You'll find plenty to see and do within Wellington's compact downtown area. Make time to explore the wildlife areas surrounding the city too.
Small village charm, big city style
Wellington is movie director Peter Jackson's hometown and many movies have been made in Wellington. The world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in November 2012 has the spotlight firmly in Wellington. A tour is the best way to discover the secrets of the making of the movies.
Said to have more bars and restaurants per capita than New York, Wellington is widely celebrated for it's good taste. With over 20 craft beer bars and breweries, Wellington is renowned as the craft beer capital of New Zealand. Try innovative flavours as a beer brewed with volcanic rocks at Garage Project. Leave the diet at home and immerse yourself in the culinary capital for coffee, cocktails, cafes and some very fine dining indeed - all within easy walking distance around Courtenay Place and Cuba Street.
Walk or take a bus from the city to the summit of Mount Victoria for a 360-degree panorama of Wellington.
Find & book flights
Telling New Zealand's stories
Te Papa is the innovative national museum and a world leader in interactive experiences. New Zealand's history, art and people are showcased in fun and interesting exhibitions. Set on Wellington's waterfront, Te Papa is the most visited museum in Australasia and entry is free for most exhibitions.
Big bang science meets Maori mythology at Carter Observatory, located in the Botanic Gardens. Open daily from 10am with telescope viewing Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Wellington has a reputation as the cultural capital. See a live show and concert any night of the week.
The Museum of Wellington City & Sea presents local history in a dedicated space. Don't miss the moving Wahine shipwreck exhibition and kids will love 'A Millennium Ago', which tells maori legends. Free entry.
Walk around the stunning waterfront and follow the Wellington Writer's Walk - quotes from New Zealand writers are celebrated in large stone sculptures. Best enjoyed with a coffee or ice-cream in hand.
A restored, historic cable car travels from downtown Wellington up to the Botanic Garden, where there are sweeping views of the city and harbour.
Enjoy a tour of Parliament Buildings which provide an insight into New Zealand's political heritage or visit the Government Buildings across the road.
Visit Katherine Mansfield's Birthplace, childhood home of one of New Zealand's most famous writers. The house has been intricately restored to match the descriptions in her stories.
Old St Paul's is a magnificent, gothic style cathedral built from New Zealand native timbers.
The suburb of Petone is one of New Zealand's heritage gems. Wander along Jackson Street, filled with funky cafes, unique New Zealand galleries and fashion.
Nature close to the city
The best way to appreciate the beauty of Wellington's natural environment is to get out there.
Visit Zealandia: The Karori Sanctuary Experience, just 10 minutes from downtown Wellington. The valley is home to some of New Zealand's rarest wildlife including kiwi and tuatara while the exhibition explains the 500-year vision for this conservation attraction.
Enjoy animal antics at Wellington Zoo - New Zealand's oldest zoological park.
Harbour cruises operate between the city, Matiu/Somes Island in the middle of Wellington Harbour and Days Bay, where you'll find seaside cafes and craft shops.
Hire a sea kayak and paddle around the picturesque bays of Wellington Harbour.
Visit Southwards Car Museum, for the Southern Hemisphere's largest collection of antique and unusual cars.
Test your culinary skills at the Ruth Pretty Cooking School. Ruth Pretty is one of New Zealand's best-loved chefs. Running a purpose built cooking school from home, she shares recipes, cooking ideas and entertaining secrets in the rural tranquillity of Te Horo.