Wellington, New Zealand’s capital and hipster mecca, is the kind of city perfect for spending a day just walking around. Whether you’re there for a few hours or a few days, there’s no shortage of cool, curated vintage shops and graffitied alleyways to check out.
Whenever I’m in town (which seems to be about every weekend these days) and keen for some retail therapy, I head to Cuba street. Just a fifteen-minute walk from Te Papa and the Wellington Waterfront, this stretch of pavement offers buskers, bars, and some of the best shopping in town. Walking up and down Cuba Street will give you a good sense for Wellington’s artsy and creative vibes and it’s a great place to pick up some souvenirs.
Here area three of my personal favorite spots on one of Wellington’s most famous streets:
110 a Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Wellington Apothecary was founded by herbalists and naturopaths who make all of their products in small batches in the back to the shop. The minimalist decor makes it easy to peruse the shelves, where you’ll find an edited mix of essential oils, creams, teas, and candles.
Prices mostly range from $25-50 so this is the place to come for a “treat yo self” splurge. If you’re not ready to commit to a purchase in-store (or your suitcase is already stuffed), they do have a nice online store that ships to Australia and New Zealand. Even if you’re just window shopping, stop in for a tea and try out some of their testers.
Hunters and Collectors
134 Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington
Second hand shops are a dime a dozen in this part of town but Hunters and Collectors stands out with it’s extensive selection of men’s & women’s clothes. On the racks, you’ll find styles that range from flapper to punk – no genre is off limits. Upstairs, there’s also a nice mix of vintage art, furniture, and decor.
This past weekend, Pete, bless his heart, had to use all of his powers of persuasion to convince me that bringing home a (beautiful) vintage rug as a carry-on was just not going to happen. I could have spent hours in this shop and I will definitely be back to hunt for buried vintage treasures.
Satay Kingdom Cafe
212 Left Bank, Cuba Mall, Te Aro, Wellington
If you’ve blown your budget on the perfect vintage leather coat at Hunters and Collectors, look no further than Satay Kingdom Cafe for amazing Malaysian food that will fill you up without breaking the bank.
I can not stress this enough – get the Roti Chanai (chicken, lamb, or veggie curry served with traditional Malaysian bread). The sauce is so good, you’ll be asking yourself how the heck they only charge $7.00 for the plate (don’t worry, their posted hygiene score is “Excellent,” I checked). If you’re with friends, order a few mains to share.
A word of caution – make sure you’ve got the right “satay” restaurant. Satay Village and Satay Malaysia are both within a five minute walk of this eatery.
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