As the capital of New Zealand, Wellington is the most southerly capital city on the planet. According to Māori legend, Wellington Harbour was first discovered by Kupe in A.D. 925. 1840 saw the arrival of the Europeans, who named the city after the Duke of Wellington, and it finally became the country's capital in 1865.
Previously overlooked in favour of the more popular Auckland, a lot has changed here in terms of tourism in the last few years, with Wellington now described by some as the "coolest little capital in the world". Its hip reputation is due in large part to its thriving cultural scene, its nightlife and, in particular, one of the most successful film industries outside Tinseltown. Plenty of tourists come here to see famous film scenes come to life, such as the stunning landscapes of the Lord of the Rings trilogy or the heightened surroundings of blockbuster Avatar. The city's wealth of high-tech sound stages, special effects gurus and studios have led to the area sometimes being dubbed "Wellywood".
A good place to start getting to grips with the city is along the waterfront. This area is most notably home to the national museum Te Papa. Not far is the Museum of Wellington City and Sea, which tracks the development and maritime heritage of the New Zealand capital.
One of the most enduring tourist attractions in the city is the Wellington Cable Car. This 8-minute journey will whip you up the hill to Wellington Botanic Garden and the Kelburn lookout point. You can then hop on a shuttle from here to Zealandia, a conservation project which aims to return part of the countryside to its original state before human settlement. To see the famous unspoilt landscape of Wellington on a grander scale, head into the hills for some dramatic tramping trails, or make the trip to the city's nearest beach, Oriental Bay Beach.
As night falls, the streets of Wellington come to life with great bars, cafés, restaurants and entertainment. Despite its many great facilities, Wellington is really quite a small city. One of the many advantages of this is that most things are within easy walking distance, making the visitor's life as easy and laidback as possible.
Shopping, Museums and Skyscrapers
Engage your senses with a trip to this New Zealand museum, home to the national art collection and interactive exhibits on everything from nature to Māori legend.
Shop, wine and dine in this culinary hot spot on one of Wellington's most fashionable streets.
Enjoy artisan coffees, sample specialty foods, browse through vintage shops or hunt for retro bargains in Wellington's bohemian heart.
Chill with the big cats, spend some quality time with the red pandas and hang with the gibbons at New Zealand's original zoo.
Take part in a free guided tour of the distinctive building where decisions are made to shape the future of New Zealand.
Stroll along a scenic walkway through a pretty Wellington Town Belt reserve to this lookout for spectacular panoramic views of the city.
Get acquainted with New Zealand's second largest city, the world's most southerly capital. Take in spectacular views of this city surrounded by water—its iconic architectural landmarks as well as its scenic coast—from the most stunning vantage points.
A great guided tour and Wellington’s 10 best hop-off stops Hop on board one of our minibuses and traverse Wellington’s winding streets on our intimate and informative 90min guided Tour.
Enter the exciting world of filmmaking with this immersive, behind-the-scenes look at New Zealand's Weta Workshop. You’ll enjoy return transfers from Wellington i-SITE to Weta Studio Tours, where you’ll explore the Weta Cave Workshop Tour.
Lord of the Rings fans unite on this tour of the sprawling New Zealand countryside, where the majority of the famous movie series was filmed. Visit locations you remember from the movies, explore the stunning natural environment, and learn secrets of how the films' epic scenes came to be.
Enter the world of Weta Workshop with There and Back Again: The Full Experience, a guided round trip by Weta Studio Tours! You’ll enjoy return transfers from Wellington i-SITE to Weta Studio Tours, where you’ll explore the Weta Cave Workshop Tour and the Miniatures Stage Tour: Thunderbirds Are Go.
Unleash your inner ninja and relive your recess days by zipping, jumping, and swinging through the lush tree canopy of the Bay of Plenty. The 6 unique courses offer the perfect opportunity for you to navigate past thrilling obstacles between the trees, on bridges, wires, and extensive ziplines.