Where To Stay In Wellington New Zealand
During our visit, we stayed at the Gilmer Apartment Hotel The hotel was centrally located and only a 2 minute walk to some of the main shopping streets and 10 minutes to the Museum of New Zealand. The hotel room was actually a one-bedroom apartment complete with its own kitchen!
Overall it was a great place to stay to explore the city. You can check prices and book your stay at Gilmer Apartment Hotel.
Some other great places to stay in Wellington, New Zealand are:
Visit The Wellington Botanical Gardens
Wellingtons Botanical Gardens are certainly not its finest cheap and free thing to do, however, after checking out the cable car you might as well explore a little.
There are a few trails at the top that loop around back to the cable car. These take around 25 minutes to explore. Along the way, you can find a garden from Australia as well as lots of New Zealand native plants.
Visit The Te Papa Museum Free
If there is one museum you are going to visit in New Zealand it has to be Te Papa. The national museum is about all things New Zealand, from land to sea . Insider tip: dont forget to check out the mini-exhibition under the Te Papa car park. Not a lot of people know it is there! For more information, check out 10 Reasons Why The Te Papa Museum is Simply Unmissable.
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Learn About History At The Wellington Museum
Yep, thats right, Wellington is home to another museum! The Wellington Museum is another cool place to check out thats completely free. This museum is about the history and cultural importance of Wellington.
From its transformation from the 1900s to its interesting Maritime history, the Wellington Museum is well worth checking out. In fact, it was recently voted one of the top 50 museums in the world! However in my opinion, if you only have time for one then Te Papa is my museum of choice!
Things To Do In Wellington New Zealand: Best Attractions & More
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Wellington, New Zealands capital city, lies at the bottom of the north island. Although Auckland is bigger, Wellington is the governmental and business centre of the country.
I like to think of it as the Ottawa to Aucklands Toronto.
Wellington isnt very big. I walked across the length of downtown in under an hour. But in that little space, theres a lot to do!
Not many people know about the incredible things to do in Wellington, New Zealand. Even people that live in New Zealand dismiss it as a business-only city. But its so much more than that.
Although its not as naturally beautiful as Kaikoura or the Bay of Islands, I really believe people need to visit.
Wellington is a foodie hub. It has the countrys national museum . And it has an amazing waterfront.
If youre driving around New Zealand, youll have to stop in Wellington to take the ferry to the South Island. Why not extend your stay to enjoy the attractions Wellington has to offer?
Dont skip over this incredible city. Youll learn more about New Zealands history, discover some of the best New Zealand cuisines, and get to visit one of the hubs of Lord of the Rings in New Zealand.
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Hike The Paekakariki Escarpment Track
This idea comes from our friend Alice Milne of Alice Adventuring.
Only a 30-minute drive north of Wellington will take you to the start of the gorgeous Te Paekakariki Escarpment Track. This track runs along the hills of the Kapiti Coast and is actually part of Te Araroa trail New Zealands ultimate through-hiking trail that runs the length of the islands.
The Escarpment Track is a 9.1 km one-way track and takes 3 4 hours to walk. There are steep drop-offs and a lot of steps , but the views along the coast and out to Kapiti Island on a nice day are so beautiful!
The highlight of the walk are the two swing bridges spanning small valleys perfect photo spots! If youre lucky and traveling during the Southern Hemisphere spring or summer months then you might even come across some wild flowers along the trail.
Psst! Looking for more hiking ideas? Alice helped us put together a complete guide of the best New Zealand hikes on each island, including her favorite Great Walks!
Get 360 Views From The Mt Victoria Summit
Oh hey there Wellington!
If you look east from the CBD, youll see Mt. Victoria. While it might look like a bit of a mission to get up to the top of, it really isnt. As part of the town belt, there are plenty of walking tracks to take you to the summit . When you get there, youll have one of the best views in Wellington over the harbour, CBD, airport, burbs, and more. It is also where a couple of the scenes were shot for Lord of the Rings.
FULL POST: ON THE MOUNT VICTORIA LOOKOUT
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See Wildlife At Zealandia Cheap
Here comes one of our favourite Wellington attractions! New Zealand birds! So many New Zealand birds! For around NZ$22 take a stroll through the sanctuary and exhibition, which is home to native birds and the tuatara lizard the only living ancestor from the dinosaur age. Learn more about Zealandia on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Play At Counter Culture Board Game Cafe & Bar
Counter Culture Board Game Cafe & Bar isnât your ordinary cafe. Yes, you can still come in to have a cup of coffee and some snacks but the best part is that you can do all this while playing board games. There are tables for groups of different sizes, so dont hesitate to bring some company over. However, booking in advance is advised due to the cafeâs popularity. You can choose from more than 900 games to play. If youâre new to everything, there are game experts that will help you. If youâre a lone wolf, make sure to drop by on a Monday night to get a chance to play against strangers. Those who are in it just for the board games can also just pay to play.
