You don’t need to hunt down a golden ticket to tour this chocolate factory — $16 will do it. New Zealand’s first public 'bean-to-bar' chocolate factory holds groups tours most Saturdays where you can learn all about cacao and ethically-traded chocolate, and witness the chocolate-making process first hand. After the tour, you’ll be taken to the tasting table where you can sample bars side-by-side and ask questions. True choc wizards, the Wellington Chocolate Factory use artisan methods dating back to the 18th century to produce their one-off flavour combos (bars include: Craft Beer, Chilli Peanuts, Star Anise, ANZAC) and wrap each of their creations with beautiful prints designed by Wellington artists. Make sure to book a spot before you visit – this is one pit stop you’d be crazy to miss!
A tribute to pasta, 1154 is named after the year the Italian staple was first named in text. The casual dining space is located on Wellington’s lively Cuba Street, and serves up beloved pasta classics — think Bolognese, carbonara and tortellini — the Wellington way. Pasta is made daily using free-range eggs and New Zealand semolina, and tomatoes hail from Italy. The organic wine list celebrates some of the country’s smallest vineyards and beer is by local brewer, Parrotdog. Gluten-free or vegan? 1154 make it easy with pasta options and a dietary menu. Tip: Add one of 1154’s infamous garlic and rosemary rolls to your order to enjoy as a side. You can thank us later.
Fashion and interior stylist Brooke Testoni recently spent a weekend exploring New Zealand’s Cool Little Capital, hunting down its best cafés, shops and cultural offerings. “I travel because I’m curious,” says the new mum. “A weekend in Wellington has been on my list for a while. There is such a creative energy here.” Whether you’re a solo traveller, looking for a weekend getaway for two or travelling with the kids, Wellington makes the perfect destination. Check out 10 of Brooke Testoni’s favourite Wellington hotspots below.
Go on an adventure down little Eva Street off of Hannah’s Laneway and seek out the black and white ‘peanut butter’ flag. Fix and Fogg’s hole in the wall peanut buttery make excellent spreads, with flavours including ‘Coffee and Maple Peanut Butter' and ‘Fruit Toast Peanut Butter', along with the regular crunchy and smooth varieties. Order a slice from the toast menu board (you can’t go wrong with the classic PB&J) or snatch up a jar to take home. Made using High Oleic variety peanuts, Fix and Fogg’s peanut butters are bursting with sweet and sticky flavour.
Brooke Testoni’s guide
to the New Zealand capital
Te Papa Tongarewa is New Zealand’s national museum and a must-see for anyone visiting Wellington. With a strong focus on technology, the museum’s innovative exhibitions are interactive and engaging, and make for a great day out with the kids. Watch on as they uncover dinosaur bones in Bush City and experience an earthquake in the Quake Braker simulator. Te Papa features a mix of long and short-term exhibitions, promising the very best of local and international culture and art. Sweet bonus: entry is free.
While there’s no shortage of excellent coffee in Wellington, Prefab would most definitely be in the running for best brew. Coffee connoisseurs will be happy to know that Prefab’s Acme & Co. coffee is roasted on-site and can be served black, white or ‘bottomless’ filter. There’s a seasonal menu of sandwiches and small bites, and with room for 180 diners at a time, large families will feel right at home.
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Take in the beauty of Wellington from above at the Mount Victoria Lookout. At 196 metres, the vantage point boasts 360-degree views of the city, harbour and beyond. Located right next to the CBD, you can drive to the top, catch a bus or walk up via the Southern Walkway. Take a picnic with you and watch as the ferries pass by and planes take off and land. Sunset panoramas here are simply breathtaking.
Pickle & Pie
For a current look at Wellington’s art scene, head on over to City Gallery. The non-collecting public gallery features an ever-changing programme of exhibitions and events from New Zealand and around the world, with a focus on contemporary art, architecture and design. With events designed to challenge and inspire visitors, the gallery has earned a reputation for its innovation and importance in New Zealand’s contemporary art scene. Be sure to check out the gallery’s event list before your visit to see what’s on.
MOUNT VICTORIA LOOKOUT
Apart from housing an incredible line-up of cafés and one-off boutiques, Wellington’s laneways are known for their incredible street art. One location that has gone through a recent transformation is Egmont Street, where old industrial brick buildings are now adorned with plant and lighting installations, and colourful murals created by talented locals. Each artwork represents an aspect of the street’s quirky history, from a bungled heist in a chicken factory to an argument over a dead horse. Don’t miss the iconic Shark Wall on Cable Street across from the Te Papa Tongarewa museum. One of Wellington’s most Instagrammed street works, it was created by Taranaki street art collective BMD as a vibrant political statement calling for action against shark finning.
Best Ugly Bagels
Wellington Street Art
Te Papa Tongarewa
Mount Victoria Lookout
1: 1154; 2: Best Ugly Bagels
Fix and Fogg
Fix and Fogg
A Wellington take on the classic New York delicatessen, Pickle & Pie has you sorted for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The eatery specialises in pickling and preserving, and display their homemade chutneys, meat rubs and mueslis on wall-to-ceiling shelving that makes for an impressive feature wall. Offerings range from pastrami-loaded fries and eggplant schnitzel sandwiches, to daily pie specials and jam-filled doughnuts. Constantly buzzing with both locals and in-the-know visitors, Pickle & Pie is a choice location whether dining in or taking away, with
dinner boxes available for after-hours ease.
After an on-the-go brekkie or casual brunch? Chow down on a Best Ugly Bagel. The cheery team at the Te Aro institution pump out hundreds of hand-rolled, wood-fired bagels every day, their recipes inspired by the world-famous bagels of Montreal in Canada. Dipped into honey water before being baked, the bagels have distinctively sweet flavour, a crispy outside and deliciously doughy inside. Grab a bagel to go, or try one sliced and topped with house chocolate hazelnut spread or Zany Zeus organic cream cheese.