24 hours in Wellington, NZ

From calm seasides to a busy city center, 24 hours in Wellington may not be enough to see everything, but it is enough to try a bit of everything New Zealand’s capital has to offer. A budget of $60 for a full day in windy Welly might seem a bit tight, but the city has heaps of free activities and most of them are in walking distance from one another, making food and drink the only expenses to think about.

8 a.m. 

With a big breakfast in your future, it might be a good idea to start the day with some exercise by walking up Mt. Victoria, Wellington’s highest point. It’s not anything too strenuous and the reward at the end will be worth it.

Mt Victoria offers spectacular views of the city on your conquer list today. Look down on the harbour, Cuba Street and CBD on one side. Another side offers more nautical views in the form of Lyall Bay, facing this way, the next landmass is Antarctica.

Total for the day: $0

I suggest using this route from Majoribanks Street to reach the summit and return to the city center. 

10 a.m. 

Popular for its voodoo vibe and delectable dishes, next stop is Sweet Mother’s Kitchen on Courtenay Place. While the menu offers an array of NOLA favorites, I suggest sticking with the classics to get an ideal of the cuisine and stay within the budget. Po Boy with a side order of Beignets it is.

It’s always Mardi Gras at Sweet Mother’s Kitchen. The cafe has a New Orleans theme that’s popular among the locals. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

The southern-style Po Boy sandwich is pretty filling yet affordable and people will wait hours in line in New Orleans for tiny donut balls with icing sugar called beignets. These two items are sure to give you a good feed. But don’t forget a coffee to wash it all down. Wellington is known for its cafe and coffee culture, Sweet Mother’s Kitchen is a big part of that.

Total for the day: $NZ15

To reach Sweet Mother’s Kitchen, continue walking on Majoribanks Street, away from Mt. Victoria. Once you cross Kent Terrace, Majoribanks Street will turn into Courtenay Place and the cafe is just to the left. 

11:30 a.m.

While you might not want to move after your New Orleans-style brunch, there’s a giant squid to be seen and Maori culture to be learnt, it’s time to visit Te Papa. Located on the waterfront, one could spend days at the Museum of New Zealand, but  you only have two hours.

Learn about how the Maori people first discovered what they call Aotearoa, land of the long white cloud. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Friendly staff at the visitors center can help you pick which exhibitions to check out. Make sure you learn a bit about Maori culture with displays like The Marae. Learn about the land, especially its fault line, at the museum’s Awesome Forces exhibition. Last but not least, see the only colossal squid exhibition in the world and learn about the mysterious sea creature.

Total for the day: $NZ15 (Yes, the museum is free!)

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