Voted the “coolest little capital city” in the world by Lonely Planet, Wellington certainly packs a punch. It’s also the artistic and cultural capital of New Zealand, making it a must-visit on any trip.

A relatively small and compact city, Wellington is surrounded by hills and has one of the most beautiful harbours in the world. Easy to explore on foot, it won’t take you long to get your bearings, and when you’re ready for a rest we recommend heading to Lambton Quay to find the Wellington Cable Car that travels up and down the hill to Kelburn for lovely city views and easy access to the Botanic Gardens and Carter Observatory.

Don’t Miss

  • A walk along the waterfront to Oriental Bay
  • A walk down Cuba street, where you’ll find some of the city’s most colourful shops and cafes, and a cocktail at the Matterhorn
  • Enjoying the 360 degree views from the top of Mount Victoria
  • A visit to Te Papa

Where is Wellington?

Wellington is located at the southernmost tip of the north island. If you’re going between the south and the north island then you should absolutely factor in a few days to explore New Zealand’s capital city.

Why Visit Wellington?

Wellington was recently voted the “coolest little capital city in the world” by Lonely Planet and is renowned for its arts, heritage, culture and native beauty. If that doesn’t sound like a good reason to visit, then we don’t know what is!

Foodies will adore Wellington with its rich drinking and dining scene which boasts more restaurants, cafes, and drinking establishments per capita than New York.

Those interested in history and culture will relish time spent in New Zealand’s National Museum; Te Papa, whilst film and theatre buffs will love exploring the Weta film workshops and Weta caves on a studio tour. Adventure-seekers can get their fill too, with beautiful bays and beaches no more than fifteen minutes away at all times and spectacular walking tracks and viewpoints every where you turn.

How to Get to Wellington

Getting to Wellington couldn’t be easier.

From the south island it’s just a short hop on the ferry across the Cook straight from Picton. There are two ferry companies which run between Picton and Wellington; the Interislander, and the Bluebridge. The Interislander has a cruising time of around three hours and runs back and forth up to nineteen times a day whilst the Bluebridge runs three times a day with a cruising time of just over three and a half hours.

The Wellington rail station is right next to the ferry port, making onward travel easy. It’ll take you just shy of 11 hours to get from Wellington to Auckland on the Northern Explorer Train, so many choose to break their trip up with a stop at the skifields of Mount Ruapehu, Hamilton (where it’s just a short journey to The Shire and the Hobbiton Movie Set), or Palmerston North.

For those driving; the north island is your oyster. Whether you choose to explore Rotorua, pay a visit to the Bay of Plenty, or set off on an adventure around the Tongariro National Park, there’s plenty to see and do .

If you want to meet new people, explore the real New Zealand, and not have to worry about organising transport then our small group tours might be just what you’re looking for. Sit back and relax as our guides and drivers take you on a tour of the country. Whether it’s for a week, or a month; north, south, or both, you’re in safe hands and good company.

Ready to visit Wellington? Get in touch!
Shot of the Wellington Cable Car looking out from the top

Insider Tips

Philip Louie is Tours Manager at Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Museum. He enjoys sharing the less seen secrets of Te Papa with visitors.

“If you really want to get an insight into the country’s early history, then book onto one of our Behind the Scenes Cultural Tours. On these tours, our Keepers provide exclusive access to some of the Museum’s rare treasures and the stories behind them.”

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