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Our Wellington travel tips:

  • Wellington region Wellington is famous - at least in New Zealand - for its cultural life, the steep hillsides filled with wooden houses and bush background, the urban downtown feeling, lots of museums and cafes with pretty much the best coffee in the country
  • If you only have time for one thing, then visit the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa, on the Wellington waterfront
  • Get up to the Mountain Victoria lookout for an orientation
  • Check out the Beehive and Parliament House with a free parliament tour
  • 'Windy Wellington' is exposed to the wild weather of the Cook Strait - pack a warm jacket

A capital place for culture

Wellington is New Zealand’s capital city, and it’s also known as our arts and culture capital. A special blend of heritage buildings, museums and galleries, fine food and live entertainment opportunities make this city a great place to visit in any season.

Immerse yourself in sophisticated Wellington this spring and enjoy its array of cafés, bars, shops and galleries. Experience the delights of this beautiful harbour city and its neighbouring wine regions.

Part of Wellington’s charm is its close proximity to nature. The central city is nestled between a beautiful harbour and forested hills. Wildlife sanctuaries, islands, seaside villages, ocean beaches and regional parks provide huge scope for outdoor fun.

Wellington tips - waterfront houses - New Zealand travel tipsMany visitors choose to base themselves in the vibrant inner city, where it’s easy to walk to boutique shops, art galleries, trendy cafés and restaurants. Dominating the spectacular waterfront is Te Papa Tongrewa - the interactive, innovative museum that’s one of New Zealand’s key cultural attractions. At night, the city stays up late to enjoy live theatre, music and dance performances.

Wellingtonians love their city, and we’re sure you will too. Allow at least a couple of days here to get an insight into New Zealand’s history, contemporary culture and creativity.

Wellington's geography has created a compact city, ideal for travellers. The central city, only 2 kilometres wide, is nestled between the harbour and the hills. Wild, untouched landscapes can be found within minutes of your city hotel.

Downtown Wellington is divided into four distinct quarters, making it easy for visitors to experience the different personalities of the city. The fashions, flavours and faces change with every quarter.

See here for hotels in the Wellington region.

Source: Tourism New Zealand

Highlights of the Wellington region

  • Wellington tips - Wellington tips - Parliament - New Zealand travel tips- New Zealand travel tipsWellington: Downtown Wellington is not far from the ferry terminals and the railway station, practically on your way to the South Island. In between the station and downtown is the seat of the New Zealand government, especially interesting is the hourly free tour of parliament (bring a passport). The old building opposite (named the 'Government Buildings Historic Reserve', currently houses a law school) is listed among the biggest wooden buildings in the world. From here you can continue either between the high rise buildings of modern Wellington or continue along the waterfront with its numerous historic and artistic attractions, bars and restaurants. The Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa) is also on the waterfront, a great place to prepare or round off your trip. Further on is Oriental Bay, the prettiest beach in town. Not far from Te Papa is Cuba Street with its subculture shops, quirky cafes and top restaurants. Another interesting spot near the waterfront is Civic Square, with the old Town Hall and modern library, and plenty of cool artworks.
  • Short excursions from Wellington: Zealandia is a wildlife reserve enclosed by a predator proof fence, not far from the centre of Wellington, where you can experience Takahe, Kaka, Tui and Bellbirds, Tuatara etc. you may not have seen during your travel. The Weta Cave is a must for Hobbit fans, the studio shop in the Miramar neighbourhood, where you may spot a Hollywood star or Peter Jackson himself. The Botanical Gardens can be reached by cable car from Lambton Quay, famous for their tulips in early October. Otari-Wiltons Bush is another botanical garden in the Wilton suburb. The City Marine Drive takes you along the waterfront, with all the wonderful bays and neighborhoods past Wellington Airport, like Seatoun, Breaker Bay (where penguins come ashore in the evenings) to Owhiro Bay with its seal colony. Petone village in Lower Hutt has a settlers museum and lots of speciality shops in a heritage area on the harbour shore.
  • Wellington tips - Titahi Bay - New Zealand travel tips- New Zealand travel tipsPorirua: An important place for Maori and within a short commuting distance from Wellington, Porirua is set on an inlet with neighborhoods all around the harbour and hills. Te Pataka Museum & Art Gallery is a modern and free exhibition space. If you have time, then continue to Titahi Bay, a halfmoon shaped beach with colourful boat sheds and wild cliffs with viewpoints around the headlands. From here you can return to Wellington via the Hutt Valley, the drive along the inlet is very scenic.
  • Kapiti Coast: After Porirua the landscape opens up to a nice coast behind the ranges, you'll find lovely spots like Paekakariki and Waikanae, all opposite Kapiti Island with its rich wildlife and Maori history. Paraparaumu is a popular commuter town, where the locals take advantage of a much milder climate than in Wellington.

