Hello, hello! Ok, so I’m going to jump straight to it. I’m really sorry. I haven’t posted here in forever and I don’t even have a good excuse. I’ve been busy, yes, but aren’t we all!? It’s just not good enough and I promise I won’t let it happen again.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know that you have a life outside of reading NMC. You may even read other blogs (gasp!). But you deserve better from me – and by heck from now on I promise you’re gonna get it. Consistent posts? You got it! Great, interesting content you just won’t find in one place elsewhere? You bet I’m going to deliver (seriously, I have SO many posts lined up)! New shopping inspiration? Yes, yes and can I have a Hell Yes!? So tonight, it begins. And tonight, I’m going to tell you why Wellington in New Zealand really is the coolest little capital in the world….
I travelled to New Zealand for the first time in May and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the visit. We spent most of our time in Wellington city but also got to explore a bit further afield, taking in the sunny, never-ending, driftwood littered beaches of the Kapiti Coast; the enchanting woodlands of the Kaitoke national park (part of which formed the backdrop of Rivendell in the LoTR films. Nerd? Me? You betcha!); and the vineyards of Martinborough. We spent a little time in Auckland too, but more on that to come in a later post as there was some excellent interiors shopping there too….
Where to Stay in Wellington
I am still congratulating myself over my choice of accommodation – it was absolutely wonderful. We stayed in a cute, compact, one bedroom apartment in the suburb of Wadestown. A stone’s throw from the city centre with free parking, a bus stop right outside and views of the harbour and the Westpac stadium, it was the perfect spot for our stay. And it had the coolest little bathroom (below) which was featured in NZ House and Gardens Magazine as an Interior of the Year finalist!
Run by the super-friendly Catherine Jones and her husband, Bryn, Orchard Street Boutique Accommodation offers a luxury stay at a reasonable price. We stayed in the studio, but there are also two larger apartments available to rent, each with their own separate entrances.
We really enjoyed chatting with Catherine during our stay and learnt that she had project managed the renovation of the entire villa over the last few years. You can read more about the renovation here (spoiler alert, it looks GORGEOUS!). And it is a truly globally inspired renovation – Catherine has accessorised with finds from her travels, and the striped vinyl flooring in the bathroom was imported from the UK! If you’re heading to Wellington anytime soon, then I highly recommend a stay – click here for rates and availability.
Shopping: Vintage Wellington
If you’re a lover of vintage (and I mean vintage anything – shoes, clothes, homewares, books – whatever) then Wellington is the capital city for you. There are absolutely oodles of vintage and antiques stores that you can spend the days browsing through. Most of them are dotted around the main shopping drag, Cuba Street, and make a welcome change from the usual high street offerings (though most of those are available too – well, there’s a BoConcept at least).
Unearthed (219 Cuba Street) was one of my faves – a fantastic collection of retro delights, including upcycled and reupholstered pieces for unique vintage style at home. I also thoroughly enjoyed seeing the veritable treasure trove that is The General Store (81 Aro Street). Full of one-off finds and some brand new additions, there is something for everyone in this curated collection of joy! Also worth a visit has got to be Hunters and Collectors (134 Cuba Street) – with a bit of everything (homewares, clothing, miscellaneous crazy stuff and a dazzling array of retro-chic sunglasses).
Shopping: Contemporary Global Wellington
For something a bit more modern, I found and fell in love with the very lovely Tea Pea (1 Grey Street). This lifestyle brand and homewares store created by Wellington residents Scott and Meg McMillan, really gelled with the NMC ethos. There were lots of ethically sourced items in store and the overall feel was very contemporary with a Scandi edge, and not overly boho.
Tea Pea has one store in central Wellington and another in the northern suburb of Khandallah. I only went to the central Wellington shop, but I found the staff to be extremely friendly and the stock an absolute delight. I was sorely tempted (but fought the urge to buy, ok, fine, realised my suitcase was too small) by the Hemp Rugs by Armadillo&Co. This was a new brand for me, but one that combines aesthetics with ethics. Armadillo’s rugs are handmade by artisans in Bangladesh and all sales benefit local schools in the weavers’ villages. Right up my street.
Also in store were some Scandi staples – Pappelina, Klippan blankets and House Doctor accessories – though whilst Tea Pea does offer international shipping, if you’re in Europe you’re probably better off sticking with more local suppliers.
Another wonderful find for me was Iko Iko (118 Cuba Street), a fabulously bonkers store with jewellery, homewares and stationery in colourful brights. I loved the contrast between the sophisticated, ethical styling of the woven baskets by Maka Emali – a development initiative between the Masai and Kamba communities in Emali, Kenya – and the super cheesy inflatable flamingoes. It meant that everywhere you looked there was something to catch your eye and have you reaching for your wallet. Another big plus for me were the old school style wall charts (like the one below) and the fact that Iko Iko is a stockist of Rifle Paper Co stationery. Hurrah!
Eating and Drinking in Wellington
Going out for dinner and drinks was also a treat in Wellington. We had a whale of time sampling craft beers at Mac’s Brewbar (Taranaki Street), and indulged in some late night eats at Midnight Expresso, which serves yummy goodness, including loads of vegetarian fare, until the early hours of the morning. Take that dodgy 1am Mcdonalds! A bit further afield, overlooking Island Bay, we had a gorgeous lunch at the Bach whilst the waves crashed over the rocks opposite. I can highly recommend the big breakfast options too! And for pizza lovers, choose between Hell Pizza – a chain throughout New Zealand with suitably demonic sounding pizza options (make mine a Purgatory), or the more angelic woodfired options available at Heaven Pizza on Cuba Street. Something for everyone – saint or sinner.
As I’m sure you can tell, I really liked Wellington indeed. So next time you’re in New Zealand do make time to stop there for a few days. After all, there is so much more that I haven’t covered in this post for fear of making it too long! Walking the town belt and spotting brightly coloured mushrooms and native birds; strolling in the Botanic Gardens; visiting the fur seal colony around the coast from Owhiro Bay (beware, they smell bad); the cable car; a day spent searching for ancient reptiles in Zealandia…I could go on. So that’s why I’ve opted to stick with the key essentials as a starting off point – where to sleep, where to shop and where to eat and drink. I hope you’ve enjoyed.
Any cool stores I’ve missed? I know I haven’t covered all that I could have. Let me know and I’ll get on the case and update the post!
Happy travels, and shopping