Who doesn’t like a bargain? And then there’s all that gorgeous food tempting the palate. Easy, convenient, the huddle of stalls offering everything to everyone who doesn’t love the excitement of exploring a good market. Wellington does not disappoint the avid, the dedicated market shopper be they from Christchurch, Auckland or Brisbane. Here’s a list of a few favourites. Remember to always check if the market is open, surviving and thriving or closed.
1. Wellington Night Market is a must go experience.
It’s all about location, location, location. Cuba Street day or night is fun, entertainment, the quirky, the slightly odd or perhaps peculiar and the unique special something. There are elements of the inner city life with a contemporary urban twist that is Wellington.
The night market simply means the area rocks day and night. The recipe is perfect for the continuing rejuvenation of Cuba Street. The Wellington Night Market is Cuba Street atmosphere bottled as a market. Perfect. The buzz of the Left Bank on Fridays and on lower Cuba Street on Saturdays is enough to make this a regular must go place for locals. And like all good things visitors are not far behind.
The market is about food, hot, ready to eat flavours that reflect our immigrant cultures. You indulge in a culinary journey, that is totally awesome all from the comfort of Cuba Street. The vendors dress to impress with colour, jazz and live entertainment making the venue fun, and not just about great food.
Open: Early evening until 11.00pm Friday and Saturday.
2. Harbourside market
Harbourside Market is the oldest and one of the best markets in Wellington. Since 1920 there have been pop up stalls selling produce and food. Who needs to cook on their day off, Sunday is sorted with the Harbourside Market for inner city residents and visitors alike. The waterfront market offers fresh fruit and vegetables together with a succulent array of food choices. Bordeaux Bakery, a stalwart of Thorndon Quay has a food outlet. Your taste sensations are crisp, mouth melting French inspired baked goodies. Then you could move onto a waffle flipped with homemade jams or savoury if that tickles your fancy. Take aways are encouraged with House of Dumplings offering choices from vegetarian to the classic pork and greens. Frozen treats, souvlaki pizza the list goes on. Remember to stop by the Kaikoura Cheeses for authentic artisan cheeses for the yummy bread sticks in your shopping bag. Perhaps you needed a knife sharpened to cut your fresh fish. That’s possible.
Open: Sundays, 7.30am-2pm (1pm in winter), Cable Street, beside Te Papa.
3. Vegan Market Vault
The Vegan Vault was created by Kristine Bartley, owner of the vegan bakery, Sweet Release Cakes and Treats, on Willis Street, to highlight all of the vegan options our city has to offer. There will also be live music for your entertainment. You do not have to purchase tickets to enter – however, there is a a gold coin admission to keep our wheels rolling.
Open: 5.00pm – 8.30 pm 1st Saturday of every month at Aro Valley Community Centre.
4. Wellington underground market
Replete with breakfast, groceries and your Sunday dinner sorted round up the energy to visit a car park. This is a gem of a market specialising in art, artisan, jewellery and the creative spirit of the region. There are between 80 – 90 stalls. Quirky fashion statements from up and coming designers testing their commercial wings. Homeware and artworks stacked next to each other. Gift shopping sorted and you can feel good about your visitor spending dollars on local creations that reflect the fun of your holiday.
The venue for the Wellington Underground Market has closed due to earthquake strengthening. It is a great market and will keep you posted with when and where it opens.
5. Suburban Markets Newtown Fruit and Vegetable Market
Local fruit and vegetable corner shops, growers and wholesalers truck in surplus vegetables from their export orders or produce where the supermarkets are squeezing margins. This is a no frills market with budget friendly pricing to match.
Open: Saturday 7.00am – 1.00pm Newtown School, Mein Street.
6. Suburban Markets Thorndon Farmers’ Market
This market reflects an emphasis on organic, free range products as well as producer sustainable practices. This is a deli market with boutique cold pressed and preserved goods that sometimes have not yet made it to the supermarket shelves. An excellent market for deli treats, gifts. You will be inspired to try out that recipe you thought was too difficult when you spy the ingredients bottled, packaged ready to go. The cheeses, breads and vegetables are equally tempting.
Open: Saturdays, 8:30 am-12:30 pm, Hill Street car park, St Paul’s Cathedral, Thorndon.
We are interested in hearing about markets that we might have missed and you feel need attention in our social media world. Please comment below.
Read more about places to visit in Wellington in our Wellington travel guide.
The journey is worth it.