Estère's Wellington

Estere smiling to camera.

I’m a sound nerd and an anthropologist. I was born on Waiheke and grew up in Wellington. My mum's a Pākehā New Zealander and my dad's from Cameroon in Central Africa.

I have lived in France and Germany and travelled the world, but I always come back to Wellington. I love Wellington’s natural environment. It’s also kind of a Goldilocks city - or a ‘baby bear porridge’ city - not too big, and not too small, and there’s always a lot of creative, artistic things going on as well.

Live music from jazz to experimental

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9 Edward Street, Te Aro, Wellington

I try to get to as much live music as I can. If I’m just hanging out with friends, the Rogue and Vagabond often has live music and free entry, and is great for jazz, soul and RnB. For bigger shows, it’s usually San Fran or Meow. Moon has cool local and out-of-town acts and the Pyramid Club is where I go for more fringe artists. The vibe is really brilliant and experimental, with people trying out new things.

Inside Counter Culture where people are playing board games.

Game on at Counter Culture

211 Victoria Street, Te Aro, Wellington

Counter Culture has mixed the idea of going for a drink with playing games, because sometimes going for a drink can be boring. It’s not your average pub game selection - they have a huge array of options. The atmosphere is cosy and the staff are friendly. Instead of cocktail matching, they do game matching. Sometimes I feel like playing a nice competitive game, other times I want to play a game that uses my logical brain. And depending who I’m with, I might choose chess, or Monopoly to go with my lemon-lime and bitters or a merlot.

Three people walking on a track with the ocean as a backdrop.

Train to Paekākāriki

7 Beach Road, Paekākāriki

I’ve spent a lot of time in Paekākāriki. I used to live there and I worked at The Perching Parrot café when it first opened. The train ride from Wellington is captivating. You go past three different sets of ocean; the harbour, an estuary inlet and the Kāpiti Coast. It’s such a relaxing way to travel, just looking out at the beautiful views.

Paekākāriki is such a cute little village with its 1950s architecture. I like to get a coffee at The Perching Parrot and walk down to the beach.

Two paths at Otari Wilton Bush.

Stroll through dappled light in Otari Wilton Bush

150 Wilton Road, Wilton, Wellington

I find nature so important for my headspace and for feeling like I can access my creative mind. I really need that connection with nature to feel balanced. It feeds into being a musician and an artist. Otari Wilton Bush is a place you can access the natural world from just outside suburbia. I love the dappled light that often comes through the trees. There is an open area for barbecues and picnics and a running stream you can walk along.

The inside of the Enjoy Gallery in Wellington.

Find inspiration at Enjoy

211 Left Bank Arcade, Wellington

I often find inspiration in art spaces. Enjoy is an independent gallery on the West Bank that has always got different, cool exhibitions. I like to pop into the gallery whenever I find myself in the area. Enjoy is great because it’s a local initiative that supports up-and-coming artists. Their mission is all about experimental art, learning and exchange.

Breaker Bay in Wellington.

Walk to the archway at Breaker Bay

Breaker Bay, Wellington

Breaker Bay is a stunning part of Wellington. Sometimes we just drive around the coast on nice days. I was out there recently for a friend’s video shoot. If I ever find myself on that side of the city I will stop and go for a walk in the sinking sand to the archway. It’s very beautiful, a perfect natural archway. The ridge above is an old pā site.

Attend a few City Gallery events

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Te Ngākau Civic Square, Wellington Central, Wellington

I love how the City Gallery opens itself up to collaborate with individual types of artists. I did a late-night gig there recently alongside a Cindy Sherman exhibition and also attended an amazing Vogue Ball. The events are what usually draw me in but the exhibitions are always excellent - contemporary art from New Zealand and around the world.  The gallery is so close to the city centre, it’s so easy to call in.

Lyall Bay in Wellington.

Try surfing at Lyall Bay

Lyall Bay, Wellington

If you’re into surfing, you can pretty much jump off the plane and go for a surf at Lyall Bay. I think that’s a pretty sweet attribute of Wellington. I have surfed at Lyall Bay but I suck at surfing and more often I’ll just walk along the beach and visit one of the cafés while my boyfriend and his brothers are out surfing. 

The old army barracks.

Explore the old army barracks

Fort Ballance Road, Karaka Bays, Wellington

Up above Scorching Bay, there are some old army barracks all covered in graffiti. It’s a bit spooky but also interesting because it’s an actual historic site. Fort Ballance was part of the coastal defence network back when there was concern about a Russian attack back in the 1880s. The views from up there are amazing.

Neat Wellington Places

Cake & Kitchen

A fake living wall inside a brightly lit cafe.
Place Hutt Valley Upper Hutt
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Cake & Kitchen is a cafe in Upper Hutt, bringing people together over delicious food and coffee.

Squirrel

The beautiful entry to Squirrel cafe in Wellington.
Place Wellington
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Nestled near the corner of popular Blair Street, Squirrel offers a warm and inviting haven complemented by a menu that showcases the best of Wellington’s producers and suppliers.

LUCKY

Burger and fries.
Place Wellington
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Keeping things simple, LUCKY takes its vibes from the West Coast skate scene, where doing your own thing comes with a hint of rebellion.

Miss Fortune's

Coffee machine and bags of coffee on a colourful counter in Miss Fortune's cafe
Place Hutt Valley Lower Hutt
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Lower Hutt’s industrial precinct isn’t exactly where you’d think to head for a slice of quintessential Wellington hospitality, but at Miss Fortune’s, you’ll find one of the region’s most charismatic little brunch spots.