The world’s “coolest little capital” may be pint-sized compared to Auckland, but it’s picture perfect – and certainly not a spot to overlook when it comes to New Zealand’s most instagrammable stop-offs.

You’ll spot wicked street art, world-class coffee, quirky craft breweries and awe-inspiring natural scenery before you’ve even sat down for #brunch.

Grab your charger and tick these off your insta hit list – no filter needed.

1. Mount Victoria lookout

The walk to the city’s highest point is steep in places, but the 360-degree views when you get there will make you feel on top of the world! Start from the CBD, or take the more scenic (but slightly longer) route starting in Oriental Bay, Wellington’s swankiest suburb. Take advantage of a clear day (or just a break in the clouds) or do as the locals do and pack a picnic to take up there for sunset.

How to get there: Follow the signs for ‘Southern Walkway’ from Marjoribanks Street (CBD) or Oriental Parade (Oriental Bay). You can also take bus numbers 2, 5 or 91 from the CBD to the top.

2. Cable Car + Botanic Gardens

No trip to Welly is complete without a trip on the iconic and adorably #oldschool cable car. Buy a one-way ticket and enjoy the ride up – watch out for the disco-tastic LED lightshow in the tunnel! Once up top, enjoy the views over the city as you wait for the next car to arrive and grab that classic picture-postcard shot. Wander back down through the beautiful Botanic Gardens: the gorgeous rose garden is definitely not to be missed.

How to get there: Departures every 10 minutes from Cable Car Lane, off Lambton Quay. A one-way ticket is $5 and return is $9. Botanic Gardens are free entry.

3. The harbourside

There’s nowhere better on a sunny day than Welly’s beautiful harbourside. Lounge on the harbour wall or on the grass at Frank Kitts Park and take in the epic views all around the bay. Beautiful blue seas, cloudless skies – your friends back home will be seriously #jel. You can also take the East by West Ferry out to Matiu/Somes Island and wildlife sanctuary in the middle of the bay and head up to the Southern Lookout, near the lighthouse, for views over the harbour and city skyline.

How to get there: The harbourside is an easy walk from anywhere in the CBD. The East by West Ferry goes to Matiu/Somes Island several times daily, $25 for return ticket.

4. Brunch!

If #foodporn is your jam, you’ve come to the right city! Welly has more epic #brunch spots than you can shake a sausage sammie at – NZ was doing #avotoast way before it was A Thing, after all. Two places to start are Prefab on Jessie St (floor-to-ceiling windows, enormous bunches of blooms, and food as pretty as the interiors) and Cuba St stalwart Midnight Espresso, which has one of the best-looking cake counters in the city, if not the hemisphere. Your followers will be hungry for more

How to get there: Prefab, Jessie St, CBD; Midnight Espresso, Cuba St, CBD.

5. Fortune Favours & Leeds St murals

Welly is world-famous for its #craftbeer and in no short supply of awesome bars to show off on your Stories. A great place to start is Fortune Favours on Leeds St: look out for the giant puppet’s hand over the front door, and the enormous David Bowie mural on the wall facing the car park. Inside, it’s endlessly grammable: think ceilings and skylights, exposed bulbs and beams and whole walls of vertical greenery, as well as a sweet as suntrap terrace with yet another street-art mural as a backdrop. They also have a Doggie Wall of Fame featuring their favourite four-legged customers!

How to get there: Fortune Favours, 7 Leeds St, CBD.

6. The Beehive

Welly isn’t all craft beer and coffee shops; this is the country’s capital after all, and as such its political beating heart. That being said, its Parliament is quirky enough to warrant a snap. Known as The Beehive, because it resembles… well, a beehive, the unmistakable building is on the corner of Lambton Quay and Molesworth St and certainly makes the UK’s Palace of Westminster seem pretty fuddy duddy in comparison!

How to get there: The Beehive, Molesworth St, CBD.

7. The Windy Welly sign

If you flew into the city you might have already got a snap of the next spot on the list: the “Windy Welly” sign, positioned on a hill in Miramar to welcome planes coming in to land. This part of the city is Miramar, aka Wellywood, so-called because it’s home to the mighty Weta Workshop. You may have heard of Weta thanks to a few little films called Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

The sign was installed in 2012 as a Kiwi take on the iconic Hollywood landmark, wittily acknowledging the area’s cinematic credentials as well as the city’s well-known weather!

Hop off the bus at Miramar Avenue and you’re in prime position. Be careful not to stray on to the (busy!) State Highway 1 as you try and get that shot!

How to get there: Several buses go to Miramar Avenue, including numbers 2 and 12 from the CBD.

8. The Weta trolls

Speaking of a certain Kiwi film studio… the Weta Workshop Studio tour is a must-do for any film buff worth their Lembas bread.

This is a working film studio, so in order to “keep it secret, keep it safe” you won’t be allowed to take pictures inside. But don’t despair, there is ‘gram gold to be found! The Weta Cave gift shop and mini-museum is free to enter and packed full of precious (get it?) selfie opportunities. and it’s worth the bus ride alone for a picture with the three ginormous trolls guarding the entrance, who you may recognise. Get your friends together and reenact one of the Hobbit’s most iconic rescue scenes!

How to get there: Buses 2 and 24 go to Miramar from Courtenay Place.

9. Dirty Little Secret

You’ve taken in the view by day, now soak up the bright lights by night. Perfectly positioned on the 8th floor of the Hope Gibbons building on Dixon St, is newcomer to Wellington’s bar (and Insta) scene, Dirty Little Secret. Think fairy lights, a bar made of shipping containers, more awesome murals, and of course, that view.

How to get there: Dirty Little Secret, 7-8 Dixon St, CBD.

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Rooftop. Wellington 🍸

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10. Otari-Wilton’s Bush

Standing in the middle of untouched, ancient forest, you’d never guess you were just a 20-minute bus ride from downtown Wellington! Otari-Wilton’s Bush is a pristine nature reserve that is free to enter, and full of native NZ plant and birdlife. It aims to show visitors what the country would have been like when the very first European settlers arrived. One highlight is an enormous Rimu tree, thought to be around 800-years old, which you can spot on an easy 1-hour bush walk. If you want to escape the city and get your #nature on, don’t miss this.

How to get there: Take bus number 14 from Lambton Quay, CBD. 

Author: Sally has been to 27 countries in the same pair of flip-flops, and can currently be found in Wellington, New Zealand. Follow her travels, tips and eats in and around the world's "coolest little capital" at and @cdfcoffeecrawl on Instagram.

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