Counter Culture Board Game Cafe & Bar
Address: 211 Victoria Street, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
Zealandia Small Group Eco Wildlife Night Tour
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
Get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness what happens at Wellington Zoo after closing hours. Thatâs right after everyone leaves you can walk around the zoo and see how the staff takes care of the animals at the end of the day. You can even help them feed the lovely animals a couple of midnight snacks. The next day, youll be allowed to watch what preparations occur before the Zoo opens. Donât forget to bring your own sleeping bag, pillows, and warm clothes. Make sure you eat dinner before arriving because youâll be having a fun-filled adventure from 7pm to 9:30am.
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Where To Stay In Wellington
If you only have a few days in Wellington, I recommend staying in the CBD , where youll be able to walk to many of these Wellington activities.
Parking can be expensive, thoughhotels usually charge $30-40 a night. Taranaki Street Parking is a cheaper alternative.
I prefer Te Aro, in the southern part of the centre, where youll find many of the best places to visit in Wellington including Te Papa, Cuba Street, and excellent restaurants and bars.
The northern section of the CBD is more business orientated, although its convenient for the train station, parliament, and shopping at the bigger stores on Lambton Quay.
Its a 25-minute walk from Wellington Station to Cuba Street in Te Aro.
Here are my Wellington hotel picks, all of which weve stayed at.
- Budget:Mercure Wellington Central City Simple, affordable rooms and apartments close to the action in Te Aro.
- Midrange:Rydges Wellington Not my favourite area for sightseeing, but its close to the train station, Bluebridge ferry, and waterfront. Rooms are comfortable and the hotel has a pool, gym, and restaurant.
- Luxury:QT Wellington My favourite hotel in the perfect location overlooking the waterfront opposite Te Papa. Rooms are stylish, comfortable, and some feature unique artwork by local artists. Splurge on a Harbourview Gallery King room if you can. Theres a pool, gym, restaurant, and fun artwork in common areas.
Three Day Wellington Itinerary: Pulling It All Together
Personally, I could spend weeks in Wellington, but if time is limited, we recommend the following flexible 3-day Wellington itinerary, one that we have completed with visitors a few times.
- First day: Cable Car to the top Enjoy the view Cable Car Museum OR Carter Observatory and Planetarium Walk downhill through the Botanic Garden Parliament tour National Library Old St Pauls cathedral Thistle Inn Friday Night Market Cuba Street nightlife
- Second day: Breakfast at a waterfront cafe self-guided waterfront walk Zealandia OR Wellington Zoo OR The Great War Museum OR Weta Workshop tour dinner Courtenay Place nightlife
- Third day: Breakfast at a Cuba Street cafe Te Papa Taranaki Street Jump Platform Mount Victoria
Wellington can be part of our larger North Island self-drive tour.
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Try Some Local Craft Beer
New Zealand, and Wellington, in particular, is crazy about making home brews! Try some of the countrys leading craft beer in the Wellington craft beer bars and breweries around the city! See 14 Breweries & Craft Beer Bars in Wellington for recommendations and locations. Plus, check out the 9 Things to Do in Wellington for Foodies for similar activities.
Location: See the link above for specific locations.
Watch Rugby Or Cricket At The Cake Tin
Wellingtons biggest stadium plays host to both the Wellington Phoenix and Wellington Hurricanes. The Cake Tin is conveniently located close to the Wellington Train Station and while NZ doesnt attract the biggest crowds , The Wellington Phoenix play from October to April and the Hurricanes from February to June/July. There are also international matches played at the stadium from time to time. There are plenty of food, drinks, and booze options, though it isnt the cheapest so you may wont to pre-load.
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What To Do In Wellington What We Do
The What to do in Wellington team are a dedicated group of well travelled locals. We offer an insiders guide to Wellington thats fun, realistic and time friendly. If you like museums, theatre, art, nightlife, coffee, good food and world class wine, you will love it here. Our suggestions vary according to how many hours or days you have given yourselves to stay. With so much to see in New Zealands vibrant capital city, we recommend staying at least two nights.
Visit The Weta Cave And Workshop
The Weta Workshop is one of the coolest places in Wellington. This humble New Zealand workshop creates props for movies such as Mad Max, Fast and the Furious, and of course, their most famous movie the Lord of the Rings!
At the Weta Cave in Miramar, Wellington you can take selfies with life-sized trolls and wonder the shop looking at all sorts of cool props from the Lord of the Rings movies. Entrance to the Weta Cave is completely free however if you want to do a guided tour of the Weta Workshop thatll cost you.
On these tours, youll learn how they make the props as well as visit their effects facility. Oh, and youll get to see some of their most famous props up close. This is a great tour for any movie lover or Lord of the Rings fan!
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Play Mini Golf At A Scrap Yard
Affordable mini golf!
