Looking for eco-friendly hotels, hostels, restaurants and urban adventures in Wellington, capital of New Zealand? The following are our favorite environmentally friendly and sustainability-minded places to stay and things to do in Wellington. We’ve also put together some useful links on organic and vegetarian restaurants, the latest weather forecast for Wellington and other essential travel information.
Situated on the Southern end of the North Island of New Zealand, Wellington is arguably New Zealand’s most European city. Surrounded by hills, ocean and only a short train ride from the stunning Kapiti coast and Wairarapa vineyards, Wellington, also known as the Windy City, is a great place to visit.
Eco-friendly hotels in Wellington
James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor
“James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor is proud to announce that is has achieved gold certification by both EarthCheck, the world’s leading certifier of travel and tourism organisations, and Qualmark, New Zealand tourism’s official quality assurance organisation. The hotel is the first in Wellington to be awarded both of these prestigious certifications, and the second in New Zealand.”
Five star boutique, the Bolton Hotel is among the first accommodation providers in New Zealand to receive the Enviro-Gold rating from Qualmark, New Zealand Tourism’s official mark of quality for its sustainability program.
Wellington City YHA Backpacker Accommodation
‘This is everything an urban hostel should be’ – National Geographic Traveler 2014. Ultra clean, modern, bright, fun and friendly. YHA Wellington is a 5-star and Enviro-Gold Qualmark rated property. One of the most centrally located hostels in Wellington and ideal for everything that Wellington has to offer.
Eco-friendly tours & urban adventures in Wellington
Zealandia Eco Sanctuary
Just 10 minutes from central Wellington, Zealandia is a must-see eco-attraction and groundbreaking restoration project: a nature lover’s paradise and a sanctuary by the city! See some of New Zealand’s rarest birds, reptiles and insects living wild in their natural environment, including hihi, tuatara, saddleback, kākā and (at night) little spotted kiwi. Indoors, NZ’s incredible natural history and world-renowned conservation movement are brought to life in a state-of-the-art exhibition.” Zealandia is Qualmark Enviro Gold certified. Entry fees apply.
Read our review of the Zealandia night tour here
Wellington Botanic Gardens
“Visit Wellington Botanic Garden and enjoy its 25ha of unique landscape, protected native forest, conifers, specialised plant collections, colourful floral displays, and views over Wellington city. The garden is classified as a Garden of National Significance by the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture and is an Historic Places Trust Heritage Area.” Free entry. Website
How to visit Wellington on foot
“Start your day on Cuba Street, enjoying a nice breakfast in one of the many quirky cafés (Fidel’s on top of the street is particularly yummy). Also known as ‘New Zealand’s coolest street’, Cuba Street is Wellington’s famous inner city slice of Bohemia, full of culinary and creative soul.”
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
“Te Papa takes you inside the New Zealand experience. Permanent Exhibits include: Te Marae – the vibrancy of Maori culture brought close in this living marae. As New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa is renowned for being bicultural, scholarly, innovative, and fun.” Te Papa is Qualmark Enviro Gold certified. Free entry. Website
Healthy eateries & vegetarian restaurants in Wellington
Aunty Mena Vegetarian Cafe
Where: 167 Cuba Street
Aunty Mena’s vegetarian cafe serves a wide range of vegetarian and vegan food. Right on Cuba Street and very affordable. Website
Where: Old Bank Arcade, Customhouse Quay
Great place for Indian vegetarian meals! Pure vegetarian and vegan cuisine, and a true Hare Krishna dining experience. They offer a friendly relaxed environment and its very reasonably priced. Website
Where: 90 Aro Street
An easy walk from the city center, Aro Cafe is noted as one of the best cafes Wellington has to offer. They offer vegetarian and gluten free options, and also use organic milk, yoghurt, feta and halloumi, free range eggs, and organic chickens and bacon in their cooking. Website
House of Dumplings
Where: 117 Taranaki Street
If you like dumplings this is your place! They use 100% natural, free range, and MSG Free ingredients in all of their dumplings. Plus, they’ve also built relationships with local farms and use biodegradable packaging. Website
Where: 260 Wakefield Street
This is where locals buy their organic food. Commonsense Organics is a beautiful shop that supplies organic and allergy aware food, environmentally friendly products and fair-trade goods. The perfect place to buy fruit and snacks (even soup!) when you’re traveling. It’s right next to Te Papa museum. Website
Because exploring a city is no fun on an empty stomach, here is a longer list of vegetarian restaurants and cafes in Wellington.
Weather in Wellington & other travel info
For the latest update on weather in Wellington, New Zealand (though be warned, it is very unpredictable), check metservice.com.
For all sorts of useful information on Wellington as travel destination, check wikitravel.org.
Need travel insurance?
Still need travel insurance for your upcoming trip to Wellington? Here’s why World Nomads is our favorite travel insurance for city trips.
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