Visit the "coolest little capital in the world" for arts, culture and film industry glamour, not to mention stunning natural beauty.

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.

Top hotels in Wellington

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Rydges Wellington Airport
Rydges Wellington Airport
4 out of 5
28 Stewart Duff Drive, Rongotai, Wellington
NZ$144
per night
8 Dec. - 9 Dec.

Situated in Wellington, this luxury hotel is 2 mi (3.3 km) from The Weta Cave and 2.4 mi (3.9 km) from Wellington Zoo. Mount Victoria Lookout and Courtenay Place ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (355 reviews)

"Location and size of rooms great. Shower seemed a bit flimsy... water seeped under shower door."…"

Reviewed on 12 Nov. 2019

Rydges Wellington Airport
Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay
Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay
4 out of 5
100 Oriental Parade, Oriental Bay, Wellington
NZ$142
per night
24 Nov. - 25 Nov.

Located in Oriental Bay, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Oriental Parade, Wellington Central Business District, and Wellington Waterfront. ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (1,992 reviews)

"I would’ve liked a room with a better view and maybe some different food options."…"

Reviewed on 13 Nov. 2019

Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay
Rydges Wellington
Rydges Wellington
4.5 out of 5
75 Featherston St, Wellington
NZ$170
per night
15 Dec. - 16 Dec.

Located in the heart of Wellington, this luxury hotel is steps away from Old Government Buildings, Wellington Central Business District and Wellington Waterfront. ...

4.4/5Excellent! (2,526 reviews)

"Great room, great food in the dining room. Very convenient location to the waterfront and the train station."…"

Reviewed on 10 Nov. 2019

Rydges Wellington

Popular activities in Wellington

Te Papa
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Te Papa

4.5/5(836 reviews)

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.

Courtenay Place
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Courtenay Place

4/5(800 reviews)

Shop, wine and dine in this culinary hot spot on one of Wellington's most fashionable streets.

Cuba Street Mall
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Cuba Street Mall

4/5(1,075 reviews)

Enjoy artisan coffees, sample specialty foods, browse through vintage shops or hunt for retro bargains in Wellington's bohemian heart.

Wellington Zoo
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Wellington Zoo

4.5/5(105 reviews)

Chill with the big cats, spend some quality time with the red pandas and hang with the gibbons at New Zealand's original zoo.

Beehive
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Beehive

4.5/5(297 reviews)

Take part in a free guided tour of the distinctive building where decisions are made to shape the future of New Zealand.

Mount Victoria Lookout
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Mount Victoria Lookout

4.5/5(272 reviews)

Stroll along a scenic walkway through a pretty Wellington Town Belt reserve to this lookout for spectacular panoramic views of the city.

Top activities in Wellington

Wellington Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass
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Wellington Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass

NZ$45

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.

Weta Cave Workshop Tour: There & Back Again
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Weta Cave Workshop Tour: There & Back Again

NZ$68

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 Tour
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Lord of the Rings Tour

NZ$110

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.

The Full Experience: Weta Workshop There and Back Again
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The Full Experience: Weta Workshop There and Back Again

NZ$88

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.

Wellington Adrenalin Forest Adventure Park
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Wellington Adrenalin Forest Adventure Park

NZ$45

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.

Cape Palliser Explorer Walking Tour
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Cape Palliser Explorer Walking Tour

NZ$181

Departing the conveniently located Wellington I-site at 9:15am or our Martinborough location at 10.30am, we will lead you on an exploration of the Wild Palliser Coast Coast only a stones throw from Wellington.

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