Carlucci Land is Wellington in a nutshell! Located near the tip, when youre driving past Carlucci Land, unless you know theres a mini putt golf course there youd be mistaken for thinking its a funky creator with too much junk on his hands. But, once you enter the grounds, youll start to admire the details of the place. The golf course is equally as creative with some nice skills needed to master the course. The feeling of the place is very relaxed and while the course shows some wear and tear, you cant help but walk away with a smile.
Visit Two Historic Cemeteries One Of The Unusual Things To Do In Wellington
The Cemetery, its not as creepy as it looks. Promise!
The two cemeteries are Mount Street Cemetery and Bolton Street Cemetery. The Mount Street Cemetery was Wellingtons first Roman Catholic cemetery opened in 1841. Closed to new burial sites in 1891, there are ~200 headstones existing today and you can nab a view of the city too.
The Bolton Street Cemetery was the cities first cemetery opening in 1840. Its actually three separate cemeteries attached to each other, with the storyboards throughout the cemetery giving you a good understanding. This is also the starting point of the City to Sea Walkway.
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Taking The Scenic Route To Wellington
Travel by train to Wellington aboard the Northern Explorer and witness the full spectrum of New Zealand life, from sprawling city suburbs to remote rural communities, all set against a continuous backdrop of stunning scenery. Sit back and enjoy it all!
From the south, the Interislander crossing is ‘one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world’, sailing through the serene Marlborough Sounds and crossing the narrow Cook Strait that divides New Zealand main islands.
National Museum Of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
55 Cable Street, Te AroNo visit to Wellington is complete without a visit to the National Museum. Commonly referred to as Te Papa, this free-to-enter museum has extensive collections in the areas of art, history, Pacific, Mori, wildlife, and the natural environment.
With several hands-on Discovery Centres for children, Te Papa is an excellent day out for everyone.We have always visited on our own. However, if you are looking for an introductory tour, check Bookme for discounts depending on the day and time you choose.
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Walk Mt Victoria Free
Reach the lookout on Mt Victoria for views of Wellington city. Additionally, part of the walk was used in The Lord of the Rings when the Hobbits hide from the black riders outside of The Shire. To get there, you can start at the eastern end of Courtenay Place, cross Cambridge Terrace and Kent Terrace, walk along Majoribanks Street until you see the sign to the Southern Walkway. Follow the Summit Walkway to the lookout!
Hike Or Drive Up To Mount Victoria Lookout
Wellington is built on the ocean but its backdrop are large steep hills that provide the best vantage points in town! Mount Victoria is arguably the best of those vantage points. From the top, you get 360-degree views of the area and the best part is you can either drive or walk to the top.
The hike up Mount Victoria is one of the most popular walks in Wellington. It takes around 25 minutes to walk the 2 km to reach the summit, or the drive is 5 minutes. If you get clear weather, be sure to make it up for sunset for what could be the best one you ever see!
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Take The Cable Car Cheap
Another one of the most popular Wellington activities. Make like the ultimate tourist by taking the cable car to the Botanic Gardens and lookout over the business district. The short journey is around NZ$5 one-way making it a darn cheap thing to do in Wellington! Find the Cable Car down Lambton Quay. At the top, the Cable Car Museum is free entry.
Eat All You Can At Wellington Night Market
Wellington Night Market is the go-to place for good food, good music, and good art. If your ideal weekend is a relaxed and intimate atmosphere, visit the night market during Friday nights at the Left Bank in Cuba Street. But if youâre looking for something louder like a party, Saturday nights at the Lower Cuba Street might be just for you. Either way, youâll get to jam to live music and choose from a wide variety of snacks and dishes from different parts of the world. Try out old food stalls that have developed a good reputation over the years and discover new food stalls that will satisfy your craving. Donât forget to keep an eye out for handmade goods as well.
Wellington Night Market
Opening hours: Fri – Sat: 5pm – 10:30pm
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Lower Hutt : Be Part Of The Carnival Of Lights
Often described by the locals as the Carnival of Lights, Highlight definitely brings Wellington to life. This four-night show over the weekend promises to take over your senses and keeps you wanting for more. With the perfect blend of sound and sight, if this is not the ‘highlight of your trip, we dont know what is. From interactive installations to live performances that are nothing short of wild, Highlight tops the list of things to do in Wellington in winter.
Location: Riddiford Gardens, Laings Road, Lower HuttEntry fee: Free
While Diwali in India might be on your bucket list, thanks to the population of Indians in Wellington, you can never really feel the void. Henna tattoos and little diyas begin to fill the streets around the desi households in Wellington and before you know it, the fireworks in the air and the Bollywood thumkas will turn the darkest night of the year into an unmatched memory. If you dont mind the spice, grab some yummy snacks and watch as Wellington picks its favorite Mr and Miss Diwali.
Location: TSB Arena and Shed 6Entry fee: Gold coin entryPro tip: Wear something traditional to avoid the outsider feels.