A group of dancers in silver costumes are preforming on the street at CubaDupa.

Your guide to autumn in Wellington

The laugh is half-full

The nights are getting longer but resist the urge to stay in. The NZ International Comedy Festival with Best Foods Mayo rolls into town from 3 to 26 May. There are so many reasons to go out for a laugh. The Kiwi comic contingent is a balance of well-known faces and rising stars. Among the luminaries look out for Guy Montgomery, Hayley Sproull, Tom Sainsbury, Pax Assadi, and Melanie Bracewell. The people who’ve flown here include Ireland’s David O’Doherty, Schalk Bezuidenhout from South Africa, Olga Koch from UK, and fan favourite American, Wilson Dixon. The Australians have sent their best too. Check out the extensive programme.

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Let there be light

Wellington Botanic Garden ki Paekākā will bask in a whole new light after dark this season. ‘Light Cycles’ by Moment Factory runs from 11 May to 9 June. Billed as an illuminating outdoor experience, the gardens’ pathways will be filled with different multimedia experiences. Light installations, video projections, and an original soundtrack will form a sensory journey. Each area highlights the garden's lush backdrop. Through lighting and soundscapes, you can connect with the natural world.

Climb every mountain

If you’re more of an all-day athletic challenge than an all-day festival-goer, there are options for you, too The hills and trails around Wellington will provide an epic adventure playground for athletes to test themselves in April. Faultline Ultra dishes out the ultimate endurance challenge. Both mountain bikers and runners have six possible routes to push their limits on. You can tackle races ranging from 5km to a massive 100 miles. An epic event requires epic surroundings. Participants will negotiate trails around Kāpiti, the Hutt River, Porirua, Karori, and Wellington City. 

Two people posing and taking a selfie with The Incredible Hulk statue at Marvel: Earth's Mightiest Exhibition at Tākina.

Dive into the Marvel universe at Marvel: Earth’s Mightiest Exhibition.

A trip to see your Heroes

For some indoor fun, head to Tākina Wellington Convention & Exhibition Centre. Pop culture wouldn’t be the same without the stories and characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. ‘Marvel: Earth’s Mightiest Exhibition | Te Whakaaturanga Mārohirohi o Te Ao’ dives into the Marvel Universe. Catch your favourite Super Heroes and Villains — from Spider-Man to Black Panther, Deadpool, Groot, the Avengers, and more.

A sip’s just the trick 

With a jam-packed itinerary of events, make sure you save some time to refuel. The settled weather in autumn allows for some visits to Wellington’s outside watering holes. The Rogue & Vagabond opens straight out onto Glover Park on Ghuznee Street and provides beanbags as seating for a relaxed vibe. A couple of doors down the street and two floors above, Ascot provides a sheltered patio to enjoy the combination you never knew you needed — natural wine and a hot dog. The waterfront boasts an abundance of restaurants with outside areas. St Johns Bar on Cable Street has a healthy selection of small and large plates depending on the size of your appetite. Foxglove on Queens Wharf does everything from bar food to a mean Wagyu rump steak.

Seek the serenity

After all the hype of music, street fairs, and festivals you might like a moment to reflect. The autumn leaves will be turning every shade of red, yellow, and orange. Head out to one of the hundreds of trails around the region. Ōtari-Wilton’s Bush offers walks ranging from gentle 10-minute strolls to 2.5-hour hikes. If you have half a day then the Skyline Walk in the outer town belt offers spectacular vistas. For those up for a big challenge, the Escarpment Track runs from Paekākāriki to Pukerua Bay. Narrow pathways, ridgelines, and swing bridges lead to more amazing views.