Big Night Out: Wellington

The nightlife's red hot - the jazz is as cool as the breeze


The vibe

The vibe

Wellington is one of the Southern Hemisphere's most dynamic and diverse cities. The Windy City is cosmopolitan and scenic - and as Wellington's main areas are all within walking distance of each other, getting about is easy. It's not enormous, but it's got everything you could want: shopping and eateries in the Lambton Quarter, offices in Willis, funky markets in Cuba and nightlife in Courtenay Quarter.

Wellington's bars and restaurants are justly praised for the huge variety of local wines and the fresh food at low prices. The nightlife is excellent, and there is a good public transport system, with regular buses and trains throughout the city and outer regions. Don't miss a ride on the red cable cars and trolley buses with their overhead wires.

Liquid

CO2, 28 Blair St, is one of Wellington's hippest venues, serving champagne and sparkling wines. Another popular favourite is the recently revamped Matterhorn Bar and Lounge, 106a Cuba Street, which serves good retro-style cocktails. For something more chilled, head to the Q Bar and Lounge, 26c Courtenay Place, where you can shoot pool or down divine chocolate martinis.

Refuelling

For foodies, Wellington is heaven. Logan Brown, 192 Cuba Street (00 64 4801 5114), is famous for its innovative use of fresh local fare. Best of all are the taster plates of starters and the mini-sized dessert portions. About £27 per head.

Anise, 161-163 Cuba Street (00 64 4381 2212), is the creation of Paul Blain, whose mentor David Thompson is the chef credited with putting Thai food on the map. Expect Kiwi classics such as kumara (native sweet potato) and lamb shanks. Around £20 per head.

Hummingbird Café, 22 Courtenay Place (00 64 4 801 6336), has a wide range of menus from light or substantial lunches, pre-theatre or late suppers and all-day weekend brunches. Approx £15 per head.

Go native

Don't miss Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, Cable Street, (00 64 4 381 7000; www.tepapa.gov.nz) the new, interactive-style museum on the waterfront. Open late on Thursdays until 9pm. The city plays host to a number of major festivals throughout the year including the New Zealand International Arts Festival (27 February-21 March), the largest multicultural event in the Southern Hemisphere, offering classical, jazz, pop, opera, international writers and poets, Maori dance and theatre and modern dance.

Party

The Motel Bar, Forresters Lane, plays funked-up jazz in a cool interior and is Wellington's coolest nightspot - if you can get past the velvet rope. For bohemian fun, head for Bar Bodega, 286 Willis Street, a legend in Wellingtonian nightlife, featuring live bands and top international DJs. Go to the Good Luck Bar, 126 Cuba Street, for Cambodian cuisine and live DJs. If you get the munchies, follow the locals and stars alike to The Chocolate Fish Café, 497a Karaka Bay Road, Seatoun, for the best late-night snacks and cakes in town.

Get active

Drive to nearby Lyall Bay and learn to ride the waves with Wellington's surf set or head north to Kaitoke Regional Park for a spot of hiking, swimming or even whitewater rafting.

Quest Travel (0870-442 3542; www.questravel.com) offers an eight-day self-drive tour of the North Island, taking in Wellington, from £1,199 per person, including return flights with Air New Zealand, seven nights' b&b accommodation, car hire and two half-day sightseeing tours, one of Wellington and one of the surrounding coast. Air New Zealand (0800-028 4149; www.airnew zealand.co.uk) offers return flights to Wellington from £667 per person. For further information contact Tourism New Zealand (09050 606060; calls cost 60p per minute; www.newzealand.com).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £32,000 Uncapped

    £22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £10,000 Uncapped - Part Time

    £7500 - £10000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness chai...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Marketing / Digital Marketing Executive (CRM, Eve...

    Recruitment Genius: Receptionist / Sales / Customer Service Assistant

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: The role is likely to be 4on 4 off, days and ...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea