Travel Scene: Cuba Street in Wellington, New Zealand

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For me, New Zealand is where it all began. It's where this whole love for (okay, obsession with) travel really was kickstarted, and I think it will always hold a very special place in my heart because of that. Plus, it's a pretty damn awesome country.

And within that awesome country, Wellington is my favorite city. I lived there for 5 months in 2008, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

So today I decided to do a little on-the-ground look at Cube Street in Wellington, a spot spent many hours in during my time in New Zealand!

Cuba Street, Wellington, New Zealand

You may know that Wellington is my favorite city in New Zealand, but what you might not know is that my favorite part of Wellington is the little stretch of shops, cafes, and bars along a brick road known as Cuba Street (or Cuba Mall for the pedestrian-only part).

Cuba Street is full of LIFE. It's full of character. And, most of all, it's full of all the people who make up the great city of Wellington. From the businessmen to the buskers, Cuba Street shows all shades of this city's colors.

Instead of telling you about it, though, I'd much rather show you.

Here, then, is colorful Cuba Street:

Cuba Street, Wellington, New Zealand
One end of Cuba Mall.
Cuba Street, Wellington, New Zealand
I could sit here for hours and never get bored.
Cuba Street, Wellington, New Zealand
A guy doing chalk paintings.
Cuba Street, Wellington, New Zealand
A tai chi demonstration promoting peace.
Cuba Street, Wellington, New Zealand
One of the most amazing guitar players I've ever heard. He stars in the video at the end of this post.

Cuba Street, Wellington, New Zealand

Cuba Street, Wellington, New Zealand
The Bucket Fountain and a balloon busker.
Cuba Street, Wellington, New Zealand
There's even a small playground.

Cuba Street, Wellington, New Zealand

Cuba Street, Wellington, New Zealand

And, because photos aren't enough, here's a video, too! I played around with time lapse in the middle of this, so let me know what you think!

Have you ever been to Cuba Street? Or, is there a spot in your favorite city that you just never tire of?


"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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41 Comments on “Travel Scene: Cuba Street in Wellington, New Zealand

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  1. I love your photographic tour of Cuba Street, Amanda! I was skeptical before arriving in Wellington in October 2010, but after having spent a week in town, walking everywhere (ah, those hills), feeling and enjoying the strong breezes, and soaking up the atmosphere (with countless coffees), the city sprung up on me, like a beautiful comfortable sweater that’s hard to let go. One of the first places my friends brought me was caffé italiano on Cuba St. : great food, great coffee, fantastic atmosphere.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post! Hopefully it brought back some fond memories of Wellington for you. 🙂

      And ah, Cafe Italiano… I know it well! I lived only a couple of blocks from that place when I was living in Wellington, and I went there quite a few times! They have such delicious pasta dishes. Yum!

    Yes I’ve been to Cuba street. Wellington is a cool city. I almost laughed out loud when I saw the photo of the water sculpture. It is rare to see pictures of my home country with so many more tavelled destinations being blogged about, and even rarer to see photos of the cities. Really good post.

      Thanks, Zoe! You live in Wellington, I take it? Or are from there or nearby? I LOVE Wellington. I lived there for a few months in 2008, and I’d love to live there longer some day.

      And, believe it or not, tons of people are interested in traveling to your home country! I blog about New Zealand frequently! (Though, I’ll admit that, out of the cities, Welly definitely gets the most of my attention! 🙂 )

        I live in Nelson (Dunedin at the moment I suppose as I’m at Uni) but I love going to Wellington. Its a great city. I’ve seen some of your other New Zealand Blogs, they are really interesting. I have seen some other Bloggers write occasionally about NZ but you seem to have the most variety in topics. I’ve only seen pictures of Mud pools (which are cool or hot I should probably say) and of the Alps (which is understandable as they are so beautiful).

          I’ve never been to Nelson (I’ve heard it’s cool, though), but I have spent some time in Dunedin. It seems like it would be a fun spot to go to Uni. I went to Massey in Wellington for a semester and loved it!

          I’m glad you stumbled upon my blog, and that you like my NZ content. It’s my blogging specialty, so I’m glad you feel like there’s plenty of variety on my site! 🙂

    Ah, I’m heading to Wellington in a couple of weeks. Can’t wait to hang on Cuba Street and see the rest of the country!

      Exciting!!! I hope you’re allowing a few days for Wellington. A lot of people skip it, or just use it as a passing-through city, but it really deserves more of your time!! Definitely head down to Cuba Street for an afternoon. I don’t think you’ll regret it!

    I fell into Cuba Street entirely by accident after leaving the museum–I was enchanted. Thank you so much for the reminders. I’m so happy you are getting to enjoy it. Have fun!

      Isn’t it fabulous? While I was living in Wellington and going to school there, I made it a point to walk down Cuba Street at least 2 or 3 times a week. More often if I could (which often I did, as I only lived a few blocks away). There was always something to see and hear there! I miss having a spot like that where I live now.

      I’m glad this post could bring back some good memories for you. 🙂

    We only got to walk down that street once but I remember it being really quirky and awesome!

      Haha, “quirky and awesome” is a perfect way to describe Cuba Street. Too bad you didn’t get more time to hang out there! When I was living in Wellington, I would often take a book or some homework down to Cuba and just pick a bench and sit there for a few hours. Usually, though, I got no work done — I would just people-watch instead!

    I love all of your scene photos! The energy and vibrancy of this neighborhood really came through. Wellington looks like a blast.

      Thanks, Abby! I’m glad I was able to capture Cuba Street in this post for those who haven’t been there. Though, I will admit — it’s MUCH better in-person!

    Wow what a colorful and fun street!!!! You could spend the whole day there.

      You really could spend the whole day there! There’re a ton of cool shops, cafes, pubs, street performers, and then of course the colorful artwork and people strolling by!

    I think you belong in New Zealand. 🙂

      Haha. I think I do, too!! Once I’m finished with my Master’s, my plan is to trick my boyfriend into getting a working holiday visa with me, and then holding him captive in NZ. Mwahahaha. … No, but seriously…

    Hello, this is my first time visiting here, your blog is awesome! I came by here via travelblogchallenge, was looking for more information on adbeans when I stumbled upon your message there.
    Hope to keep in touch.. mine is also a traveling blog…
    Have a nice day!

      Well, welcome! I hope you find some stories and tips here you like. 🙂

    Wow very cool photos – the colours are beautiful! What a fantastic rendition of Comptine d’un autre été that guitarist was giving, never heard anything as incredible as that. Beautiful!

      Thank you, Will! And yes, that guitarist was amazing. I sat down and watched him for over half an hour; he was SO good.

    Wow! Fantastic photos… I love to visit this place, seems everything is exiting in Cuba Street… Thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures.

      Cuba Street IS very exciting. I’m glad you liked the photos!

    Great job capturing the vibrancy of Cuba Street. It must be the week to change your mind on posts. I have about half a dozen half written posts that I have scrapped for other posts over the past two weeks. Every time I go to write about my planned post, I become inspired by something else. Must be the change of seasons. This was a great choice to post though, love it!

      Thanks, Deb! I’m really glad that the spirit of Cuba Street has come through to others from this post. That’s definitely what I was hoping for!

      And yeah, maybe it’s just the season, but I’ve been swapping out posts left and right recently! Like you said, I just keep coming up with new ideas while working on other posts, and I just decide to run with them!

    I am staying just off cuba st now!

      Yeah? Awesome, where at?

      I lived just off the south end Cuba on Webb St. for like 5 months. I LOVED living in that part of Wellington.


    Can you tell me what to expect of Cuba Street in the New Zealand winter season? I’ll be in Wellington for just a few days between 12-16 June 2012. Like you, I prefer to make the most of my time when I travel, and this seems to be right up my alley. Just hoping to see some “street scenes” and not empty shops, cafes, etc. I’m happy to bundle up … is everyone else?


      Hey Lisa! Cross your fingers for some sunny weather, but you should have no problem finding some “street scenes” on Cuba Street in June. Most of the photos (and all the video) from this post were taken in May last year — so not too far off from June!

      I lived in Wellington over a winter season a few years ago, and there were always people out on Cuba Street, especially if the weather was decent. The only thing you won’t find much of in the winter months are people sitting outside of cafes — but there will be plenty of them inside!

        WAIT … I’ve just read some nonsense about there only being 3.5 hours of sunlight per day on average in June? Is this true? When does the sun make its appearance? How can this be? I’ll be coming from Hawaii, where we have 13.5 hours of sun per day in June. Oy vey – shaking my head and smacking my hand against my forehead. Thanks for any insight you can share!

          Not sure where you read that… New Zealand is not so far south as to be that dark during the winter. It will probably start getting dark around 5 p.m. or so in June, with the sun rising around 7 or 8 a.m. Now if you mean sunSHINE, that could be true, as Wellington can be quite moody (wet and windy) in the winter months.

            Ah – relief … it is sunSHINE … 3.5 average hours of sunSHINE … 9 hours between sunrise and sunset. Forgive me, my reading skills seem to be on the downswing as I age. Yay — looking forward to New Zealand and thanks for all the helpful info in your blog. I’ve managed to compile a nice-tidy-to-do list for the 5 days I’ll be there. LisaG

            Haha, glad to be of help! I really hope you enjoy your time in Wellington! It’s my favorite city in NZ.

    This post made me want to go back to Cuba street. As much as the locals hate the Cuba St fountain, it will always have a special place in my heart.

      The fountain is just one of those things that’s so “Wellington.” 🙂

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