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Wellington
Travel Guide

Mount Victoria Lookout showing night scenes, a bay or harbor and mountains

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

Rydges Wellington
Rydges Wellington
4.5 out of 5
75 Featherston St, Wellington
The price is ¥12,239 per night from Jun 13 to Jun 13
Located in the heart of Wellington, this luxury hotel is steps from Old Government Buildings, Wellington Central Business District, and Wellington Waterfront. ...
4.2/5Excellent! (1,083 reviews)
"We liked the room and it’s kitchen facilities. The beds and pillows were very comfortable. The lobby and bar area were warm and comfortable. We liked the little complimentary nibbles they offered in the bar area. We thought the breakfast could have been better for those who may like more continental ..."

Reviewed on May 10, 2021

Rydges Wellington
James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor
James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor
4.5 out of 5
147 The Terrace, Wellington
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is ¥9,504 per night from May 16 to May 16
This family-friendly Wellington hotel is located near the airport, within a 15-minute walk of St Paul's Cathedral, Carter Observatory, and Te Papa (Museum of ...
4.2/5Excellent! (1,118 reviews)
"Central, lovely staff. Room was great. Needed 4 glasses and towels as there were 4 guests"

Reviewed on May 8, 2021

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor
Rydges Wellington Airport
Rydges Wellington Airport
4.5 out of 5
28 Stewart Duff Drive, Rongotai, Wellington
The price is ¥11,556 per night from Jun 13 to Jun 13
Situated near the beach, 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 ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (805 reviews)
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Reviewed on May 12, 2021

Rydges Wellington Airport
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Boulcott Suites
Boulcott Suites
5 out of 5
5 O'Reily Ave, Wellington
The price is ¥13,197 per night from May 30 to May 30
Located in Te Aro, this luxury apartment building is within a 10-minute walk of Wellington Central Business District, Cuba Street Mall, and Wellington Waterfront. ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (1,611 reviews)
"We loved our stay, very roomy and spacious. Bed was comfortable and location very quiet. Would highly recommend. Ended up staying an extra night which was no problem. Hubby would have liked a view was his only criticism."

Reviewed on May 8, 2021

Boulcott Suites
Gilmer Apartment Hotel
Gilmer Apartment Hotel
3.5 out of 5
10 Gilmer Terrace, Wellington
The price is ¥11,146 per night from May 16 to May 16
Located in Wellington CBD, this apartment building is steps from Lambton Quay and Wellington Central Business District. TSB Bank Arena and Wellington Waterfront ...
4.3/5Excellent! (948 reviews)
"Great facilities in the room. Handy to Lampton Quay. Very helpful reception staff."

Reviewed on Mar 20, 2021

Gilmer Apartment Hotel
Astelia Apartment Hotel
Astelia Apartment Hotel
4 out of 5
156 Willis Street, Te Aro, Wellington
The price is ¥11,487 per night from May 16 to May 16
Located in Te Aro, this aparthotel is within a 5-minute walk of Wellington Central Business District and Cuba Street Mall. Wellington Waterfront and TSB Bank ...
4.4/5Excellent! (1,357 reviews)
"It was clean and tidy. Walls a bit thin and fridge was noisy. But I loved having a mini kitchen. Would stay again."

Reviewed on Apr 25, 2021

Astelia Apartment Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Wellington

Top things to do in Wellington

Reviews of Wellington

4.5

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
177
5 - Excellent 63.44086021505376%
4 - Good
82
4 - Good 29.39068100358423%
3 - Okay
15
3 - Okay 5.376344086021505%
2 - Disappointing
1
2 - Disappointing 0.35842293906810035%
1 - Terrible
4
1 - Terrible 1.4336917562724014%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Mar 15, 2020

Te Papa Museum and its Gallipoli Exhibition are must sees.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Mar 6, 2020

really nice city and worth a 1.5 days visit

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Mar 6, 2020

We utilized the Uber scooters. These were a EXCELLENT way to see a lot of the city in a short period of time. We had 1 free day in Wellington and used them the entire day. Had we walked that, we would have been exhausted before dinner.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Feb 14, 2020

Very lively harbor area that has been revamped. Lots of music, bars, food.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jan 29, 2020

Liked the museums and cable car and gardens

5/5 - Excellent

Becca

Jan 22, 2020

Super city, especially in the sunshine.

Cities near Wellington