Drink, Eat, See, Repeat in Wellington
Wellington has proven they won’t be outdone on art, food, culture and all things avantgarde. And if you didn’t already have a million reasons to visit “the coolest little capital in the world” (as dubbed by Lonely Planet), we’ve outlined the most outstanding events being hosted in Wellington to keep you going. From festivals to feasts to fashion shows, these are all ideal occasions to plan your weekend away around.
So get your getaway group together, choose an event or two, suss your accommodation, make your Interislander ferry booking and get amongst all the sensory extravaganzas on offer in Wellington.
Jim Beam Homegrown
Jim Beam Homegrown is the jewel in the crown of New Zealand music festivals, chock full of our own biggest and best acts. Held in March on Wellington’s stunning waterfront, this one day event shows off our homegrown talent in all its glory. Whether you’re up for some classic anthems, good vibes or some powerhouse vocals, there’s a local legend to suit every festie-goer’s palette. Check out the incredible line-up before you go so you know which of the five stages you’ll be hopping between before you get there.
Embracing what Wellington is all about is the CubaDupa festival, honouring art, culture and all things beyond the norm. Every year, Cuba street absolutely goes off over the last weekend of March. Expect art installations, dance performances, children’s workshops, delicious food and music both on stage and the streets. This is another amazing free thing to do in Wellington that brings out all the like minded life-embracing festie-goers who are here to immerse themselves in what makes Welly the cool and creative city that it is.
NZ Fringe Festival
The New Zealand Fringe Festival has long been considered a ‘must-do’ event since it was created in 1990. Providing a stage for both up-and-coming and established artists from the worlds of theatre, music and visual arts, Fringe is an explosion of talent beyond the norm. Enjoy experiencing cutting edge creativity? Fringe invites you to bask in all the ingenuity these gifted artists bring to the culture table. Check out the programme to see all the acts to make you laugh cry and think this March.
Lux Light Festival
This may, see Wellington in a new light at the Lux Light Festival, the biggest of its kind in New Zealand. A festival that celebrates the coming together of art, light, technology and creativity with a collection of laser creations and light sculptures that illuminate the Wellington Waterfront and Frank Kitts Park. This glowing exhibition can be enjoyed by children and adults alike, and it’s completely affordable as one of the best free activities in Wellington. Feast your eyes on some of the highlights from the lux festival so you know just how impressive it is.
Leave the kids at home, this one’s for over 18s only. A festival that flaunts the finest in spirits, liqueurs and drinkables from New Zealand’s artisan distilleries and rare international imports. Learn the art of creating exquisite cocktails or discover flavours and combinations du jour, Highball is a journey of learning, savouring, and imbibing. Held in May, visitors can book an array of cocktail classes and tasters so look out for updates before you plan your winter Welly getaway.
Wellington Jazz Festival
Be entranced by this bewitching celebration of jazz music. This mid-winter festival envelops attendees in all things jazz like a warm blanket. Featuring superb local and international musicians, the Wellington Jazz festival is the perfect indulgence in culture to keep the winter-blues at bay. From cozy intimate performances, to sell out shows on big stages, this ode to the forever popular music genre is the annual event every jazz lover should stay up-to-date on.
New Zealand International Film Festival
Wellington is famed for their exceptional filmmaking talent, with plenty of locally made content wowing audiences far and wide. This makes Wellington the perfect city to attend the New Zealand International Film Festival this July. Every year viewers are treated to a delightful mixture of films from all around the world from an array of genres. Keep your eye on the film entries entered throughout the year so you can book your tickets to what could be the film that gets all the international buzz — before anyone else.
VISA Wellington on a Plate
Calling all foodies far and wide, this festival is set to get you salivating. VISA Wellington on a Plate invites diners to indulge in the latest in culinary delights from around our cuisine capital. This popular festival has been held every year for the last decade, gaining so much popularity they decided to spread the festivities over the entire month of August. With over 100 events to partake in, from masterclasses and wine tastings to burger competitions and degustation platters, you’ll be leaving Welly with a happy belly. Tickets for classes and activities do sell out so make sure to book before you go.
World of Wearable Art
There is no fashion show on earth that comes close to being as inspiring, daring or out-of-the-box as Wellington’s World of Wearable Art (WOW). Fashion designers and creative extraordinaires, both local and from around the world come together to celebrate all things weird and wonderful in fashion. Spectators are transported forwards, backwards and sideways in time and across many different galaxies with the exceptional variety of talent on display. Held at the TSB Arena, WOW is only a seven-minute drive from the Interislander Wellington Ferry Terminal, so you can get straight off the ferry all dolled up and get straight into spectating. A showcase of out-of-this-world creativity awaits all who come to marvel over the three weeks of WOW every September.
The New Zealand Festival
This month-long festival only happens bi-yearly, so be sure you don’t miss out on this captivating jubilee of art, dance, performance and culture next February. With the intent to immerse attendees in many an interactive experience, the New Zealand Festival shows us why Wellington has cemented itself as the arts capital of the nation. There is still much to be revealed about the performances and features of this unique event but the mystery only draws you in further. Keep tabs on the latest news and announcements on this hugely anticipated event that only comes around every two years.
A world of things to do in Wellington
There’s a festival to satisfy all your senses hosted in Wellington, so make sure you get your ducks in a row before you go, buy your tickets, make your Interislander booking and prepare to be amazed. Whether you’re there to eat, watch, dance or drink there won’t be a dull moment had in Wellington with all the exciting events coming up over the next year.
Mark your festival (or festivals) of choice in your calendar and if you’re coming from Picton to Wellington check out the Interislander timetable and start organising your Wellington jaunt today. Get ready to soak in everything that makes our capital the ultimate sensory feast.