Packing for a five day trip away

packing for a five day trip holiday getaway capsule minimal travel

Packing for any kind of holiday is downright difficult; be it an overnighter, a week, or a month away, there’s always that underlying question… ‘did I pack too much, too little, or just enough?’.

Last Wednesday, Luke and I flew to Wellington for a five-night stay to celebrate our engagement with friends and family, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a whirlwind trip – they’re always over too soon!

I’m the type that tries to fly with just a carry-on (and a very large shopper tote), so I try to narrow down my travel-drobe as much as possible. I managed to keep it to just the essentials (even if my make up bag was overflowing a little…), keeping in mind that what little I packed would need to be effortlessly paired together. I find that the most fail safe combination is a neutral palette of black, white, grey and navy, so I focused my suitcase heavily on those four colours.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the weather was *mostly* miserable – Saturday was the exception – so I tried to pack with this in mind. Which honestly, was a little tough given my Spring capsule is so heavily geared toward warmer weather. I ended up swapping out a couple of my shoes for two pairs which were a little more appropriate (my Acne jensens and Charlotte Olympia kitty flats), and packed a couple of pairs of stockings just in case.

The most useful things I packed? A HUGE blanket like scarf and a heavy leather jacket, which were truly a lifesaver against the bitterly cold wind you often get in Wellington. And what I could have done without? The Everlane silk tank I hastily packed and one fewer skirt – outfit repeating (or remixing) is 100% okay, especially when on holiday.

Do you have a formula when you pack for a trip away? Or do you throw the kitchen sink and them some into a bag and hope for the best? x

The one thing

celine cabas tote gusset acne studios canada scarf sheepskin rug

Celine cabas tote w/ gusset, Acne Studios Canada scarf

There’s no arguing the fact that I flew to Wellington completely unprepared. No scarf, no jacket, no coat; just a suitcase full of lightweight skirts, sleeveless tops and oh… a single jumper and a lone pair of jeans. So, as I type this, I’m sitting snuggled up in things borrowed from my mother’s wardrobe – a ruffled tank, a merino wool jersey, and a thick woollen coat-igan – she was always a woman well prepared (and well-stocked) for Wellingotn’s arctic chill.

If there’s one thing I completely and 100 percent wish I’d managed to pack, it’s my Acne Canada scarf, hands down. Mostly because there’s no better excuse to carry around a blanket masquerading as a scarf, than a little bit of Wellington wind.

Packing for a long weekend away

packing for a long weekend away

It was a *little* last minute, but I’m currently en route to Wellington to spend a long weekend (and my birthday weekend at that) with my family. It’s a short and sweet trip; five days and four nights away from home, though I’m hoping that I’ve finally managed to nail the whole process of packing light. I’m only taking a small carry-on suitcase and my Cuyana tote, which should at least help to keep the contents of my suitcase to a minimum. The only thing that really could have held me back? The fact that I had to account for half a day in the office – and a corporate one at that (tip: keep a pair of heels under your desk!). It’s pretty safe to say from my travel capsule below that I took a couple of liberties with the dress code…

I’ve been keeping an eye on the weather forecast, and it would be just my luck that it would be sunny e-v-e-r-y day, until the day I arrived, so I’ve geared my wardrobe towards rainy Fall weather (because let’s face it, anything below 20deg C is cold). It’s all the usual suspects; grey (and a lot of it), stripes, and my favourite velvet kitty flats.

Everlane charcoal ryan tank
Acne Studios grey copy linen tee
Equipment black sleeveless silk blouse
T by Alexander Wang l/s stripe top
Country Road grey merino jumper

Nobody navy superskinny jeans
Josh Goot a-line mini skirt
Lover blush a-line leather mini skirt (similar)

Charlotte Olympia kitty flats
Stuart Weitzman black suede loafers

Usually, I’d also tuck a pair of Nike Frees in my suitcase somewhere, especially given the fact that I’m completing Kayla Itsines’ BBG; but if my last trip home was anything to go by, I’d be lucky enough to squeeze in even a quick run.

If anything, I think I’ve probably laid the restraint on a little thick, but I guess that’s what mum’s wardrobe is for. It’s a good thing we’re the same size…

Wellington in 24 hours

breakfast stack maranui cafe wellington

Home to excellent coffee, a thriving cafe culture and art scene, and of course that wind, there seemed like no better time to play tourist in my home town that on my recent trip back to Wellington. For those wanting to get a taste of the capital or rediscover it like I have, you’ll find my guide to exploring Wellington in 24 hours below.

