WellingtonNew Zealand

Image for Weta Workshop which includes interior views and a statue or sculpture

New Zealand’s capital city relishes the good life with its natural beauty, arts, culture and thriving movie industry.

Wellington is the planet’s southernmost capital city. It lies on the shores of a large harbor and is surrounded by wooded hills.

According to Māori legend the explorer Kupe discovered Wellington Harbor in A.D. 925. The first European settlers arrived in 1840 and named the settlement after the first Duke of Wellington. It became New Zealand’s capital city in 1865.

For many years Wellington was off the tourist radar. Overshadowed by Auckland, the city served merely as a gateway for those taking a ferry to South Island. But that has changed and Wellington has been called the "coolest little capital in the world." This reputation comes from, among other things, the city’s diverse arts and cultural activities, and its global reputation as a movie-making powerhouse. Sometimes referred to as “Wellywood,” Wellington’s multimillion-dollar sound stages, studios and special effects houses have attracted big-budget movies such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Avatar.

Get acquainted with the city at the waterfront area where there are a number of star attractions, including Te Papa. This is New Zealand’s national museum and an excellent introduction to Wellington and the country. Nearby is the Museum of Wellington City and Sea, which covers the city’s development and maritime traditions.

Wellington benefits from having both the ocean and the countryside on its doorstep. Go on walking trails in the hills or take it easy at Oriental Bay Beach, the closest beach to the city.

One of the city’s oldest and most popular attractions is the Wellington Cable Car. Hop aboard a car for the eight-minute ride up the hill to Wellington Botanic Garden and the lookout at Kelburn. From there, take a free shuttle bus to Zealandia. This unique conservation project is trying to restore parts of the countryside to its pre-human state.

When it comes to nightlife Wellington has a plenty of restaurants, cafés, theaters and nightclubs. Being a compact city, many places are within an easy walking distance of each other.

Wellington Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Wellington

Courtenay Place featuring a bar and interior views as well as a small group of people

Te Aro

4.5/5Wonderful!(142 area reviews)

Travelers to Te Aro praise its popular shops. If you've got some more time to explore, be sure to make a stop by Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand) and Cuba Street Mall.

Te Aro
Wellington showing heritage architecture and street scenes

Aro Valley

3.5/5Good!(10 area reviews)

If you're spending time in Aro Valley, you might enjoy its restaurants and shopping. If you've got time to venture a little farther, you can make a stop by Cuba Street Mall or Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand).

Aro Valley
Oriental Bay Beach which includes a small town or village and a house

Oriental Bay

4.5/5Wonderful!(18 area reviews)

If you're spending some time in Oriental Bay, Oriental Parade and Embassy Theatre are top sights worth seeing.

Oriental Bay
St Paul\'s Cathedral which includes a church or cathedral, religious aspects and heritage architecture

Thorndon

4.5/5Wonderful!(8 area reviews)

While visiting Thorndon, you might make a stop by sights like Lambton Quay and Katherine Mansfield Birthplace.

Thorndon
Sunrise looking out over the south coast, on The Esplanade, Island Bay.
trover photo by Genevieve Lacombe

Houghton Bay

Travelers like the beaches in Houghton Bay, and Princess Bay is a top attraction you might want to visit.

Houghton Bay
Korokoro Waterfall
trover photo by Paul Billaney

Korokoro

Korokoro might not have many top sights, but Petone Foreshore and Dowse Art Museum are two attractions nearby that you can check out.

Korokoro

Top Hotels in Wellington

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Oaks Wellington Hotel
Oaks Wellington Hotel
4 out of 5
89 Courtenay Place, Te Aro, Wellington, Wellington
NT$2,517
per night
Mar 22 - Mar 23

Located in Te Aro, this aparthotel is within a 5-minute walk of Courtenay Place, Cuba Street Mall, and Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand). Michael Fowler Centre ...

4.3/5Excellent! (77 reviews)

"Clean rooms. In the middle of the city. Easy walk to Te papa. Comfy bed"…"

Reviewed on 2020/2/11

Oaks Wellington Hotel
Rydges Wellington Airport
Rydges Wellington Airport
4 out of 5
28 Stewart Duff Drive, Rongotai, Wellington
NT$2,684
per night
Mar 1 - Mar 2

Situated in Wellington, this luxury hotel is 2 mi (3.3 km) from The Weta Cave and 2.4 mi (3.9 km) from Wellington Zoo. Mount Victoria Lookout and Courtenay Place ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (504 reviews)

"so easy to get to when already at the airport. every airport should have one!"…"

Reviewed on 2020/2/20

Rydges Wellington Airport
Rydges Wellington
Rydges Wellington
4.5 out of 5
75 Featherston St, Wellington
NT$2,983
per night
Mar 1 - Mar 2

Located in the heart of Wellington, this luxury hotel is steps from Old Government Buildings, Wellington Central Business District, and Wellington Waterfront. ...

4.3/5Excellent! (2,640 reviews)

"The room was tidy and spacious, with the bed very comfortable with a stunning view of the harbour. The staff were lovely and very helpful and breakfast was amazing. Will definitely stay again if possible."…"

Reviewed on 2020/2/16

Rydges Wellington

Popular things to do in Wellington

Te Papa
Image for Te Papa

Te Papa

5/5(153 reviews)

See, smell and touch the exhibits at New Zealand’s hi-tech and interactive free national museum.

Victoria University of Wellington
Image for Victoria University of Wellington

Victoria University of Wellington

4/5(16 reviews)

Explore the campus of Victoria University of Wellington, a well-known college in Wellington. Discover the top-notch restaurants and fascinating museums in this walkable area.

Wellington Central Business District
Image for Wellington Central Business District

Wellington Central Business District

4/5(75 reviews)

Wellington Central Business District is just one of the places to see in Wellington, so why not enjoy the other things to explore during your travels? Experience the acclaimed art scene and fascinating museums in this walkable area.

Courtenay Place
Image for Courtenay Place

Courtenay Place

4/5(59 reviews)

Shop, wine and dine in this culinary hot spot on one of Wellington's most fashionable streets.

Wellington Waterfront
Image for Wellington Waterfront

Wellington Waterfront

4.5/5(122 reviews)

Wellington Waterfront is one of the more well-known attractions to visit during your trip to Wellington. Discover the top-notch restaurants and fascinating museums in this walkable area.

The Weta Cave
Image for The Weta Cave

The Weta Cave

4/5(29 reviews)

Learn the special effects secrets behind films such as The Lord of the Rings and Avatar with a tour through this Academy Award-winning studio.

Reviews of Wellington

4.5

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
165
5 - Excellent 62.03007518796993%
4 - Good
81
4 - Good 30.451127819548873%
3 - Okay
15
3 - Okay 5.639097744360902%
2 - Disappointing
1
2 - Disappointing 0.37593984962406013%
1 - Terrible
4
1 - Terrible 1.5037593984962405%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Feb 14, 2020

Very lively harbor area that has been revamped. Lots of music, bars, food.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jan 29, 2020

Liked the museums and cable car and gardens

5/5 - Excellent

Becca

Jan 22, 2020

Super city, especially in the sunshine.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Jan 16, 2020

Great hippy city.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Dec 31, 2019

Get out on one of the ferries. There's one to Days Bay that takes half an hour. Go in the morning so you have plenty of time to hike east of Days Bay. There's a great cafeteria and lunch/dinner/beer spot across from the Days Berry wharf.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Dec 30, 2019

Great environment!!!!

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