Tuck into Wellington's delicious city food experiences before journeying to Kapiti and Martinborough to experience gourmet delights and boutique wines.
Wellington is the place to be if you want to immerse yourself in New Zealand’s burgeoning craft brewing culture. The city’s specialist brew bars are the best place to experience this culture. Among the stalwarts on the scene are Malthouse, Hashigo Zake, The Hop Garden, Little Beer Quarter and Crafters & Co. Meeting the local brewers is another experience hop lovers shouldn’t miss with national craft brewing legends such as Tuatara Brewing, Garage Project, ParrotDog and Yeastie Boys’ among those calling Wellington home. The capital also hosts two of the country’s largest beer festivals – Beervana (August) and Hopstock (April).
Ask a local and they’ll claim that Wellington brews the best coffee. The waft of roasting coffee beans from well over a dozen roasteries as you walk around the city will tell you that they’re probably right. Tours are available to enlighten you about the distinction between each bean and the best spots for coffee. Among the best places where you can get the local roast are The Flight Hanger Coffee, Mojo Old Bank or Mojo Poneke, Fidel’s, Prefab and Leeds St Bakery.
Wellington buzzes with cafés, delicatessens and restaurants, and it is easiest for the visitors to experience the different personalities of the city on foot.
Courtenay Place is the nightlife nerve centre - it’s packed with restaurants, bars, cafes, cinemas and theatres. Cuba Street is bohemian and alternative - a great place to find ethnic cuisine. Lambton Quay is thoroughly upmarket, with designer fashions and food to match.
Special Wellington food experiences include a chocolate café, a restaurant that puts a new spin on traditional Maori food and a seafood restaurant that’s housed in a restored historic woolshed. Zest food tours do a ‘walking gourmet’ tour of the inner city, which culminates in a three course tasting lunch with matched New Zealand wines.
To experience it all, visit Wellington in the last two weeks of August when it hosts the annual Visa Wellington on a Plate – a food festival not to be missed!
Northwest from Wellington is the Kapiti Coast, where a temperate climate and innovative entrepreneurs have combined to create some great opportunities for food lovers.
Visit an organic winery on the shores of Lake Horowhenua; enjoy country cooking at a pioneer museum; taste New Zealand-made schnapps, liqueurs, infused oils and vinaigrettes at the Prenzel Kapiti Tasting Room; and visit Lindale Farm, where you can buy locally made cheese and ice cream. A real treat on this coast is the Ruth Pretty Cooking School, which runs most weekends from March to December.
Neighbouring the Wellington region, in Wairarapa’s tiny Martinborough town, you’ll find some of New Zealand’s most iconic wineries. Cycle or walk to the 30 odd family-owned boutique wineries here to experience their world-renowned drops.