Wellington is the world’s southernmost capital city. Its thriving arts and business scene has led to it having quite a young population (over half of inner Wellington is between 18-49 years, notes WellingtonNZ.com), which means there’s always something going on to try out during your road trip holiday here.
Here are 10 fun activities to help you explore Wellington and its surrounds.
There are numerous fantastic beaches in ‘Wellywood’ to try. Oriental Bay is popular and close to the CBD, though drive just 20 minutes east and you’ll find “the best beach in Wellington,” according to one TripAdvisor reviewer: Scorching Bay.
Wellington has some truly stellar museums. Te Papa should be your first stop, as it features exhibitions spanning history, Maori culture and art. Next visit the Wellington, Dowse Art, Petone Settlers and Cable Car Museums.
3. Island Bay
Island Bay is a charming suburb, great for a spot of lunch followed by a day of diving. The Taputeranga Marine Reserve surrounds this area, and the historic shipwreck of the HMNZS Wellington lies just off the coast.
4. Weta Cave
Weta Cave is a mini museum dedicated to the props, costumes and collectibles created by Weta Workshop. You can also jump on a 45-minute tour here, on which you can learn more about the processes behind creating these stunning pieces.
5. Cape Palliser
Cape Palliser is home to the North Island’s largest fur seal colony, according to WairarapaNZ.com, and a lighthouse that has stood since 1897. Drive out here for some truly breathtaking panoramas.
6. Zealandia Sanctuary
Zealandia, not far outside the CBD, is a massive 225-hectare conservation park. Come here to see informative exhibition rooms or follow a keeper on a guided talk and tour.
7. Wellington Zoo
You can’t visit Wellington without a trip to NZ’s first zoo. Wander around at your own pace or book a close encounter for a more unique experience (spoiler alert: you can hand-feed red pandas here!).
8. Putangirua Pinnacles
Take your Wellington road trip further out of the city to find the Putangirua Pinnacles. Not only is this area filled with dramatic rock formations, but it was also one of the filming locations for The Lord Of The Rings.
9. Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park
Near the suburb of Karori is a bike-lovers paradise, with almost 40 kilometres of mountain bike trails weaving their way through 250 hectares of natural wilderness. Tracks range from easy to expert, so there is something for everyone to try.
10. Catch the Wellington-Picton ferry
The Interislander ferry is one of the most special adventures you can have in New Zealand. The route offers views of vast ocean expanses, towering mountain fiords and often even aquatic animals, such as dolphins, penguins and seals.