First published on 1 Sep 2011. Updated on 5 Jun 2012.
Where to go
The annual travelling New Zealand International Film Festival sets up camp in Wellington in the depths of winter so cosy up in the cinema with some cutting edge local and international film. Around Wellington. (+64 4 385 0162). 28 Jul-14 Aug.
Keep your eyes peeled for cast members of The Hobbit - currently filming all over NZ and based in Miramar, where the curious can visit the Weta Cave. Cnr Camperdown Rd & Weka St, Miramar, Wellington NZ. Mon-Sun 9am-5.30pm.
The World of Wearable Art Awards Show is an annual theatre, dance, and art spectacular that gives Lady Gaga a run for her money. Designers from New Zealand and abroad get creative, using the human body as a canvas for art and fashion. Wellington Convention Centre, Queens Wharf, Wellington NZ. (+64 3 547 059). 25 Aug-10 Sep. $50-$350.
Things will reach fever pitch during the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. Considering that rugby union is the national sport, the home crowd are going to be just as amped as the sports fans who'll flood the country. Wellington Regional Stadium, Waterloo Quay, Wellington NZ. 9 Sep-23 Oct.
Where to eat
Local produce treated with integrity is what Wellington restaurants are all about right now. Chef Shaun Clouston from carbon-friendly restaurant Logan Brown champions sustainable seafood (192 Cuba St, Wellington NZ, +64 4 801 5114) while Jacob Brown from The Larder goes from café by day to restaurant by night offering locally sourced produce from coffee and beer to fruit'n'veg. 133 Darlington Rd, Miramar NZ. (+64 4 891 0354).
Boulcott Street Bistro is more of a classic offering with the likes of sea-run salmon with potato and chive pancakes topped with horseradish cream appearing on chef Rex Morgan's menu. 99 Boulcott St, Wellington NZ. (+64 4 499 4199).
Where to drink
There are bars aplenty in Wellington. So many, in fact, that it's impossible to get to them all in one night. Our picks? The classic, atmospheric Hawthorne Lounge - a proper bar with lots of deeply polished wood, fat seats at the bar and a cavalcade of booze. 82 Tory St, Wellington NZ. +64 04 890 3724.
Motel Bar does all the classics and has incredibly friendly bar staff. And they're the maker of ‘Man O War' - a navy-strength rum with more than a little kick thanks to the infusion of gunpowder in every bottle. Lvl 1/4 Forresters Ln, Wellington NZ. (+64 4 384 9084).
Where to stay
From $125 per night, hotels in the capital don't get much better value than Travelodge Wellington. The recently renovated hotel has light-filled rooms featuring flat screen TVs and many with views over the city. No matter where you eat or drink, you're never more than a few dollars away by cab. 2-6 Gilmer Tce, Wellington NZ. (+64 4 499 9911).
Around the corner, the Novotel Wellington has been a Time Out favourite for years thanks to the service from arguably the best hotel staff in the city. 133 The Terrace, Wellington NZ. (+64 4 918 1900).
How to get there
Time Out recommends flying Pacific Blue (soon to be Virgin Australia) from Sydney to Wellington. Pacific Blue will offer daily flights on the route until November, when a new-code share service commences with alliance partner Air New Zealand.
For more information got to Amex Velocity