Wend City Guide: Wellington, New Zealand

When I find myself in New Zealand’s capital city, I’m consistently drawn to Cuba Street, the bohemian heartbeat of Wellington.



Cuba is packed with blocks of vintage shops, artisan shops, and overflowing bookstores. You’re guaranteed an afternoon spent rifling through scarves, artwork, and paperbacks (the BEST kind of afternoons, AMIRIGHT?).

Cuba St. is where I’ve acquired many a Christmas gift. Locally handmade goods are in almost every storefront and often times I find things I didn’t know I needed (like scrabble bobby pins!) On and around Cuba St. is where you’ll snatch up those one-of-a-kind-finds that families love to recieve from their world-traveler. Pop in Made It  for everything from handmade clothing, jewelry, prints, and stationary (think hand-sewn bow ties and jewelry made from broken plates). Their store product changes constantly so I make this shop a regular stop.

Matchbox Studios too is a great shop for those hard-to-find books, zines, prints, and socks that no one else has. If you’re in Wellington can you pick me up these “Stay Away from Assholes” socks…mine are all worn out.

funky socks assholes

Matchbox is also where you HAVE to go in order to score the “Coolest Little Capital In the World” shirt.

nz wellington coolest little capital shirt



As you begin your way down Cuba, you’ll probably see the iconic bucket fountain, a Wellington icon. Rumor has it Elija Wood had a nice romp around in this fountain one night while on location in New Zealand shooting The Lord of The Rings Trilogy. I have such fond memories of watching this fountain splash around with itself  on sunny New Zealand summer days.

No one captures Wellington quite like local artist Brendan Grant. Check out more of his work at http://www.brendangrantartwork.com. Purchase some of his work at Rex Royale.


Buskers abound on Cuba street. I find it the best place to get a taste of New Zealand’s grassroots music scene. Slow Boat Records in another Cuba St. tradition. The independent music store is THE place to find the latest in NZ and Australasian artists. Get lost rifling through vinyl and finding the perfect gift for your hipster friend… or five. If you’re lucky, you might even stumble upon a live in-store show.

Print by local artist Brendan Grant. Photo credit Rex Royale,

Print by local artist Brendan Grant. Prints and works available for purchase at Rex Royale.


When I’m ready to rest my shopping feet, I head to Olive for a perfect flat white and some house-made granola. I grab a pillowed seat in the corner by the window for an afternoon of people watching. Or, for some atmosphere, a chair in their outdoor patio in the back (think The Secret Garden meets Anthropologie).


If brunch is your sport, there’s no question, head to Fidel’s Cafe for their waffles anything on their menu. I haven’t managed to stick around in Wellington after hours, but it looks like their drinks and late-night menu too is worth waiting for.

fidelscafe brendan grant

Another Cuba St. icon, Fidel’s Cafe, brought to you by Artist Brendan Grant


Stop in Pegasus Books off Cuba Street for all your used book needs.

Stop in Pegasus Books off Cuba Street for all your used book needs.

Enjoy your wend around “the cutest little capital.” Shout out your favorite Wellington haunts.


About Kelsey

Kelsey is a dancer, wandering this world as performing artist and writing about it. She's skilled at forgetting her umbrella, getting lost, and eating too much cheese. Wend is her platform to share her nomadic lifestyle, and all the moments of beauty, grace, and hilarity that happen along the way. Join her as she finds her place in the world while dancing whenever she can.

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