News | 10 November 2023
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Friday Five: Explore Aro Valley

Hidden in the hills of Pōneke lies Aro Valley, a suburb filled with rich history. In fact, Aro Street used to have a tram line that linked it to the railway station, which operated until the 1950s!

Now, the suburb is full of quirky homes and colourful art, and there’s so much to check out. Here are five things to do.

A cafe on the side of the road with brown doors and a sign above it reading 'Aro Cafe'.
Image from Aro Cafe.

1. Treat yourself to a coffee and a baked good 

Aro Cafe is the perfect place to stop for a quick coffee (their own house-roasted), or climb into some buttermilk waffles. Located in the heart of Aro Valley, it is the perfect spot to read your book or watch the world go by.  

Aro Street is also home to one of the most iconic bakeries in Wellington – Arobake. This bakery has been operating since 1989 and has been stocking up well-known Wellington hotspots, like Moore Wilson’s. Grab yourself a baked good and a coffee the next time you’re passing through – it’s too good to skip!  

2. Go bush 

Aro Street is one of the main entrances for the Waimapihi Reserve Loop – a 7.3 kilometre walk with views of the harbour and native birds. It takes you through the bush and along the Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne fence line. 

If you’re looking to head out for a mountain bike ride, you can also head up Aro Street until you see the entrance to the Polhill Reserve, where you can take the trail called ‘Transient’ at the back of the grassy clearing. With a new cycleway connection finishing next year, this area will be even easier to get to. 

Perfume on a shelf.
Image from WellingtonNZ.

3. Shop sustainably 

With a focus on the environment, Verdant is a great place to shop for natural, healthy and sustainable homewares, using local and easily renewable materials.  

Aro Valley is also home to the chic perfumery, Abel Odor. Hidden down a lane on Aro Street, you can often catch owner Frances Shoemack brewing up batches of ethical and natural perfume.  

There is also the much-loved St Vinnie’s where you can pick up a sustainable bargain.  

4. See what the community has on offer 

At the core of Aro Valley is the community centre, a place for locals to drop in and take part in a variety of activities. Open to all, the community centre has a range of classes such as Chair Dance Yoga, Tai Chi, Knit and Stitch, and a Tango Collective. Check out the timetable here

Food on a table next to a wine glasses and a bottle of wine.
Image from WellingtonNZ.

5. Indulge in good food and drinks 

This suburb has some of the top food and drinks on offer – a foodie’s dream! Make a booking at Rita, a 30-seater restaurant inside a 100-year-old cottage where you can go for a three-course meal. Better yet, you never know what to expect as the menus are planned each day – it makes for a great culinary experience!   

Not many people are aware that Garage Project is also based in Aro Valley, and you can visit their cellar door to try freshly crafted beer. With eight beers on tap, you can try it out on-site or pick up some cans for home.  

Watch out each Friday for a fun list of five great activities to do, places to explore, or things to discover in our great city.