The nation’s capital and the home of New Zealand’s parliament, Wellington is gloriously set beside its magnificent harbour with some stunning modern buildings surrounded by quaint wooden Victorian houses, often beautifully painted in primary colours, dotting its steep, hilly suburbs.
For orientation, a cable-car rises up to the Botanic Gardens, beautiful in themselves but also a great vantage point. From here you can take in the views over the city to the redeveloped waterfront area, home to upmarket restaurants, museums and galleries.
Lambton Quay constitutes the business district of the city, stretching from the train station at the northern end to just north of Civic Square, at the heart of central Wellington. Here the main shops, cafes and restaurants can be found.
Considered to be one of the leading cities for arts and culture in New Zealand, Wellington is home to the National Museum (Te Papa Tongarewa), the National Archives which house the original Treaty of Waitangi, a host of theatres and a delightful array of heritage buildings.
All can be taken in on a walking tour of the city, taking time in between the attractions to soak up some of the city’s thriving café culture. Wellington also hosts a variety of New Zealand’s festivals, including the spectacular World of Wearable Art awards and the New Zealand International Arts Festival.
Away from the bustling centre you will find quiet, historic suburbs and several popular swimming beaches, with Oriental Bay within walking distance of the main centre. Wellington is a vibrant, sophisticated and culture-driven city, not least after dark, when the pace of life picks up in many restaurants and bars.
Te Papa Museum
With an agenda to interpret and present the nation’s treasures and history to a national and international audience, the New Zealand Government commissioned Te Papa Museum. After five years of development, Te Papa was opened in 1998 on the Wellington waterfront.
The size of three rugby fields, it not only houses a multitude of exhibitions but also 26 audio-visual displays, 28 audio shows, 121 mechanical interactives, ten specially designed Te Papa computer interactives, two sound and light shows and finally the museum multimedia database, Te Papa Onscreen.
Entry is free, meaning you can choose whether to make a few shorter visits or dedicate a morning or afternoon to meandering through the displays.
Suggested itineraries featuring Wellington
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Wellington, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Wellington
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Wellington
- The Kapiti Coast 31 miles away
- Martinborough 36 miles away
- Marlborough Sounds 37 miles away
- Greytown 39 miles away
- Wairarapa & surrounds 40 miles away
- Picton 41 miles away
- Blenheim 46 miles away
- Nelson 78 miles away
- Whanganui National Park 95 miles away
- Kaikoura 96 miles away
- Abel Tasman National Park 98 miles away
- Collingwood & Farewell Spit 118 miles away
- Kahurangi National Park 123 miles away
- Hanmer Springs 132 miles away
- Tongariro National Park 148 miles away
- Hastings 158 miles away
- Taranaki & New Plymouth 159 miles away
- Hawke's Bay 166 miles away
- Napier 168 miles away
- Punakaiki 187 miles away
- Christchurch 190 miles away
- Lake Taupo 193 miles away
- Akaroa & Banks Peninsula 198 miles away
- Arthur's Pass National Park 201 miles away
- Waitomo 210 miles away
- Hokitika 220 miles away
- Rotorua 232 miles away
- Eastland & Gisborne 251 miles away
- Bay of Plenty 260 miles away
- Tauranga 260 miles away
- Waikato 270 miles away
- Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers 286 miles away
- Lake Tekapo 289 miles away
- Thames & Kauaeranga Valley 290 miles away
- Mount Cook National Park 293 miles away
Accommodation choices for Wellington
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Wellington. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
Ideas for experiencing Wellington
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Wellington, and which use the best local guides.