Wellington is known as the capital which located at the end of New Zealand’s North Island. This is the home to government agencies, the art and cultural centers of New Zealand. With a convenient location located in the middle of a large harbour with green colors of trees and many beautiful beaches and outstanding architectural works. Wellington has a temperate climate and pleasant weather with 2 seasons: Summer is not too hot and winter is not too cold. That is why Wellington is one of the destinations chosen by many tourists. So, what to do and how to plan a budget perfect trip to Wellington for the first-time? Let’s check out our Wellington travel blog (Wellington blog, Wellington new zealand blog) with the fullest Wellington travel guide (Wellington guide, Wellington new zealand travel guide, Wellington tourist guide, Wellington visitor guide) from how to get, best time to come, where to stay, best places to visit and top things to do to find out the answer!
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Wellington travel blog: Overview of Wellington
Wellington is also known as “Windy Capital of the World”, “The world’s windiest city” because it is located between the Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range. Due to of its geographic location, Wellington has strong winds with an annual average wind flow of speed at around 29.6km/h and windy all year round. Also, the capital of New Zealand is located in the southeastern part of the North Island and is the only place where you can take a boat to New Zealand’s South Island. Wellington is the second most populous place in New Zealand, after Auckland with a population of 415,000 and an area of 500 km². Although Wellington is the capital, it is not populous and quite quiet. The people here have a peaceful and relaxed life.
On windy days, walking on streets in downtown Wellington is challenging, pedestrians either are forced stepping back, or struggling to move forward. The statue of a man without clothes, eyes closed, puffing up his chest in the strong wind, built by sculptor Max Patte from London (UK) on the harbour when he establish a career in Wellington is enough to speaking the meaning of life New Zealand’s capital has to live with wind all year round. Because the man’s expression showed joy, not annoyance.
Wellington blog: When to go?
In general, New Zealand’s weather and climate are quite mild and pleasant with an average temperature from 20 to 26 degrees Celsius. Wellington has a slightly lower temperature, falling between 19 and 24 degrees Celsius. Winter in Wellington is not too low temperature, ranging between 10 and 14 degrees Celsius. The good time to come here is in spring or autumn.
Due to is influenced by the Tasman Sea, winters in Wellington often has strong winds and mainly winds from the northwest. Summer is a bit hotter than in other cities, with an average of 2,000 hours of sunshine per week.
And so, even if you come to Wellington at any time, you should prepare for yourself the necessary items to protect your health! And you can go to Wellington in any season, depending on your itinerary as well as your favorites!
Wellington travel guide: How to get?
Wellington has an international airport 5.5 km from city center, however, most flights to New Zealand stop at Auckland Airport. From Auckland, you can take a domestic flight to Wellington which only takes 1 hour.
Wellington travel blog: Getting around the city
Wellington is a developed city so the transportation system here is also very developed so moving here is quite easy. The main public transport in Wellington is bus. But because the city center is quite small, you don’t have to use a bus but you can also walk. New Zealand drives in reverse. In addition to traditional taxis, Uber services are also available here.
My first impression is that Wellington is very bustling, crowded compared to the tranquility of where I’m living. This also made me a little surprised at first because people and cars or tall buildings everywhere can be seen. Also in the center of Wellington there is very little parking, I have to parked in private parking lots for NZD4/hour, not to mention having to drive zigzag up to the 9th and 10th floors to find a space to park the car. I think if you are planning to go to Wellington to play or have something to do in the CBD, it is convenient to take the bus.
In particular, you should rent yourself a bicycle to be able to travel in the city in the most active way. Bicycles are also a popular vehicle used by Wellington residents every day.
Wellington blog: Where to go and what to do
Wellington is quite small and can be visited everywhere in 1 day, so you maybe spend just 1 or 2 nights of staying in Wellington is enough time to see the museums, main tourist attractions, wandering around and explore the city. Here are the most prominent things you should check out.
This garden is over 25 hectares of area, and has a rich and diverse flora. You can find the oldest native plant species here, seasonal flower gardens, and a children’s play area. I spent the whole morning to exploring this place, but it wasn’t enough because it’s really too large.
Address: 101 Glenmore Street, Kelburn, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
Hours: Open 24 hours
The Te Papa Museum is known as the largest and most attractive museum in New Zealand with works of art created by renowned New Zealand painters, photographers and sculptors. The museum is divided into galleries with different themes for visitors to find easily.
The most impressive display exhibition at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum is The Scale of Our War, vividly presenting New Zealand’s war in World War I, through the story of each soldier and nurse who served in the military. The 5 ~ 7m tall statues depict the pain of a woman when she hears of her husband’s death, of a soldier depressed with the battlefield, of soldiers fighting alongside their comrades who have just died … will surely make you empathy, and easy to remember information.
In addition, The Story of Light and Shadow exhibition, which recreates the old houses, the culture, and the meaning of the Maori people symbols is also very impressive. Unfortunately, photographing is not allowed here because of copyright protection. Te Papa Tongarewa Museum also has fine art and contemporary art galleries… I spent more than 2 hours here, but still feeling lack of time.
Address: 55 Cable Street, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
This beach here is very beautiful and safe for everyone, you can immerse yourself in turquoise water or participate in fun activities on the sand such as volleyball, soccer with the locals or windsurfing, paddle boat, walk on the smooth white sand and listen to the whispering waves on the shore. Oriental Bay is about 10 minutes away from the center and 1km from the Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, so you can combine these two places to visit in an afternoon.