Enjoy a lazy breakfast at Maranui. Overlooking Lyall Bay beach, Maranui is hands down one of my favourite spots to breakfast in the capital, and if you’ve been there before, you’ll know why. With a generous selection of cabinet food (which caters to the vegan and gluten-intolerant amongst us) and a hearty brunch menu, there is unquestionably something for everyone. Not to mention that it comes with a view. Maranui is a popular spot for a weekend brunch, so expect to wait 15-30 minutes if you drop in on a Saturday or Sunday.

Ride the cable car and explore the botanical gardens. It wouldn’t be a trip to Wellington without a ride on the iconic red cable car. Take a ride from Cable Car Lane in the city and hop off at the Botanical Gardens which are beautifully manicured and in full bloom at this time of year. Don’t forget to pop into the Glasshouse for the tropical fauna and goldfish pond.

charley noble waterfront lunch wellington
charley noble waterfront lunch wellington

Eat lunch down near the waterfront. With so many restaurants overlooking the harbour, you’re a little spoilt for choice. For something a little upmarket, I’d suggest Shed 5 (my personal favourite) for some of the best seafood in the city, or their sister restaurant ‘Crab Shack’ located next door – although be prepared for the wait, which can be upwards of two hours if you don’t get in early. One street back from the waterfront you’ll find Charley Noble which I’d argue is worth giving up the view for; the service is excellent for one, the meals well-priced, and the food? Excellent.

area 51 shopping wellington

Shop along the ‘golden mile’. Wellington’s small size comes in handy if you’re planning on hitting the shops, particularly if you’re fond of independent boutiques. I like to start at the Arcade at the end of Lambton Quay, which houses favourites such as I Love Paris, RUBY and Workshop, while making my way down to Karen Walker, Service Depot, Kate Sylvester and Twenty Seven Names. Be sure to drop into Good as Gold and Area 51 along the way for a generous selection of New Zealand and International designers. I wrote a couple of short guides to shopping the capital last year if you’d like to take a peek – part 1; part 2.

wellington city gallery art wellington

Drop into the Wellington City Gallery. Easy to miss, however if you get the chance, I’d make a beeline for the Wellington City Gallery. There is always an interesting installation or artist featured, and did I mention that entrance is free? Oh, and make sure that you stop by Nikau Cafe, which is situated on the ground floor for excellent coffee, and a late lunch (I highly recommend the fish kedgeree) if the waterfront options weren’t to your taste.

beach waterfront worser bay wellington

Take in the beautiful scenery. For such a small city, Wellington is absolutely spoilt when it comes to breathtaking views. For those short on time, a walk around the coastline near Oriental Bay (a short walk from Courtenay Place) is a must – if only to enjoy the yachts racing in the water. If you have more time, there are plenty of walks which are easily accessible from the city (a quick google search should prove fruitful), or I’d recommend making the trip out to the eastern suburbs; completely surrounded by water, it’s absolutely idyllic if you’re blessed with a nice day.

WBC drinks dinner interior wellington

Grab an early dinner at WBC. WBC is unassuming, the doorway almost hidden along the well-travelled Victoria St, although once you find it, you’re in for a treat. The menu consists of small plates which are designed for sharing, in addition to larger options if you’re feeling a little more ravenous – and the wine is good to boot. Get in early to grab a seat next to the sun drenched windows and soak in the last hours of the afternoon light.

havana bar drinks wellington

Drinks at Havana bar. Tucked away at the end of Cuba Street, Havana Bar has gone under a bit of a transformation in recent years. Don’t let the view from the street fool you – it is home to some great live music, in addition to delicious tapas, if you’re starting to feel a bit peckish, to while away the night into the wee hours of the morning.

If you have a little more time on your hands, there’s still so much more that the greatest little city in the world has to offer. From the National Museum Te Papa (conveniently located on the waterfront), Carter’s Observatory (a must for aspiring astrologists), and the food, oh the food. For the foodies in all of us, I’ve made a quick list of some of my favourite spots to grab a bite (or a coffee) below. To say that Wellington is spoilt for choice is a bit of an understatement…

Matterhorn – If I’m not grabbing a drink at Havana, it’s likely that Matterhorn will be my second choice. Not only is their joint wine, spirit and beer selection among the most extensive that Wellington has to offer, it’s a great place to catch up with a big group of friends after a hard day at work.

