Wellington, New Zealand: 4 Ways To Have An Extremely Blissed Out Babymoon (& A Great Time Even If You’re Not Expecting) August 14, 2017 – Posted in: Bars + Restaurants, Destinations, Hotels, New Zealand Bars + Restaurants, New Zealand Destination – Tags: , ,

Words: Meghan Loneragan // Photography: Dominic Loneragan

In Wellington over August? Your tastebuds are in for a treat. VISA Wellington On A Plate invites you to eat, drink and be Welly from August 11 – 27, which sees hundreds of the city’s best bars and bistros going head to head with food trucks and fine-dining, creative set menus and exclusive pop up venues.

Find out more here.

The ‘babymoon’ is a relatively new concept.

When we first told our parents we were going to New Zealand to celebrate the last trip before our newborn arrives we were met with facetiously scandalised emails about how back in ‘their day’ the closest thing to a babymoon they’d get was handing the ‘little buggers’ over to the grandparents to go catch a screening of Dick Tracy (the one with Madonna).

But thankfully times have changed and new parents are happily putting a little more priority on couple time.

Some like to charge their pre-baby batteries by the sea, others prefer to cool off in the country. Us? We head to New Zealand. Every. Opportunity. We. Can. Get.

Wellington, at the bottom of New Zealand’s North Island, is a great many things to us. It’s 3 hours flight away, got breathtaking mountain terrains and a down-to-earth sense of humour that as Aussies we just get.

Nowhere inspires us more than New Zealand but also just a cool place to escape.

And so without further ado, here’s how to tackle the capital of Wellington, COTW babymoon-style…

Where You Stay Is Important

Let’s get this out of the way first. Wellington isn’t a big city by any means.

But unlike other capitals, Canberra, for instance, it’s extremely walkable and you can stroll happily from one end of the city to the other in half an hour or so (depending on how far along your baby is).

However, if you’re anything like us and appreciate the ability to easily roll home after a night’s feasting like your acid-reflux depended on it (can we get a ‘hell-yeah’ here ladies?) then establishing where to stay is priority one.

The CQ Hotel lives right on Cuba Street, which is exactly where you want to be if you enjoy nightlife and don’t want to have to dig too deep to find it. Cuba Street mixes philosophical bohemia with acclaimed dining, vintage shopping and charming colonial era architecture. More on this soon though…

The CQ Hotel is particularly great for families, offering up a choice between comfortable standard hotel rooms and 2-level apartment options if you need a little extra space (and a kitchen). It’s housed in one of the larger ‘high-rises’ in the city. Just a slight elevation but the designers have made great use of it with floor-to-ceiling windows by the bed which makes for a stunningly beautiful wake-up call.

But what the CQ owns in location it slightly misses in quirk, which is fine because their thing is all about streamlined comfort.

If you’re looking to sleep deep in the bosom of Wellington’s weirdly wonderful creativity then QT Museum Wellington is where you want to rest your head. It’s located in the southern part of the CBD, which you’d think would put a dampener on its personality. In typical New Zealander style though there is no squashing its individuality and you’ll recognise it by the giant bronzed hippopotamus statue sticking out of the coastal side like a fat contented gargoyle.

Fat? Contented? It’s like a giant sign that says ‘Come hither all pregnant women, this place was made for thee.’

Inside it’s all gilded bars, high and low-brow art, rooms designed to feel like your dream apartment and bathrooms fitted with his and hers basins, a choice between rainwater showers or a giant bathtubs. You don’t even have to walk very far to find a great feed because that hippopotamus outside? There’s more to that than decoration…

Cocktails Are Out So Eating Large Is In

QT Museum is home to Hippopotamus, one of the city’s most celebrated French-inspired eateries and cocktail bars. The likes of caviar and pate might not be on your gestational menu but you’ll find it hard to resist the Peppered Beef Fillet, Mushrooms Duxelle, Onion Petals, Pomme Fondante & Beef Jus, with a side view over Clyde Quay Wharf to boot.

If you’re concerned over time or don’t have the means to commit to the whole Hippo then fear not. High Tea is a big deal here and you can enjoy their Museum High Tea of bottomless premium Dilmah leaves and a platter of savoury and sweet desserts for the entry-level price of $NZ39 per head.

You’re going to want to leave the hotel eventually though and there are countless foodie options to keep you occupied. In order to make this super easy, here’s a quick guide to get your started.

