WellingtonNew Zealand

Image for Weta Workshop which includes interior views and a statue or sculpture

Visit Wellington

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.

Wellington Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Wellington

Te Aro
Courtenay Place featuring a bar and interior views as well as a small group of people

Te Aro

Known for Friendly People, Theaters, Walking

4.5/5(134 reviews)

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.

Oriental Bay
Oriental Bay Beach which includes a small town or village and a house

Oriental Bay

4.5/5(14 reviews)

If you're spending some time in Oriental Bay, Oriental Parade and Embassy Theatre are top sights worth seeing.

Aro Valley
Wellington showing heritage architecture and street scenes

Aro Valley

Known for Friendly People, Walking, Dining

3.5/5(10 reviews)

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.

Thorndon
St Paul\'s Cathedral which includes a church or cathedral, religious aspects and heritage architecture

Thorndon

4.5/5(8 reviews)

While visiting Thorndon, you might make a stop by sights like St Paul's Cathedral and Lambton Quay.

Houghton Bay
Sunrise looking out over the south coast, on The Esplanade, Island Bay.
trover photo by Genevieve Lacombe

Houghton Bay

Known for Beaches

Travelers like the beaches in Houghton Bay, and Princess Bay is a top attraction you might want to visit.

Korokoro
Korokoro Waterfall
trover photo by Paul Billaney

Korokoro

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.

Top Hotels in Wellington

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Rydges Wellington Airport
Rydges Wellington Airport
4 out of 5
28 Stewart Duff Drive, Rongotai, Wellington
¥8,375
per night
Jan 5 - Jan 6

Situated in Wellington, this luxury hotel is 2 mi (3.3 km) from The Weta Cave and 2.4 mi (3.9 km) from Wellington Zoo. Mount Victoria Lookout and Courtenay Place ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (388 reviews)

"Convenient, quiet, comfortable and clean. Price is good when you consider extra 40mins sleep in and no taxi fair."…"

Reviewed on Dec 8, 2019

Rydges Wellington Airport
Oaks Wellington Hotel
Oaks Wellington Hotel
4 out of 5
89 Courtenay Place, Te Aro, Wellington, Wellington
¥9,585
per night
Jan 4 - Jan 5

Located in Te Aro, this aparthotel is within a 5-minute walk of Courtenay Place, Cuba Street Mall, and Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand). Michael Fowler Centre ...

4.3/5Excellent! (28 reviews)

"I loved the room space, as it was just a couple the to size was perfect. Quite romantic too but one thing I didn't like was that we had to use air-conditioning, it would have been nice to have open windows but they were sealed probably due to how old they were or are cracking. Overall it was a perfect ..."…"

Reviewed on Dec 5, 2019

Oaks Wellington Hotel
Rydges Wellington
Rydges Wellington
4.5 out of 5
75 Featherston St, Wellington
¥11,092
per night
Dec 15 - Dec 16

Located in the heart of Wellington, this luxury hotel is steps from Old Government Buildings, Wellington Central Business District, and Wellington Waterfront. ...

4.4/5Excellent! (2,526 reviews)

"The staff were great, always helpful. The location was perfect and the room was spacious."…"

Reviewed on Dec 6, 2019

Rydges Wellington

Popular things to do in Wellington

Te Papa
Image for Te Papa

Te Papa

5/5(147 reviews)

See, smell and touch the exhibits at New Zealand’s hi-tech and interactive free national museum.

Courtenay Place
Image for Courtenay Place

Courtenay Place

4/5(57 reviews)

Shop, wine and dine in this culinary hot spot on one of Wellington's most fashionable streets.

Cuba Street Mall
Image for Cuba Street Mall

Cuba Street Mall

4/5(116 reviews)

Enjoy artisan coffees, sample specialty foods, browse through vintage shops or hunt for retro bargains in Wellington's bohemian heart.

Wellington Zoo
Image for Wellington Zoo

Wellington Zoo

4.5/5(14 reviews)

Spend some quality time with big cats, giraffes, red pandas and white-cheeked gibbons at New Zealand’s oldest zoo.

Beehive
Image for Beehive

Beehive

4/5(43 reviews)

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.

Mount Victoria Lookout
Image for Mount Victoria Lookout

Mount Victoria Lookout

4.5/5(61 reviews)

Stroll along a scenic walkway through a pretty Wellington Town Belt reserve to this lookout for spectacular panoramic views of the city.

Top activities in Wellington

Wellington City Sights & Coastline Tour
Image for Wellington City Sights & Coastline Tour

Wellington City Sights & Coastline Tour

¥4,118

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.

Wellington Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass
Image for Wellington Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass

Wellington Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass

¥3,141

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.

Weta Cave Workshop Tour: There & Back Again
Image for Weta Cave Workshop Tour: There & Back Again

Weta Cave Workshop Tour: There & Back Again

¥4,746

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 Tour
Image for Lord of the Rings Tour

Lord of the Rings Tour

¥7,677

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.

The Full Experience: Weta Workshop There and Back Again
Image for The Full Experience: Weta Workshop There and Back Again

The Full Experience: Weta Workshop There and Back Again

¥6,142

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.

Wellington Cable Car Journey
Image for Wellington Cable Car Journey

Wellington Cable Car Journey

¥355

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.

Reviews of Wellington

4.5

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
145
5 - Excellent 60.416666666666664%
4 - Good
76
4 - Good 31.666666666666668%
3 - Okay
15
3 - Okay 6.25%
2 - Disappointing
1
2 - Disappointing 0.4166666666666667%
1 - Terrible
3
1 - Terrible 1.25%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Dec 4, 2019

Easy to get around

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Dec 1, 2019

Wellington is not worthwhile as a destination, but if you’re here for logistics (eg take the ferry) then the national museum and Weta Cave can be worthwhile.

1/5 - Terrible

Verified traveler

Nov 29, 2019

Very windy which made our descent into Wellington uncomfortable for half an hour

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Nov 27, 2019

We didn’t have great weather when we were there. I would like to visit again and experience the city with better weather.

2/5 - Disappointing

Zina

Nov 7, 2019

Too many unfriendly people...no one smiles here.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Oct 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.

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