The best Wellington walks

  • Otari Native Botanic Garden and Wilton's Bush Reserve - a range of walking tracks from the Treehouse Visitor Centre, Wilton Road, Wilton, Wellington
  • Wellington tips - Coffee Capital - Parliament - New Zealand travel tips- New Zealand travel tipsKaitoke Regional Park - a range of walking tracks and suspension bridges, for example the Rivendell film location (15 min return), access via Waterworks Road, 12 kms north of Upper Hutt
  • Skyline Walkway - 12 km ridge walk between Old Coach Road and Makara Saddle (5 h), Wellington
  • Mount Victoria Loop (2,5 h return), Charles Plimmer Park, Wellington
  • Rimutaka Forest Park - many walking options, for example the popular Orongorongo Track (4 h return), Catchpool Valley, 12 kms south of Wainuiomata
  • Matiu/Somes Island Loop Track - walk around the island (40 min), ferries from Queens Wharf, Wellington
  • A range of City Heritage Trails, maps from local i-ISITEs or the Wellington Council

The best Wellington lookouts

  • Wellington tips - Coffee Capital - Oriental Bay - New Zealand travel tips- New Zealand travel tipsTe Ahumairangi Hill Lookout, Orangi Kaupapa Road, Wellington
  • Mount Victoria Lookout
  • Brooklyn Wind Turbine, via Ashton Fitchett Drive, Wellington
  • Massey Memorial on the Miramar Peninsula, Massey Road, Wellington
  • Mount Kaukau Summit - highest point above Wellington Harbour (2 h return), from Khandallah Reserve or Simla Crescent
  • Wrights Hill Fortress - above Karori, Wrights Hill Road, Wellington
  • Titahi Bay Lookout, end of Terrace Road, Titahi Bay

The best Wellington museums

  • Museum of New Zealand - Te Papa Tongarewa, Cable Street, Wellington
  • Museum of Wellington City & Sea, Queens Wharf, Wellington
  • New Zealand Police Museum, Papakowhai Road, Porirua
  • New Zealand Cricket Museum, Basin Reserve, Wellington
  • Petone Settlers Museum - Te Whare Whakaaro o Pito-One, The Esplanade, Petone
  • City Gallery Wellington, Wakefield Street, Wellington
  • Te Pataka Museum & Art Gallery, Parumoana Street, Porirua
  • Dowse Art Museum, Laings Road, Lower Hutt
  • The National Tattoo Museum of New Zealand, Vivian Street, Wellington
  • Archives New Zealand, Mulgrave Street, Wellington
  • National Library of New Zealand - Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, Molesworth Street, Wellington
  • Wellington Cable Car Museum, Upland Road, Wellington
  • Wellington Tramway Museum, Whareroa Road, Queen Elizabeth Park, Paekakariki
  • The Reserve Bank Of New Zealand Museum, The Terrace, Wellington
  • Carter Observatory - with a planetarium, Salamanca Road, Wellington Botanic Gardens in Kelburn

Map of the Wellington region

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