleader kindly gifted me a pair of water shoes for summer, and I’ve been wearing them as replacement walking shoes as it’s so wet here in Welly. They’re light enough that you can go for a leisurely stroll, but also durable enough to go tramping through water and damp fields.
Take in the view at Mt. Vic
A Wellington classic. This is probably the only weather-permitting suggestion as it is so incredibly windy up at the lookout. It is 196m above the city after all, but you can literally see everything about this special city from coastline to mountain ranges.
grab a skateboard and roll around the Treetops
The Treetops is known as Wellington’s best skate spot… and it’s all a DIY project by locals. Even if you don’t skate, it’s worth a look. The purposefully-built skate area is in an old carpark with towering trees surrounding the jumps. It’s also a great lookout point for the Wellington Zoo’s new chimp exhibition.
go in search of new zealand coffee
Like your coffee strong? New Zealand is the place for you, with every brew a double shot. Whenever I need a good cuppa in the city, it’s Mojo Coffee that I’ll gravitate towards — it’s everywhere and the coffee is in pretty greeny-blue cups, plus it’s good coffee.
Other coffee hotspots in town:
- Fidel’s Cafe on Cuba Street
- Flight Coffee Hangar
- Midnight Espresso
Basically, just head to Cuba Street and you’ll find delicious coffee. Or a Mojo sign will always mean above-average coffee.
roadtrip to the Kapiti Coast
Around 60 kilometres north of Wellington City is the town of Waikanae, home to a stunning beach, gorgeous holiday homes, and cute brunch spots… and the weather is warmer. Much, much warmer. Escape the Wellington chill without driving all day and night, even just for a day trip to walk along Waikanae Beach.
Hike from karori to the otari-wilton bush
We set out to hike the Skyline Walkway above Wellington for around 5 hours, but the bad signposting meant we ended up in the Otari-Wilton Bush. We still don’t know where we went wrong.
Instead, the walk went for around 3 hours, ending back in Karori at the Cemetery. Try for a clear day so you can really soak in all the views; I’m sure we missed the best of them, but it was still a lovely stroll up the mountain with views stretching over the harbour, cityscape and suburbs.
Despite the pretty average weather all year round (Wellingtonians don’t lie), this city has the perfect mix of urban and country life. It’s unbelievable how one moment you can be in the heart of the CBD and the next, by the sea or up in the clouds looking over the mountains.
Have you been to Wellington? If so, where do you like to adventure during the warmer months?