Wellingtonâ€™s growing reputation as the countryâ€™s culinary capital is reflected in a glowing review of the region in Lonely Planetâ€™s new edition New Zealand Travel Guide, released today.
The worldâ€™s most successful travel information provider raves about the â€œsmall city with a big reputationâ€, which it promises will â€œblow the cobwebs awayâ€ with its trail of â€œart-house cinemas, funky boutiques, hip bars, live-music venues and lashings of restaurantsâ€.
Positively Wellington Tourism General Manager Marketing Sarah Meikle says itâ€™s fantastic to see Lonely Planet pick up on the cityâ€™s continuously developing flavour.
â€œWellington really prides itself by always adding to its offer. Lonely Planet has tracked Wellingtonâ€™s coming of an age as a destination from a city on the rise in 2007 to the â€˜coolest little capital in the worldâ€™ in 2011. Itâ€™s great to see them recognise that as well as the creative and cultural capital, Wellington is also emerging as a global player in culinary tourism.â€
As well as visiting the regionâ€™s collection of innovative museums, wildlife reserves, outdoor sculpture and live performance venues, the guide recommends visitors â€œeat yourself sillyâ€.
â€œWellington has a gut-busting number of great cafes and restaurants; bring trousers with an elasticated waistband,â€ it advises.
â€œThereâ€™s a bewildering array of options in a very small area, and keen competition keeps standards high and prices reasonable.â€
The cocktail- and caffeine-fuelled hospitality scene â€œfizzes and popâ€, while the craft beer capitalâ€™s â€œburgeoning local brewing scene and more beer bars than you can lob a hop atâ€ also earn a well-deserved mention. The recent opening of Le Cordon Bleu cookery school â€œputs some icing on Wellingtonâ€™s culinary cake, bolstering its status as a bona fide gastronomic destinationâ€, the guide states.
While the nickname â€˜Windy Wellyâ€™ is justly deserved, Lonely Planet notes Wellingtonâ€™s climate is in fact largely pleasant, with the nearby Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa enjoying even better weather.
Speaking of the cityâ€™s neighbourâ€™s, Kapiti Coast is lauded for its â€œwide, crowd-free beachesâ€, while Martinborough is hailed â€œthe sweetest visitor spot in the Wairarapaâ€ and Greytown the â€œmost seductive of several small townsâ€.
The guide says while travellers have long been passing through the crossing point between the North and South islands, attractions such as Te Papa and Zealandia now stop visitors in their tracks.
â€œA couple of daysâ€™ pause will reveal myriad other attractions, including a beautiful harbour and walkable waterfront, hillsides clad in pretty weatherboard houses, ample inner-city surprises, and some of the freshest city air on the planet.â€
Five authors and more than 26 weeks of combined on-the-road research contributed to the 16th edition of Lonely Planet New Zealand â€“ the worldâ€™s bestselling guide to the country.