Wellington travel guide

Wellington is often regarded as the creative heart of New Zealand and when you visit this welcoming (and windy) city it’s easy to see why. From finding inspiration on Cuba Street to sampling the exceptional craft beer or exploring world-class movie making magic at Weta Cave, Wellington’s artistic spirit will win you over. This is a city surrounded by epic scenery as well, from the twinkling harbour to the wild and wonderful hills, and the best way to experience it all it to get amongst it . If you’re planning a visit, explore our Wellington travel guide and find out how to make the most of your time in this compact-but-cool city. We’ve collected the best tips from our travel experts, and have top suggestions for things to do, the best time to travel, where to stay in Wellington, getting around and more.

Where to stay

When considering where to stay in Wellington, the options roll on and on. However, there are a few major areas that remain tourist favourites for good reasons. For example, staying in Cuba Street makes sense if you want to be right in the heart of Wellington’s culture scene from daybreak to dusk. Meanwhile, Mount Cook provides a more laidback accommodation spot if you prefer peace and quiet.  Of course, you can’t look past Oriental Bay if you’re hoping to hit the beach during your Wellington getaway, and Lambton Quay is a popular all-round area.

Things to do

Finding things to do in Wellington is blissfully easy. Nestled as it is between mountains and the seaside, the city prides itself on having a little bit of everything – from hiking to sailing, from adventure to relaxation. Wellington is also the beating heart of New Zealand’s art and culture scene, meaning it’s a hive of creativity and home to some of the best attractions in the entire country.

Getting Around

Arranging Wellington transport is fairly simple given its relatively small size compared to other world cities. Getting around still requires some planning, but most destinations in the city are easy to get to.  During your stay, you’ll have a solid network of trains, buses and ferries to help you get from A to B. Alternatively, you might like to hire a bicycle for navigating the city, or you may often find that where you want to go next is within easy walking distance anyway! After all, this is a stunning city to explore on foot.

Where to eat

Plenty of cities would love to claim they have the best culinary standards in New Zealand, but the Wellington food and drink scene takes (and bakes) the cake.  Enjoy fine-dining at restaurants owned by world-renowned chefs, treat yourself to a laidback night on the town, venture through Wellington’s excellent food markets, or embrace the warm aroma of a well-brewed cup from a quaint cafe. Each meal and beverage here will impress your inner foodie and your inner coffee connoisseur, and the variety of options available means no craving has to go unsatisfied.


In New Zealand’s primary cultural hub, art – in all its forms – is abundant, and this extends effortlessly to Wellington’s shopping scene. After all, fashion is just wearable art, is it not? Shopping in Wellington is especially enjoyable for the fashion-forward.  Whether you prefer bargain hunting or more indulgent retail therapy, you’ll have no shortage of stores to explore. From designer outlets with vast storefronts to sprawling upmarket shopping centres to smaller independent boutiques, there are so many places to find a new holiday outfit or to grab that perfect Wellington souvenir.

Best time to travel

Weather in Wellington is very unpredictable due to its location at the southern tip of the North Island. However, as the locals say, “You can’t beat Wellington on a good day.” This is entirely true – on a beautiful, sunny day when the temperature is just right, Wellington is an incredible place to be. The only problem is you never know when one of those days will turn up or how many you might get during your stay!  Wellington has also been dubbed ‘The Windy City’ due to its frequent buffeting by winds blowing north from the Antarctic.


Ensconced as it is between the mountains and the sea, the city is blessed with natural wonders on all sides – but there are also myriad Wellington parks to admire within the metropolis itself. This makes it the ideal holiday destination if you’re yearning to get back to nature.  From towering mountain hikes to walking trails in the many verdant parks that dot the city, you’ll have a hard time narrowing down which outdoor haven to explore first. Whether you prefer tame gardens or rugged wilderness, you’ll have no trouble relaxing among the greenery of Wellington and its surrounds.