The Best of Wellington

The Best of Wellington

The city’s only independent, advert-free guidebook, since 2003!

‘A little packet of dynamite’ – The Wellingtonian


A new edition of the capital’s only independent, advert-free guidebook has been released. Written and published by Sarah Bennett and Lee Slater, long-time Wellingtonians and full-time travel writers, The Best of Wellington was first released in 2003 with a new edition launched every two years or so.

The first edition was an instant bestseller. Successive editions have been widely praised, with the capital’s Dominion Post hailing it as ‘a cracking little guide to all that is great about the world’s coolest little capital. Who else would warn you to give the bucket fountain a wide berth to avoid soaking your trousers?’

The fully revised sixth edition features new sections such as top tramps, a bird identification guide, and a list of must-hear local musicians selected by Radio New Zealand’s Nick Bollinger. It also showcases the work of local photographers such as Nick Servian, Rob Suisted and Shaun Barnett.

The book isn’t just for visitors, with Highbury’s James Turner vouching for its value to residents. ‘It’s a great publication. We bought the first edition when we arrived from the United Kingdom in 2004, and have bought most editions since. We use it for suggestions of cafes, places to visit and where to go walking, but we always make sure our visitors have a copy, too.’

A writer for Lonely Planet since 2001, Bennett believes truly independent travel advice is getting harder to find. ‘Travellers can get oodles of information from the internet and official destination guides, but the integrity of that advice is often compromised by the need to please sponsors and advertisers. Publishing The Best of Wellington has proved to us that readers are still prepared to pay for high-quality, well curated information in print format.’

Print format comes at considerable cost, though, especially as Bennett and Slater insist on printing locally rather than offshore. ‘There are certainly some financial challenges when you take advertising revenue out of the mix, but we believe that’s essential to providing impartial advice. Fortunately, The Best of Wellington enjoys incredibly heart-warming support from the community, and that inspires us to keep giving it another whirl.

The Best of Wellington is the go-to, full stop. It’s turbo charged. It’s by locals and for everyone’ – Tilly Lloyd, Unity Books


  • The first edition of The Best of Wellington (‘Highrise Sunrise’) was published in 2003 and was an instant bestseller. This was followed by Bucket Fountain (2004), Lady Luck (2006), Eat My Shorts (2008), and The Tower of Light (2013).
  • The Best of Wellington remains entirely advert-free; no payment or favour was accepted in return for inclusion. The book receives no funding from WCC, PWT or other official bodies.
  • The book covers attractions & activities, shopping, dining out, nightlife, transport & accommodation, and other useful listings.
  • New special interest sections include Nick Bollinger on local music, an art walk by Mark Amery, David Kernohan’s favourite Wellington architecture and Shaun Barnett’s top tramps.
  • The book highlights the work of local photographers including Nick Servian, Sean Gillespie, Stewart Baird, Janice McKenna, Shaun Barnett, Sarah Hunter and Jenn Hadley.
  • Maps are created especially for the book by New Zealand’s foremost cartographers, Wellington’s own Geographx.
  • All six editions have been printed locally; Petone’s Printlink takes the honours again this time.

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