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Wellington: a walk through Cuba Street

Wellington’s bohemian Cuba Street is a great place to spend a weekend and I was delighted to find plenty to do within cooee of the door of my hotel on the famous street.

Here’s my walk about today snapping pics:

Cuba St sign

Named after a ship called Cuba that docked here in 1840, today you’ll be forgiven for being sucked into thinking Fidel Castro must have visited leaving an indelible impression. Bars and restaurants are named Fidel, El Floriditas, Havana. All just having a laugh.

Fidels Wellington

But new cafes, bars and retailers have popped up in the last few years, so if you haven’t darkened upper Cuba for a while, you will be spoilt for choice.

Havana bar Wellington
Tucked behind Cuba through the Quality Inn, this new restaurant and bar is a hit with the locals

Small plates and a great little bar for a quiet drink as it’s kind of off-the-beaten track.

Ombra Cubs Street
Ombra is housed in a former sex shop with a peaches and cream cocktail as a nod to its past
Laundry Cuba Street
Laundry is stacked with old suitcases and retro furniture

I asked for their signature cocktail at Laundry, and owner Matt Rutledge whipped me up “sunshine in a glass” which he said was made for him on Johnny Depp’s boat. I couldn’t get any more detail out of him on that matter, but the drink was a combination of squeezed lemon juice, a dash of lime cordial, ginger beer, Mt Gay rum, more ginger beer and more lemons. Swizzle and serve. $9.

Cuba Street Wellington
Frutti Cuba St
Check out clothes and accessories from kiwi designers at Frutti
Abstract Cuba Street
And quirky home decor at Abstract Design
Carly Harris Wellington
Vintage lamp shades and frocks at Carly Harris
Tempest Cuba Street
Cuba street bucket sculpture

The most iconic image of all is this bucket water sculpture. Originally designed to be a zen-like water feature, when it was installed the splashes went everywhere and when the wind caught it chaos ensured. It was due to be fixed but by then the locals had fallen in love with it, so the crazy splashing buckets outside Farmers are an accidental hero. When did you last visit Cuba Street?

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!