5/5 - Excellent
Verified travelerDec 4, 2019
Easy to get around
New Zealand’s capital city relishes the good life with its natural beauty, arts, culture and thriving movie industry.
Wellington is the planet’s southernmost capital city. It lies on the shores of a large harbor and is surrounded by wooded hills.
According to Māori legend the explorer Kupe discovered Wellington Harbor in A.D. 925. The first European settlers arrived in 1840 and named the settlement after the first Duke of Wellington. It became New Zealand’s capital city in 1865.
For many years Wellington was off the tourist radar. Overshadowed by Auckland, the city served merely as a gateway for those taking a ferry to South Island. But that has changed and Wellington has been called the "coolest little capital in the world." This reputation comes from, among other things, the city’s diverse arts and cultural activities, and its global reputation as a movie-making powerhouse. Sometimes referred to as “Wellywood,” Wellington’s multimillion-dollar sound stages, studios and special effects houses have attracted big-budget movies such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Avatar.
Get acquainted with the city at the waterfront area where there are a number of star attractions, including Te Papa. This is New Zealand’s national museum and an excellent introduction to Wellington and the country. Nearby is the Museum of Wellington City and Sea, which covers the city’s development and maritime traditions.
Wellington benefits from having both the ocean and the countryside on its doorstep. Go on walking trails in the hills or take it easy at Oriental Bay Beach, the closest beach to the city.
One of the city’s oldest and most popular attractions is the Wellington Cable Car. Hop aboard a car for the eight-minute ride up the hill to Wellington Botanic Garden and the lookout at Kelburn. From there, take a free shuttle bus to Zealandia. This unique conservation project is trying to restore parts of the countryside to its pre-human state.
When it comes to nightlife Wellington has a plenty of restaurants, cafés, theaters and nightclubs. Being a compact city, many places are within an easy walking distance of each other.
A noteworthy feature of Te Aro is its popular shops. While you're in town, be sure to stop and check out Cuba Street Mall and Courtenay Place.
If you're spending some time in Oriental Bay, Oriental Parade and Embassy Theatre are top sights worth seeing.
Restaurants and shopping are some things travelers note about Aro Valley. Check out Cuba Street Mall or Carter Observatory while you're familiarizing yourself with the larger area.
While visiting Thorndon, you might make a stop by sights like St Paul's Cathedral and Lambton Quay.
Travelers like the beaches in Houghton Bay, and Princess Bay is a top attraction you might want to visit.
While Korokoro might not have many sights to explore, venturing just a little farther will lead you to top things to see and do like Petone Foreshore and Dowse Art Museum.
Reviewed on Dec 8, 2019
Reviewed on Dec 5, 2019
See, smell and touch the exhibits at New Zealand’s hi-tech and interactive free national museum.
Shop, wine and dine in this culinary hot spot on one of Wellington's most fashionable streets.
Enjoy artisan coffees, sample specialty foods, browse through vintage shops or hunt for retro bargains in Wellington's bohemian heart.
Spend some quality time with big cats, giraffes, red pandas and white-cheeked gibbons at New Zealand’s oldest zoo.
Go on a free guided tour of the seat of New Zealand’s power, the beehive-shaped building that houses the New Zealand Parliament's Executive wing.
Stroll along a scenic walkway through a pretty Wellington Town Belt reserve to this lookout for spectacular panoramic views of the city.
Get acquainted with New Zealand's second largest city, the world's most southerly capital. Take in spectacular views of this city surrounded by water—its iconic architectural landmarks as well as its scenic coast—from the most stunning vantage points.
A great guided tour and Wellington’s 10 best hop-off stops Hop on board one of our minibuses and traverse Wellington’s winding streets on our intimate and informative 90min guided Tour.
Enter the exciting world of filmmaking with this immersive, behind-the-scenes look at New Zealand's Weta Workshop. You’ll enjoy return transfers from Wellington i-SITE to Weta Studio Tours, where you’ll explore the Weta Cave Workshop Tour.
Lord of the Rings fans unite on this tour of the sprawling New Zealand countryside, where the majority of the famous movie series was filmed. Visit locations you remember from the movies, explore the stunning natural environment, and learn secrets of how the films' epic scenes came to be.
Enter the world of Weta Workshop with There and Back Again: The Full Experience, a guided round trip by Weta Studio Tours! You’ll enjoy return transfers from Wellington i-SITE to Weta Studio Tours, where you’ll explore the Weta Cave Workshop Tour and the Miniatures Stage Tour: Thunderbirds Are Go.
Cable Car tickets can be purchased online prior to arrival or at the Ticket Office at arrival. Tickets are valid for 6 months after purchase. We recommend purchasing your tickets online to avoid any potential queues, especially during summer in Wellington.
Verified travelerOct 30, 2019
If going to Wellington be sure to drive around to see all of the bays as they are all different. Also be sure to visit Te PaPa. It's amazing.