Ancestral – Courtenay Place might be known for its nightlife, but considering I’m not the biggest fan of crowds, I tend to opt for the more low-key options. This bar-cum-restaurant is the perfect antidote to the overcrowded streets, with dim lighting, delicious cocktails, and excellent Chinese food. If you can, grab a seat at the bar outside; the stone slab seating is heated – perfect to combat the Wellington chill.

Olive – I only discovered how good Olive Cafe was just before leaving Wellington; an error on my part! Perfect for a boozy brunch, just make sure to get a seat in the hidden garden bar out the back.

Loretta’s – This is a new favourite, although that didn’t stop me from dropping in twice during my short stay. The space is enormous, and the menu changes daily according to season and what’s available. My kinda place, that’s for sure.

Gipsy Kitchen – This little hole in the wall cafe is great to drop into if you happen to be on your way to Scorching Bay beach. It’s mostly deli style food, but the coffee is good and it encapsulates the distinctive Wellington vibe.

Prefab – This is a great brunch spot, conveniently located on Jessie Street, a short walk from the CBD. Be sure to take home a loaf of bread, baked daily on-site, and order the bottomless coffee, because one cup is never enough.

Six Barrel Soda – This is one of my favourite spots to catch up with a girlfriend, gossip, and people watch the street below. Not to mention the in-house soda’s, which are beyond good.

Deluxe (or Diamond Deli if you happen to be in Lyall Bay) – If you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just crave a healthy lunch, Deluxe is definitely the way to go. Either eat in or grab your lunch take away and enjoy it down at the waterfront. Their vegan sandwiches are tops, as are the salads (a given), the brown rice sushi rolls and the sweet treats. Okay all of it.

Duke Carvells – Quite possibly one of my favourite restaurants in Wellington, Duke Carvells offers up a delectable fare of Meditterranean inspired tapas, for sharing with your companions. Come here on a Friday or Saturday night and you’re likely to be treated to some live music.

Ekim Burgers – Since moving to Sydney, Ekim has relocated to Cuba Street (as opposed to its original, Lyall Bay Beach spot); convenient for those wandering the city (or just dropping in). If you’re hungry for a burger, I highly recommend that you head to Ekim; theirs are arguable among the best I have ever eaten, and they have a hearty selection of vegetarian (and vegan) options.

There are so many good options in Wellington – for which we have the huge cafe culture to thank – so if in doubt, if there’s a steady stream of people wandering in, that’s usually a good sign. Should you get a nice enough day for a picnic, Moore Wilson’s is a good spot to drop in to pick up a bottle of freshly squeezed orange juice, some nice soft cheeses, and a loaf of bread, hand picked from one of the many bakeries around the city.

As for places to stay, you’d be hard pressed to find a more luxurious and unique experience than at the Museum Hotel or Ohtel, both located near the Oriental Bay waterfront. If you live in Wellington, or are planning on just visiting, I hope that this short guide proves useful! x

and just like that…

acne studios dion lee skirt charlotte olympia gemini flats
acne studios dion lee skirt charlotte olympia gemini flats
acne studios mape leather jacket dion lee skirt celine trio lavender
dion lee skirt celine lavender trio leather

Acne white slim t-shirt, Dion Lee skirt, Acne mape leather jacket, Charlotte Olympia ‘gemini’ flats, Celine trio (in blush or similar)

And just like that, I’m home. Holidays always seem to go by so quickly, and even more so when you’re having a lot of fun. I came home a little more exhausted than I left, although I suppose that’s to be expected when you try and cram in something for every waking minute of the day. Flying back to Sydney, I managed to realise the flaw in bringing four pairs of shoes, especially when leaving with six (shoes are my weakness, after all!), and a little too much of everything else, too. Most days, I chose to wore a varying combination of the outfit above, adding tights, a scarf, and a beanie where necessary – and here I thought I was travelling “light”.

I’m planning on doing a little evaluation of what I packed, in addition to a couple of travel-related posts, so if you’re interested in visiting the windy capital anytime in the near future, keep an eye out.

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