The Top Places to Visit Near Wellington
Seen it all in Wellington? It’s time to leave the capital and explore its surroundings on one of the amazing day trips from Wellington. Discover island sanctuaries where birds thrive, escape to the beaches of the Kapiti Coast, or delve into the forests around the Hutt Valley. Plan your day trip with this guide, which also includes some day tours from Wellington should you not have access to a vehicle.
For more trip-planning wisdom, head to The Complete Guide to Wellington, as well as 10 Non-Touristy Things to Do in Wellington. Plus, find a place to stay in The 50 Best Accommodations in Wellington.
5 Best Day Tours from Wellington
Before diving into the day trips from Wellington, here are some day tours from Wellington so you can ditch the car.
Guided Day Tours from Wellington
- Martinborough Wine and Wild Coast Tour with Zozo Travel (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Remutaka Rail Trail Cycle Tour with Cycle Remutaka (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Wellington & Hutt Valley Half Day Tour with Talk of the Town Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- The Lord of the Rings Locations Tour with Rover Rings Tours (on Klook, Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Seal Coast Safari with Wellington Seal Coast Safari.
The Best Day Trip from Wellington for Foodies
Travel time by car: 1h10mins to 2h10mins one-way
Relevant tour: Martinborough Wine and Wild Coast Tour with Zozo Travel (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Venture into the wine region of the Wairarapa for some winery-hopping fun. If you’d rather stretch your legs, however, make it an extended journey down to Cape Palliser to walk the ungodly amount of steps up to the Cape Palliser Lighthouse or marvel at the otherworldly rock formations of the Putangirua Pinnacles.
For more activities to add to your day trip itinerary, see the 10 Damn Good Things to Do in Wairarapa.
The Best Day Trip from Wellington for Couples
Travel time by car: 30 minutes one-way
Relevant tour: The Lord of the Rings Locations Tour with Rover Rings Tours (more info on Klook, Viator and Tripadvisor).
Venture north to Upper Hutt which has a real mix of experiences between Lord of the Rings filming locations, the Remutaka Cycle Trail, Staglands Wildlife Reserve (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) and much more. You’ll also find all of your city conveniences in the main town, including charming eateries.
For more ideas on what to do, check out the 11 Excellent Things to Do in the Hutt Valley.
The Best Day Trip from Wellington for Luxury Travellers
Travel time by car: 45 minutes one-way
Relevant tour: Kapiti Coast and Foxton Beaches Day Tour with New Zealand Photo Safari (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Hit the road to the Kapiti Coast for a day of beach fun, vintage cars or island exploration. Join one of the tours to the bird sanctuary of Kapiti Island (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook). There’s also the Southward Car Museum – a must for any petrolhead. Alternatively, stretch your legs on Paraparaumu Beach or Queen Elizabeth Park.
Plan more of your day trip using the 8 Excellent Things to Do in Paraparaumu, 5 Best Things to Do in Paekakariki and 8 Best Things to Do in Waikanae.
Remutaka Forest Park
The Best Day Trip from Wellington for Budget Travellers
Travel time by car: 40 minutes one-way
Swap the city for nature by hitting the hiking trails of the Remutaka Forest Park. Delve into the forest and hike the hills of the Remutaka Ranges, where a popular access to the walking trails is via the Catchpool Valley. The Five Mile Loop Track is an easy option, while the Orongorongo Track takes you to a glorious swimming hole at the end of a two-hour walk.
Find out more about the walking trails of the Remutaka Forest Park on the Department of Conservation website.
Matiu Somes Island
The Best Day Trip from Wellington for Families
Travel time by ferry: 25 minutes one-way
Take the East by West ferry from Queen’s Wharf in Wellington city centre to Matiu Somes Island. The island has an intriguing history of being an internment camp during World War Two, an animal quarantine centre and a Maori pa site. Some of the buildings from its past remain, while today, the island is a wildlife sanctuary for tuatara, weta and native birds including penguins.
For more places to visit around Wellington, check out the 20 Incredible Things to Do in Wellington.
More About Wellington Day Trips
That’s it for the best day trips from Wellington. For more day trips, you might like to hit the following destinations: