Ace Rental Cars Blog

A Week in Wellington

From the windy waterfront promenade to stretches of sandy shorelines, Te Whanganui a Tara / Wellington offers an array of scenic landscapes and fun experiences for all to enjoy. As the capital of Aotearoa / New Zealand, Wellington boasts some of the best attractions and landmarks in the country - even the airport features sculptures and statues depicting creatures and characters from The Lord of the Rings. With so much to discover, and only a week to see it all, we’ve listed the top places to visit during your stay in Wellington for a truly memorable holiday.

  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne
  • Matiu / Somes Island
  • Wairarapa Wine Region

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

  • Ancient and recent history
  • Six levels
  • Cafes and bars

Wellington is known for its vibrant buzz, from days filled with tourists and attractions to nights lit up by eccentric bars and clubs. Begin your week in the windy city in town at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa - one of Wellington’s main attractions. Locals and tourists alike enjoy wandering the six levels, and with rotating exhibitions, there’s something new to discover on each visit. With a focus on ancient and recent history, the Museum showcases everything from Aotearoa / New Zealand’s natural environment and Māori history to extraordinary aquatic animals and earthquake-halting inventions. Wander the Museum yourself or take a guided tour to hear the stories behind the country’s fascinating past. When it’s time for a break from browsing exhibitions, head to the Te Papa Cafe, Espresso Cafe or Red Gates Bar for a bite to eat and a place to relax - remember to try out the city’s world-renowned coffee. After your visit, stroll the Wellington Waterfront Walk for harbour views, dining and shopping, and experience the full force of ‘windy Wellington’. On the waterfront, you’ll also spot the SS Hikitia, a floating steam crane, and the iconic ‘Solace in the Wind’ sculpture.

Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne

  • Tours
  • Walking tracks
  • Cafe and gift shop

If Wellington wasn’t unique enough already, did you know that there’s an eco-sanctuary just outside the city? Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne is home to an abundance of rare native wildlife and aims to protect vulnerable species. With day, twilight, and night tours available, you’ll see up to forty different species of native birds, endangered reptiles, frogs and invertebrates like the Cook Strait giānt wētā. The sanctuary is surrounded by native plants - including Aotearoa’s famed silver fern - meaning that there’s greenery everywhere you look. Spend a day here to connect with nature, learn more about New Zealand’s native flora and fauna and hike your way around the sanctuary on walking paths and trails.

Matiu / Somes Island

  • Matiu Lighthouse
  • Tramping tracks
  • Native wildlife

Only 15 minutes on the ferry from Queens Harbour, you'll feel a world away at Matiu / Somes Island. Venture here to discover a piece of New Zealand’s rich natural and cultural heritage. With walking tracks throughout, it’s the perfect opportunity to make use of your hiking boots. On the Southern end of the Island, you can see the Matiu Lighthouse which is still in use today, and as a protected Island free from pests, wildlife is in abundance here. Keep an eye out for kākāriki / red-crowned parakeet, korora / little penguin, and Wellington tree wētā while visiting. Everything on the island is protected, so remember to take only photographs, stay on tracks, and leave only footprints.

Wairarapa Wine Region

  • Poppies
  • The Screening Room

For those interested in grape growing and wine production, put the rental car to good use and take a drive out to the Wairarapa Wine Region. With a smattering of vineyards and cellar doors, eateries, accommodations and experiences across the region, there’s a venue to suit every taste. Wine lovers, relax by the vines at Poppies in Martinborough. Visit the cellar door to indulge in a tasting of the iconic Poppies Rosé, and with vineyard platters and dessert trios to snack on, it’s the perfect day trip from Wellington. If you’re looking for something different, the Screening Room in Masterton combines film and food to offer visitors an eatery and cinema experience like no other. The eatery offers a brunch and lunch menu, dinner menu and a cinema food menu that outshines traditional popcorn and choc tops. With even more to discover in the area, including the Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre, Castlepoint Scenic Reserve and horse trekking experiences, a scenic drive along the Wairarapa Wine Region offers the perfect countryside escape during your time in Wellington.

Now that you know the best places to stay, play and relax in and around Wellington, it’s time to pick up your Ace rental car and begin your North Island adventure.

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