Windy and wonderful – New Zealand's dynamic capital city

Popularly known as the Windy City or Windy Wellington, the nation’s capital is a hilly harbour city with a fascinating mix of old and new architecture. Divided into four urban areas, Wellington’s surrounding suburbs border the horseshoe-shaped harbour fed by the Cook Strait, which separates the North and South Islands and is just 22km wide at its narrowest point.

Welly is where travellers can take a ferry south but it’s also where the nation’s politicians come to work, which means the place is flooded with civil servants of all persuasions. Home to the third-largest population of any New Zealand city, Wellington is a thriving business and cultural base for companies and people who love the ease of life here. Most activities and sights are within easy reach, making for a fun, easy-going break.

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Things to do: Wellington

  • Birds and the bees


    Ride the free shuttle from outside the cable-car museum at Kelburn lookout to Zealandia opens in new window, a 225ha eco-attraction that’s home to some of New Zealand’s rarest birds, reptiles and insects. It’s just 10 minutes from Wellington.

  • Film locations

    Step onto a movie location opens in new window by visiting Mount Victoria, Hutt River, Harcourt Park, Kaitoke Regional Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, Waitarere Forest or the Wairarapa Region, where many scenes from the The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies were filmed.

  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

    To deepen your local knowledge, visit the innovative, interactive Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Located on the waterfront near the city’s many bustling cafés and bars, it showcases Maori and Pacific cultural treasures and the country’s extraordinary natural life, with important works of art and scientific and historic collections.

  • Space Place at Carter Observatory

    Take the quick stroll from Kelburn lookout to Space Place at Carter Observatory and learn about the magic and science of Maori astronomy. As well as the historic Thomas Cooke telescope, you’ll find multimedia exhibits, interactive galleries and a digital, full-dome planetarium. 

  • Wellington Cable Car

    Ride the cable car from Lambton Quay in the CBD to the top entrance of the Botanic Garden and Kelburn lookout for spectacular views over Wellington.

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Airport information

Wellington International Airport opens in new window (WLG)

Distance to city centre 8km

Taxi A taxi opens in new window into central Wellington takes 15-25 minutes and costs NZD $30-40.

Shuttle SuperShuttle opens in new window transfers cost from NZD $15.

Bus The Airport Flyer opens in new windowexpress bus takes around 45 minutes to the city centre and costs NZD $12. Local Metlink opens in new window bus route 2 between Wellington and Seatoun stops at the corner of Broadway and Hobart Streets, a 10-minute walk from the airport.


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When to go

The summer season, from the end of the year up to around Easter, is the optimum time to make the most of Wellington outdoors, though temperatures rarely exceed 25°C. Thanks to proximity to the Tasman Sea and the South Pacific Ocean, winter can be very windy (obviously) and wet, with temperatures as low as 4°C, though the city caters well for warm indoor activities.

The biennial New Zealand Festival of the Arts rounds out the end of summer with nearly a month of dance, theatre, writers, musicians and all manner of other arty types. Taking place every even year since 1986, it is the jewel in the crown of the capital’s richly deserved cultural reputation.

Ready to go? Find cheap flights to Wellington

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Getting around

Metlink Wellington opens in new window is your one-stop shop for buses, trains and harbour ferries into, out of and around the city. There are five rail lines, over 80 bus routes and four harbour ferry stops. With a Snapper opens in new window smart card, available at newsagents and other retailers, you'll get a discount on buses and the cable car.

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