Shopping in Wellington

Wellington is our home town so we'd like to share some of our favourite shops with you. And as shopping can be a tiring experience, we're also recommending a few places to stop and take a break. We're good like that.

Assumption: we're assuming that you have a map of Wellington's CBD. We're starting our journey at David Jones on Lambton Quay but it works just as well in reverse. Everything can be reached on foot. If you're not so mobile, you can jump on a bus from Lambton Quay, Willis Street or Courtenay Place and be whisked across town for $2. 

Welcome to David Jones, the start of our shopping tour. This outpost of Australia's favourite department store sells a well-edited range of designer bags, shoes, clothing, homeware and, of course, cosmetics. We especially love the cosmetics and designer bags on the ground floor.

Curvy travellers are in for a treat at Zebrano, in Featherston Street, one street over. It stocks fabulous, quality clothing in sizes NZ14 (UK14/US10) and above. The focus is on flattering, New Zealand-made clothing. It's not cheap but it's worth every cent and the staff are lovely.

On the way to Zebrano, pop in to Magnetix for the latest air-freighted magazines. The selection is among the best in the country.

Need a bite to eat? Grab a slice of yummy pizza from Tommy Millions (not pictured).

Also on Featherston Street is our happy place: Trelise Cooper. This New Zealand designer sells the most gorgeous things and the shop is high on our list of 'happy places'. There’s also Tea Pea for homewear and clothing.

This brings us to the Old Bank Arcade which, as the name suggests, is set in an old bank and features clothing and homewear boutiques and a lovely jeweller called Tory and Co. 

Outside the Old Bank Arcade is one of our favourite clusters of shops. We are obsessed with Zambesi, a bastion of New Zealand women's and men's clothing. Think black, lots of black. As well as its own edgy label, Zambesi also sells Vetements, Maison Margiela and Rick Owens. In this short stretch of street is also Taylor and Moochi (more local labels) and Workshop, specialising in local designer Helen Cherry and a smattering of Chloe, Ance and Marc Jacobs.

If you want a break, drop into Pravda next door for great coffee and food. We love the chandeliers.

At some stage, take a detour to Lambton Quay to check out Mecca, our fav place to buy make-up and skincare.

Head down Willis Street to Unity Books, one of our favourite places to dig around and spend some time, and there's a good selection of books by New Zealand authors.

Continuing up Willis Street is Bello, which stocks an ever-changing mix of homewear, bags, scarves and goodies for kids.

Across the road is Quoil, a cool little shop selling the best New Zealand-made jewellery. The selection is eclectic and beautiful, and very reasonably priced. If you're looking for a souvenir, you can do worse than the goodies on offer at Quoil. Pictured here is a Jane Dodd's bear-paw necklace.

In Victoria Street, two minutes walk away, you'll find another cluster of great Kiwi designers. Check out Good as Gold (not pictured, sorry!) and its selection of Kowtow clothing, which has excellent ethical credentials and lasts forever. We're also huge fans of Lonely (fab underwear and leisurewear) and World (very wearable clothes).

Nearby on Wakefield Street are international darling Karen Walker - you'll find her clothing, sunnies and jewellery here, cheaper than overseas - and Wanda Harland, which stocks great clothing and accessories. 

Welcome to Cuba Street, Wellington's alternative, grungy heartland with its boutiques and second-hand shops. Our favourite stores are Arty Bees second-hand books, Hunters and Collectors, and Ziggerat (not pictured). Keep going for Slow Boat Records (not pictured), a Wellington music institution. The whole street is worth exploring and we promise you'll find something you like.

Cuba Street intersects with Ghuznee Street, which has some of our favourite shops including Deadly Ponies (gorgeous New Zealand-made leather bags and jackets), Ena (cool things from places like New York), Caughley (another well-curated collection of local and international labels) and The Service Depot (very cool local labels and accessories). 

It's probably time for a coffee. Ghuznee Street is full of cafes that double as art galleries. Pictured here is a print by Ngatai Taepa and a few of the cafes.

If you need something more substantial than coffee, we like Best Ugly Bagels, Floriditas (not pictured) and Burger Fuel (not pictured). The noodle and curry places in this area can be a bit hit and miss and are best avoided.

While you're waiting to cross a road, take a look at the traffic lights. This is Carmen, an iconic performer and trans activist from the 1970s who was based in Cuba Street.

A couple of blocks over is College Street, home to Moore Wilson's, the best little grocery store in Wellington, and bookshop Ekon. Ekon stocks only the very best books. You can also grab coffee here. College Street is short but contains some good wee shops so have a look around.

On the way from Cuba Street to College Street, check out Soup on Holland Street, a great second-hand clothing store that stocks top labels in great condition.

There's also another Zebrano's down this end of town, at the bottom of Tory Street. This area is also home to Harry's (more great clothing and a smattering of Jonathan Adler pottery, not pictured) and Brown and Co (also not pictured) for all your taxidermy needs.

You've earned yourself a drink, so head to Black Sparrow under the iconic Embassy Theatre at the end of Courtenay Place.

The high street

"This all looks rather expensive," I hear you say. Admittedly, most of these shops aren't super-cheap but what they sell is great quality and generally unique to Wellington or New Zealand. But Wellington is also full of local high street stores (such as Glasson's) and Aussie chain stores (like Country Road, Seed, Peter Alexander and Cue). You'll find these stores along the route we've outlined above. If you're looking for high street stores, including Wellington's only H&M, in one spot and under cover, jump on bus 83 and head to Queensgate mall in Lower Hutt. It's about a 30 minute trip.

We've focused on shops of interest to women as most of our fab followers are women (thanks everyone!). For menswear, check out David Jones, Working Style (just off Lambton Quay near David Jones), 3 Wise Men (again, just off Lambton Quay near Country Road), Boss (across the road from World) and World itself.

Where do you like shopping in Wellington? There are heaps of hidden treasures scattered around town so let us know your favourites and we can feature them here.

Updated: 26 April 2019