A Travel Guide to Wellington, New Zealand
Located almost central in the islands of New Zealand, Wellington is the country’s administrative capital lovingly nicknamed the “coolest little capital”. This North Island city is a hub for art, culture and cuisine, renowned for its creativity showcased in the movie studio scene to the array of museums. While most who road trip throughout New Zealand need to visit Wellington as a necessity, for its ferry terminal to get between the North Island and the South Island, it’s well worth spending a couple of days here at the very least. Whether you’re into wine, art, shopping, exploring natural landscapes, educating your kids, romantic getaways, treating yourself to fineries or exploring on a budget, there’s something for every type of traveller in Wellington. Let us guide you through it all with this complete travel guide to Wellington.
Fast Facts About Wellington
Location: Southernmost region of the North Island
Climate: Daily average temperature – 13°C/55.4°F, yearly average rainfall – 891mm/35.1″
Find out more in What is the Weather Like in New Zealand?
Time Zone: NZST / GMT+12/+13
Weather: Find out more in our guide, Wellington Weather & Climate: What is the Weather Like in Wellington?
How to get to Wellington: While Wellington has an international airport, most travellers arrive in Wellington by road from Auckland Airport or by road and ferry coming from Christchurch Airport. Find out more about flights to New Zealand in A Beginner’s Guide to Getting to New Zealand. Wellington has a vast public transport network as well as vehicle rentals. Find out more in Public Transport in Wellington and The Best Car Rental Companies in Wellington.
Wellington for Budget Travellers
Thanks to its array of free museums, art galleries, walkways and a myriad of inexpensive tours, Wellington is definitely a friendly city to those on a budget. Most of Wellington’s main attractions are either free or at least under NZ$30 so you don’t have to let go of your savings to enjoy your time here. Get inspired for a budget visit to Wellington with Wellington City – Guide for Backpackers, as well as information on the surrounding region in our Kapiti Coast – Guide for Backpackers, Wairarapa – Guide for Backpackers and Hutt Valley – Guide for Backpackers. Additionally, check out The Guide to Wellington on a Budget.
Things to Do in Wellington on a Budget
- Visit the Te Papa Museum
- Check out the views from Mt Victoria
- Take the Cable Car to the Botanic Garden
- People-watch and check out the art on the Wellington Waterfront
- See the seals on the Red Rocks Walkway
Find out more about each activity and much more in 22 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Wellington.
Where to Stay in Wellington on a Budget
Wellington is a city of budget hotels, motels, apartments and backpacker hostels, which makes it easy to enjoy an affordable stay. For our recommendations, see 10 Best Budget Accommodation in Wellington City, as well as 12 Best Backpacker Hostels in Wellington.
Wellington for Luxury Travellers
Wellington is well worth adding to the itinerary for a luxury getaway to New Zealand. The capital city has a good selection of premium experiences, from helicopter tours to exclusive movie studio tours, as well as city comforts for the luxury traveller, like fine dining and designer shopping. Let us guide you through the ins and outs of luxury travel in Wellington with The Luxury Guide to Wellington.
Luxurious Things to Do in Wellington
- See Wellington from a helicopter tour
- Play at one of Wellington’s prestigious golf courses
- Explore Wellington’s designer boutiques
- Join a wine tour of the Wairarapa wine region
- Try fine whisky at the city’s reputable whisky bars
Find out more about each experience and much more in 10 Luxury Activities in Wellington.
Where to Stay in Wellington
Some of the world’s biggest names in hotels have an address in New Zealand’s capital. Check out where to stay in our 10 Best Luxury Accommodation in Wellington.
Wellington for Families
Wellington is, for sure, a family-friendly city. New Zealand’s capital gives plenty of opportunities to learn thanks to its selection of interactive museums, as well as get outside in the parks, gardens and beaches. See what you and the kids could be getting up to, by checking out The Guide to Wellington for Families.
Things to Do in Wellington with Kids
- See New Zealand birds at Zealandia
- Get active on the high-wire course at Adrenalin Forest
- Spend the day at Wellington’s beaches
- Learn about the night’s sky at Space Place
- Meet the animals and birds at Staglands Wildlife Reserve
Find out more about each activity for families in 10 Things to Do in Wellington with Kids.
Where to Stay in Wellington with Kids
From upmarket hotel to budget lodges, there’s a range of family rooms found across Wellington. Check out some of our top recommendations in 10 Best Family Accommodation in Wellington.
Wellington for Couples
Whether you’re on a honeymoon exploring New Zealand or just seeking a getaway to the big city, Wellington can make a fantastic couples’ getaway. Rain or shine, there’s a whole range of all-weather activities, from thought-provoking art galleries to quirky board game cafes. A trip to Wellington means being interactive together, learning something new and amping up your date nights. Find out more in The Honeymoon Guide to Wellington.
Things to Do in Wellington for Couples
- Walk hand-in-hand through the city’s Botanic Garden
- Learn something new together at the museums
- Be whisked away in the romantic helicopter tour with bubbles
- Challenge each other at the board game cafe or bowling alley
- Treat her to dinner at one of Wellington’s fine dining establishments
Find out more about each experience for couples, as well as a few extras, in 10 Romantic Activities in Wellington for Couples.
Where to Stay in Wellington
A romantic getaway to Wellington means staying in luxurious hotels or well-appointed budget hotel rooms perfect for couples. See some of our top recommended accommodation for couples in the 10 Best Romantic Accommodation in Wellington.
Wellington for Foodies
There’s no doubt about it: people who travel for food have to have Wellington on the itinerary! The city is the host of one of New Zealand’s largest food events, Wellington on a Plate, which means that the local artisans and restaurants are always coming up with new and creative culinary experiences. From hotels with amazing restaurants to artisanal factory tours, there’s so much to do for the foodie in Wellington. Learn more in The Foodie Guide to Wellington.
Things to Do in Wellington for Foodies
- Join Zest Food Tours for a foodie walking tour of the city
- Check out the craft beer breweries and brewbars
- Browse Wellington’s farmers’ markets
- Do a tour of the Wellington Chocolate Factory
- Taste the local street eats
Find out more about each experience for foodies, as well as a few others, in 9 Things to Do in Wellington for Foodies.
Where to Stay in Wellington
Whether you’re someone who likes to stay in hotels with fantastic restaurants or prefer to cook your own meals with the local produce in self-catering accommodation, we list of a range of accommodation options in 10 Best Accommodation in Wellington for Foodies.