Throwback to early one chilly February morning, I hopped on a plane for a quick trip up to New Zealand’s capital, Wellington. Wellington is known for its extreme winds, and the minor fact that it’s built on a giant Faultline (or very near, at least). I thought that I’d drive away from Wellington still remembering it for that, and sure, we got an extremely windy day, but I’ll remember Wellington for it’s great coffee and even better bookshops. Here are my favourite three.
Located on Willis Street, with a very busy bus stop out front, this relatively large bookshop would be my favourite in the city. It was pouring down with rain the day I visited, expecting it to be near empty, and to have the book seller’s eyes fixed on my dripping rain coat, but Unity Books was buzzing. The floor is dotted with tables filled with (well organised) books, the walls are lined with bookshelves, and the occasional comfy chair was occupied by a contented looking reader. Unity Books is the kind of place you’d go after a long day to relax, wait for your bus back home, and find your next favourite read. The booksellers were extremely friends, and helpful people who were evidently in love with books as much as the rest of us.
I was particularly delighted by the table filled with essays, philosophy and literary criticism, and by particularly delighted, I mean I almost swooned (that level of dramatism is reserved for books, bookshops, volcanos, flowers, chocolate pudding and other beautiful natural landscape things). Unity has one of the best non-fiction sections I’ve come across, but fiction lovers don’t fret, their fiction collection is extensive. I’m confident you could find what you’re looking for in this gem of a place. Unity was warm, welcoming and well stocked, the perfect place for a rainy February afternoon in Wellington.
57 Willis St
Mon - Thurs: 9am - 6pm
Fri: 9am – 7pm
Sat: 10am – 5pm
Sun: 11am – 5pm
I love Wellington coffee. Two of my favourite roasters are Mojo and Caffe L’affare, and they're scattered all around the city, so you'll definitely be able to find one around. But if in doubt, there's a Starbucks just around the corner from Unity. Wellington is a fairly small city, so you're never far from anything.
Arty Bees Books
Arty Bees is probably the biggest second-hand bookstore I’ve ever stepped foot into. In fact, it’s almost like a library. The shop is split level, the bottom level is home to an extensive section of non-fiction, the ends of the bookshelves letting you know what the rows hold. The top level is home to fiction. It’s easy to get lost in this huge store because there’s just so many books! We didn’t have a lot of time to mull around, and I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, so I couldn’t spend as long as I would have liked exploring the shelves, but if you’re in a browsing mood, I’d definitely set aside around an hour to thoroughly explore the store!
106 Manners St
Monday – Thursday: 9am – 7pm
Friday: 9am – 9pm
Saturday: 10am – 9pm
Sunday: 11am – 7pm
Cuba Street! The hip and artsy street of Wellington is just around the corner from Arty Bees. Just take a quick stroll up or down Cuba and you're sure to find something that tickles your fancy.
I’ve never entered a shop quite like Pegasus Books. It’s a dream of a second-hand bookshop. Think quit jazz music, and a bookshop inside the TARDIS, and you have Pegasus. The shop is set out like a maze, you walk from one room into another, every single one filled with books upon books. There are cute little chairs in reading corners, tables filled with books, and shelves higher than I can reach. Pegasus left me speechless. It’s definitely not what I was expecting when I walked in. As with Arty Bees, I didn’t have a great lot of time to look around, and I wasn’t looking for anything specific, so I didn’t spend as long as I could have in Pegasus. Honestly, I could have spent all day there. For its uniqueness, Pegasus would be my favourite second-hand bookstore that I visited.
Cuba Mall 204/Left Bank
Monday – Saturday: 10:30am – 8pm
Sunday: 10:30am – 6pm
As with Arty Bees, Pegasus Books is just around the corner from Cuba Street, in fact, Pegasus is considered a part of Cuba Street Mall, you won't have an issue finding somewhere!
Ever been to Wellington? What are your favourite spots?