Here is my attempt at a little eat/see/shop guide to Wellington, New Zealand. We visited in March this year. The findings here are a combination of: guidance from my ex-Melbournite friend Dee (who has a great eye for handmade clothing and accessories); a good map of 'likeminded retailers' found at Good As Gold; and things we stumbled across on our wanderings. If you find any other great places or details have changed, please leave a comment!
We stayed in the Aro Valley, only a 10-minute walk to Cuba St, which leads into the city centre.
237 Cuba Street
It would be easy to spend the first few hours of the day right here - Minerva is essentially a bookstore stocked entirely with textile and craft-related reads! They also have a gallery space, a small collection of felt and knitting-related supplies (so you can start getting crafty as soon as you walk out the door), as well as some fashion and homewares magazines. Bliss.
Madame Fancy Pants
217 Cuba St
219 Cuba St
Because now you're so psyched about handmade goodness thanks to Minerva's book collection, wander down Cuba St a little way and you'll find handmade jewellery, fashion, art and gifty things courtesy of neighbours Madame Fancy Pants and Pixel Ink. Pixel Ink had literally opened their new Cuba St Store earlier that week, and had an exhibition of Rachel Walker's lovely watercolour illo's at the back of the space. Madame Fancy Pants make their jewellery right there behind the counter!
161 Cuba St
Floriditas Cafe is a little bit of New York's upper east side on Wello's.. hmm... east-ish but mostly central side. High ceilings and black+white+chocolate+gold interior detail, cakes (if you may) and the coffee is good.
35 Ghuznee St
Custom Brew Bar
39 Ghuznee St
If you tend to wash down your coffee with coffee, or you need another sit after a couple of hundred metres, a right turn at Ghuznee St will offer you two more cafe options - Milk Crate and Custom Brew. Milk Crate is actually a corner bit of Quilters bookstore (which, somewhat confusingly, is not filled specifically with books about Quilting. See: Minerva).
Cnr Marion St and Ghuznee St
Es Design at the corner of Marion St and Ghuznee is an interior design shop/consultancy that focuses on textiles and textile-based products (think upholstered chairs, funky teatowels, retro-modern lamp shades). It is here that I bought a Genevieve Packer teatowel, which I had been eyeing off online for some time (seeing the real thing usually seals the deal!)
NZ Film Archive
Cnr Ghuznee St and Taranaki St
At the very end of Ghuznee is the NZ Film Archive - kind of like a smaller ACMI, they have film screenings, festivals, exhibitions and interactive and informative displays of film-related stuff. We watched a short doco about the life and career of New Zealander Margaret Moth, one of the first (if not the first) female camera operators, and she worked for CNN in various war-torn countries over the years.
57 Ghuznee St
Bartley and company
56A Ghuznee St
Feel like some art? The other end of Ghuznee St (pass back over Cuba St) offers Pop-up and Bartley and Company, who each represent a range of contemporary artists. Pop-up was closed the morning we visited, but looked pretty cool from the outside!
Good as Gold
140 Victoria St
Walk along Ghuznee and take a right - now you're on Victoria Street and the first stop is Good as Gold (past Dixon St). They stock a variety of mens and women's clothing and accessories by international but also NZ-based designers. Lots of denim and black - great for the impending NZ winter.
95 Victoria St
Heading downhill on Victoria, on your right will be Swonderful... a really cute little shop stocking locally designed and made clothes, accessories + jewellery, cute kids stuff and some local/Aussie magazines and zines.
Time for lunch yet? Maybe some culture too.
City Gallery/Nikau Cafe
Victoria St/Harris St
Victoria St meets the City Gallery/City Library at Wakefield St and is a good place for a rest and a bite to eat. I recommend Nikau Cafe, which you can enter from the Gallery or from Harris St - haloumi and toasted ciabatta with a side salad really hits the spot!
From here you have two choices - left or right. At the corner of Victoria and Wakefield you can turn left, and visit...
126 Wakefield St
Neighbours Artikel (homewares, furniture, jewellery and a bit of clothing) and Karen Walker (jewellery, bags, accessories and lots of clothing!) could have easily taken all my spending money in one hit, and left me with quite a few extra baggage fees at the airport check-in. Luckily I managed to restrain myself to just one space-efficient Martin Poppelwell tea towel purchase from Artikel.
Around the corner, at the end of Cuba St, you can also find Kate Sylvester, and above it a shop-whose-name-I-neglected-to-notice stocking nice jeans and such.
So because you chose to turn left earlier, now you have to walk back up Wakefield St and veer to your right, to find...
177 Featherston Street
Eek! Probably the largest collection of Orla Keily stuff I've seen in person, plus a whole lot of lovely (and girly) homewares, bags, accessories, kids stuff, stationery and some furniture.
And that's it for my mini-guide. Thanks, Wellington, for a rad holiday!
Image credits: Top to bottom: Minerva, Rachel Walker, Es Design, Swonderful, Karen Walker, Small Acorns. All images from respective websites except Minerva, taken by me.