Cool Creative Cafes:

Hannah’s Laneway (between Leeds and Eva Streets): Okay so this isn’t one particular cafe per say, rather a cluster of Wellington’s most curious (and tastiest) indulgence spots. Here you’ll find Fix & Fogg’s legendary small-batch peanut butter store (yes, it does sound like something straight out of Harry Potter), Six Barrel Soda, Wellington Chocolate Factory and Pizza Pomodoro.

Milk Crate (and Precinct 35 art space):
Tucked away in Wellington’s ‘Portlandia’ side (near Cuba and Marion Streets), Milk Crate is a bookshop, bakery, coffee shop and art space, meaning you’ll enter here hungry and leave feeling a little bit smarter than before.

Nikau Cafe:
Traditionally, art gallery cafe’s always tend to feel like a bit of an afterthought. Just slotted in to keep the masses caffeinated. Except in Wellington. Nikau Cafe is a gallery cafe in the sense that it sits within the Wellington City Gallery but it breaks tradition with a menu that looks and tastes as beautiful as the artworks upstairs.

 

Prefab:
An industrial-chic cafe that’s as pretty on the eye as it is on the tastebuds. Come in for one of their famous seasonal salads and leave with a full stomach and one of their bar stools because they’re on sale as well.

Dinner highlights:

Ombra:
Even on a Monday night this place hums with patrons, which is pretty impressive for a city of only 203,000+ people. Maybe it’s because Ombra isn’t your traditional italian restaurant, it’s all about tapas and sharing (so there’s a little spanish element infused as well). The gnocchi is soft, the pork belly crispy, and the decor feels a little bit film noir. Brilliant.

Shepherd:
If your belly and legs allow it’s well worth grabbing a seat at the kitchen/bar and enjoy the theatrics as co-owner and head chef Shepherd Elliott perform feats of, dare we say, ultimate levels of zen as sous chefs and staff rush around him. There’s a sense of inclusivity and engagement throughout the whole restaurant though, from the sommelier who talks you through the minerality of the wine you’re about to drink (or sip, from your partner’s glass) or when the waiter hands you your meal and talks you through exactly where the fish was sourced.

Fish is still on the pregnancy menu, right?

But Why Walk When You Can Fly?

This is when we try very hard to avoid making the obligatory joke about getting a ‘little high’ while pregnant but when it can sometimes feel like your life’s on hold for 9 months as you nurture your little human you’ve got to get your kicks where you can.

And sitting front and centre inside a Wellington Helicopters Eurocopter taking in incredible views across Karori Rock Lighthouse and Makara Wind Farm is one such way to feel a little bit wild without *too* much risk.

You’ll also get to indulge in your Jurassic Park fantasies as you exit the craft on the shores of a fully-loaded fur seal colony.

Because this is New Zealand and nonplussed sea-life living in harmony with humans is just a thing they do really well here.

Spa Yourself Silly

This is a finale so completely indulgent that we feel almost guilty put it in. But if there was ever a time to REALLY spend time and money on yourself it’s in the last few weeks before you welcome your fresh human because Lord knows there’s going to be a good few weeks (LOL, months?) before you visit a spa again.

Spring Spa, located in Wellington’s bustling Te Aro district, is more than a stunning place to get spoiled for a few hours. It’s rather like a global spa movement, sparked in New Zealand (in 3 locations across the country) but quickly spanning across the globe with 3 newly opened locations in Bali.

It’s safe to say that when you book in for a Mum & Bump massage you know you’re in hands that take relaxation extremely seriously. We have to say, you don’t quite realise how tense you get from carrying a small human on your front until you’ve let a masseuse push all your muscles back into their positions (even if just for a few seconds).

Partners are more than welcome to join, perhaps with a little more emphasis on their shoulders, since they’ll be doing a lot of the heavy lifting over the next few months as a support person (we hope!).

You’ll leave floating on a cloud while in the ‘land of the long white cloud’, hopefully loved up and ready to put every fibre of your being into your new family member.

And it definitely beats a screening of Dick Tracy.

In Wellington over August? Your tastebuds are in for a treat. VISA Wellington On A Plate invites you to eat, drink and be Welly from August 11 – 27, which sees hundreds of the city’s best bars and bistros going head to head with food trucks and fine-dining, creative set menus and exclusive pop up venues.

Find out more here.

Want to find out a little more on why we love Wellington so much? Read a story from our first trip, Wellington, New Zealand: 5 Reasons This City Will Make You Fall In Love & Never Want To Leave