Windy and wonderful – New Zealand's dynamic capital city
Popularly known as Windy Wellington, New Zealand’s hilly, harbourside capital offers opportunities galore for outdoorsy fun, cultural kicks and all the great food and coffee you can consume. Tour movie locations, visit a wildlife sanctuary, take a day trip, learn about Māori culture... and prepare to be won over by Wellington.
Wellington is a thriving cultural hub, perfect for a weekend getaway. Most activities and sights are within easy reach, from the wonderful national museum Te Papa to the much-loved Cable Car, not to mention the bustling Wellington waterfront, perfect for people-watching. Cuba Street is renowned for its colourful vibe, quirky shops and sensational cafés; Hannahs Laneway is a foodie’s dream, while fans of craft beer will delight in the local breweries dotted around town.
Wellington’s ready for its close-up!
Things to do: Wellington
Explore Te Papa
Deepen your local knowledge at 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 Māori and Pasifika cultural treasures and the country’s extraordinary natural history, along with important works of art and scientific and historic collections. Don’t miss the spectacular views over Wellington Harbour from the striking marae, or meeting ground, on the top floor.
Wander down Cuba Street
Rub shoulders with hipsters, foodies and drag queens along the iconic Cuba Street, the epicentre of Wellington’s thriving café culture and home to some of the city’s best restaurants. Sip a flat white, browse the quirky record stores, vintage boutiques and local designers, or dance the night away on this vibrant strip in the heart of the city.
Ride the Wellington Cable Car
A Wellington must-do is riding the cable car all the way from Lambton Quay in the central city to the Kelburn lookout. It’s a short, five-minute ride through the hillside terraced houses of Kelburn, and the views from the top are absolutely spectacular. Dogs are welcome on board, too! Once you reach the top, you can take a wander through the Botanic Gardens, space out at the Carter Observatory or jump on the free shuttle to the Zealandia ecosanctuary.
Go bird-watching at Zealandia
Zealandia is an incredible urban ecosanctuary right in the heart of Wellington. With lush forest sprawling over 500 acres around a scenic reservoir, this revolutionary conservation project is home to some of the country’s rarest wildlife. Go exploring at your own pace or go with a guide and spot unique birds and reptiles. Take a tour after dark and see the glow worms and the oh-so-cute kiwi.
Discover famous film locations
Wellington is the site of some major movie magic. It’s where The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and King Kong were filmed for starters. Tour the city’s film location history opens in new window at moody places like Mount Victoria, Hutt River or Harcourt Park. For more of the special effects side of cinema, take a guided tour of the fascinating Wētā Workshop opens in new window and see where all those wild movie creatures, costumes and props are created.
Distance to city centre 8km
Bus The Airport Flyerexpress bus takes around 45 minutes to the city centre and costs NZD $12. Local Metlink 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 WellingtonBack to top
Metlink Wellington 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 smart card, available at newsagents and other retailers, you'll get a discount on buses and the cable car.Back to top