Many think that because Auckland is the country’s largest city, it is also its capital. That’s not true, however, as the culinary and arts centre of New Zealand is its primary city: Wellington.
Whether you’re passing through on an end-to-end road trip holiday of Aotearoa or you want to explore the southern North Island on its own, this great place is one of the country’s must-visit destinations.
Wellington at a glance
‘Wellywood’ is a diverse place, despite being far smaller than its more northern, sprawling counterpart of Auckland. Here, you’ll find more cafes and restaurants per capita than New York City, according to its website, not to mention our premier museum attraction, Te Papa.
Whether you’re wandering Courtenay Place in the CBD or driving around the wider area in your rental car, you’ll find an absolute plethora of things to see and do. With a population of only just over 200,000 people, it won’t feel like a bustling urban jungle, either!
Where to visit on your Wellington holiday
What type of activities are you looking to do in Wellington? Here we’ve broken it down to give you an idea of where to go and what do search for.
1. For history and culture
As we suggested, you absolutely have to visit Te Papa! This is the country’s national museum, with exhibitions that span everything from local history to Maori culture to geology and science. You could also drive up to the Parliament Buildings for a free guided tour, if you’re interested in politics. As for modern culture, drive over to Mirimar if you want a behind the scenes look at Weta Workshop, which operates out of this fine city.
2. For animals and nature
Get your animal fix by driving over to Wellington Zoo or Zealandia Sanctuary, both of which are renowned animal attractions. Green-fingered tourists, however, should take a charming ride up the Wellington Cable Car and have a walk about the Botanic Garden – 25 hectares of stunning floral displays. If you venture outside of the city, you’ll also find a wide range of nature walks and attractions, so be sure to ask about them at the CBD i-SITE Visitor Centre.
3. For adrenalin junkies
Looking for adventure activities in Wellington? Adrenalin Forest is great if you love clambering, climbing and swinging, though you’ll also find heli tours, sailing charters and numerous other activities located all over the area.