Labelled the world's ‘coolest little capital’ by Lonely Planet, Wellington is renowned for its vibrant creative culture. Here are the city's must-dos.
Nestled between a stunning harbour and protected green belt, there’s nothing quite like the view from Mount Victoria Lookout in the central city. You can drive all the way up, or walk through the nature trails. Grab some fish and chips and sit on the grass as the sun goes down and the lights come up.
Named as one of the top 8 coffee cities in the world by CNN, Wellington knows its brews and beans. You’re spoilt for choice in New Zealand’s coffee capital and it’s pretty tough to go wrong, but for a typically Wellington brew and vibe, Flight Coffee’s The Hangar (opens in new window)is a good place to start.
No trip to New Zealand is complete without a visit to the incredible Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa(opens in new window). Discover great treasures and stories of this country, its unique natural environment, Māori culture, art, heritage, and fascinating history at this innovative museum.
Just over an hour’s drive or train ride from Wellington city will take you to Wairarapa, one of New Zealand’s premier wine regions. Once here, hire a bike from Green Jersey Cycles(opens in new window) in Martinborough to cycle your way around the boutique vineyards. You can even book a Martinborough Wine Tour day trip from Wellington. Easy!
Get up close and personal with a three-eyed prehistoric reptile and New Zealand’s native birds (the kiwi) at nature reserve Zealandia(opens in new window). Spot seals at Red Rock Reserve or head over to Wairarapa to visit the home of rare little white kiwi at Pukaha Mount Bruce(opens in new window). Wellington is brimming with nature experiences.
Take a behind-the-scenes tour at the Academy Award-winning Weta Workshop(opens in new window) for a peek into incredible artistry and remarkable Kiwi innovation, as well as a few industry secrets. And of course a visit to The Lord of the Rings locations with Wellington Rover Tours(opens in new window) is a must for Middle‑earth™ fans.
Wellington is renowned for its events that range from concerts and live theatre to sporting matches, exhibitions and festivals. Among its long list of popular events are New Zealand Festival(opens in new window), an exciting and cutting-edge arts festival, and World of WearableArt™ Awards Show(opens in new window), a visual extravaganza combining arts, fashion and theatrics.
Known as New Zealand’s culinary capital, you won’t struggle to find excellent dining in Wellington, from eateries like Pickle & Pie(opens in new window) to stalwarts such as Ortega Fish Shack(opens in new window) and Logan Brown(opens in new window). Wellington is also renowned for its beer scene – barely a city block goes by without a specialist brew bar.
The bright red Wellington Cable Car(opens in new window) is a bit of a classic. Enjoy a ride up from the terminal in the heart of the Lambton Quay shopping district up to the lookout for panoramic views of the city. You’ll also find the Cable Car Museum(opens in new window), Space Place at Carter Observatory(opens in new window) and Botanic Garden(opens in new window).
Right in the heart of the city, Hannahs Laneway is the perfect place to taste local flavours and pick up souvenirs. This lane is gourmet heaven thanks to residents Leeds St Bakery(opens in new window), Wellington Chocolate Factory(opens in new window), Shepherd(opens in new window), Fix & Fogg(opens in new window) and Golding’s Free Dive(opens in new window).