A Guide to Wellington, New Zealand

Our stay in Wellington was short, but sweet. Though we didn’t have the chance to see much, Wellington was a beautiful little city with a lot of soul — the key is knowing where to go. It is the food capital of New Zealand, after all.

After a five hour drive from Taupo, we arrived at the Intercontinental around nine in the evening, tired but very hungry. I had looked up a few places online as I normally would, and came across a place called Ortega’s. After reading a few reviews, it seemed perfect.

Cool, laid-back and serving up incredible seafare, Ortega’s was arguably one of our favourite restaurants of the entire trip. Of course, we sat barside, where the food kept coming and the drinks kept flowing. The sashimi was so good, we couldn’t resist and ordered seconds.

Next up. Where to go for a drink? The barman suggested we find Hawthorne’s, a low-key, speakeasy style bar. Off we went, to find this Hawthorne’s in the middle of the night in a city we’ve never seen during the day.

We’re walking up and down the street where it was supposedly on, but couldn’t find it? Where was this place? Maybe we’re mistaken. Five more minutes and we were going to retreat to our hotel. Right before we were about to leave, a group of uni-students came walking by us who, of course, knew exactly where it was. Unmarked, it was in a building across the street.

Open the doors to this luxurious lounge-bar that looked like it was taken right out of a twenties movie set.

Bartender, we’re ready to order.

Where to eat:

Ortega’s: Whatever you do, if you find yourself in New Zealand, make it out to Ortega’s. If you’ve ever been to Joe Beef (one of my Montreal favourites), this is the kiwi equivalent. The food is fantastic, the service top notch and the ambiance – informal, laid-back, chic. Recommend without a doubt.

Hawthorne Lounge: It truly is “Wellington’s best kept secret”.

What to see:

Wish I could say more!

Where to stay:

The Intercontinental. Well-situated, spacious, comfortable and clean. Insider tip: Request a renovated room

Where to find coffee:

They’re everywhere, don’t worry.

What to do:

Eat, drink and be merry.