Cable Car Museum
The cable car of this museum was built in 1902, to buy a cable car ticket from the central area to the end of the Cable Car Museum, you can buy tickets at 280 Lambton Quay with the fare of NZ$7.5/round-trip ticket. This cable car trip is quite interesting, when sitting on it I feel like riding a tram in the old days. The cable car is powered by a steam engine, passengers sit with their backs facing each other.
The cable car is the symbol of Wellington. It runs from Lambton Harbour to Kelburn. Once you reach the top of the mountain, you’ll find an observatory, the Cable Car Museum, and the vast space at the Carter Observatory.
Address: 1A Upland Road, Kelburn, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
After taking the cable car to the museum, you can take the free bus to visit ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary (the undersea continent) or the Space Place at Carter Observatory (you should go in the evening). The wildlife sanctuary of Zealandia is only about a 10-minute drive from downtown Wellington. Tucked away in suburban valleys, this project was created to protect the 225-hectare forest. Walking in the reserve, you can see the wildlife, colorful birds and beautiful scenery of this place.
Address: 53 Waiapu Road, Karori, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
Open: All year around except 25 December
It would be a pity if you miss the most famous tourist destination in Wellington which is the Parliament Buildings that opened 1922. Parliament Building is located in the north of Lambton Harbour with 72m high and 10 floors and 4 basements. Visitors coming here will be impressed by its unique architecture in honeycomb shape.
Visitors will visit: The honeycomb architecture of parliament building, the parliament library and the Bowen house. You will be surprised to know that the building is designed with a very special foundation and wall to avoid being destroyed by earthquakes.
Along with that are walls with many vivid colors that you have to look at your side to imagine the contents of those paintings, or witness first-hand impressive wooden paintings carved the images and symbols of indigenous people.
Address: 1 Museum Street, Pipitea, Wellington 6160, New Zealand
Mount Victoria Lookout
From the Mount Victoria Lookout, you will have a chance to enjoy panoramic views of Wellington’s city and its harbour, watch sailing boats moving across the harbour and planes taking off from Wellington Airport. Alternatively, you can drive or walk around the town. Mount Victoria is also a great place to watch the sunrise and sunset.
Strolling around the harbour to Oriental Bay
Wellington’s habour is a beautiful walking area, surrounded by cafes, parks, sculptures, bars and ice cream shops. Visiting here, you can walking, cycling or skateboarding. Stop by one of the three weekend markets, or head to Orential Bay beaches for a swim or sunbathing. The harbour is located right in the center, only 5 minutes walk out, the wind blows heavily, so even though the temperature is not low, you will still feel quite cold.
Wellington Zoo is known as the smallest zoo in the world. It is home to more than 100 species of wildlife. Visiting the zoo, you will have a chance to see the animals and feed them.
Cuba Street is Wellington’s entertainment paradise, home to famous shops, bars, and cafes. Here, you will have the opportunity to watch fun street performances.
Wellington travel blog: What to eat?
And we also had time to taste the delicious flavors of the city known as New Zealand’s culinary capital. Including coffee (according to CNN, Wellington is one of the eight leading coffee cities in the world), gelato ice cream, craft beer, seafood, lamb, cheese, chocolate, fruit and wine.
It is a traditional biscuit of the city as well as the entire country of New Zealand, going through the years of World War I, and was created by chefs here as a reserve food with a delicious and nutritious taste which loved and chosen by many tourists. You can also buy it as a gift for friends and relatives. You can find it at any store, market in the city.
Created by the Maori more than 2000 years ago with a very unique and different recipe. Ingredients made of this dish from chicken, lamb and also fresh beef, vegetables such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, cabbage. After being well seasoned, it will be wrapped in a layer of foil to keep the meat from drying out and placed on heated stones and placed in a earth hole. Thenn, immediately cover with soil to take advantage of the heat of the rock to slowly cook the food.
Another very popular New Zealand dish is grilled lamb. Because lamb is a very famous food here. Famous in the world for its delicious and nutritious lamb flavor by the hands of farmers grazing on vast meadows. The taste is different from the lambs in other countries, loved by almost tourists.
Another very famous cake that you should also enjoy or buy as a gift is Pavlova.
Those who are passion with wine and love the white wine made from sauvignon blanc grape in Marlborough region, when traveling to Wellington will be satisfied. Because there are many famous wine brands here, from Brancott Estate, Matua, Cloudy Bay, Villa Maria, Oyster Bay to Spy Valley, Greywacke … with retail prices from NZ$17-19/bottle.
Introducing you to a delicious restaurant in Wellington right now. That is The Old Bailey (Address: 101 Lambton Quay, Wellington Central, Wellington 6011) which has a delicious Sirloin Steak dish that is not inferior to the COBB & CO chain that I introduced in the previous articles. The special thing about this restaurant is that the price is quite cheap, this dish is priced at NZ$25 only.
In addition to the above tourist attractions, you can also go to the night market in Cuba Street or the Capital Market (Address: 151 Willis Street, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand) on Willis Street. Capital Market sells a wide variety of cuisines from different countries.
Wellington blog: Where to stay?
We stayed at QT Museum Wellington hotel, at 90 Cable Street with many valuable artworks displayed everywhere, in lobby, restaurant, bar, corridor … Not far away is the space that anyone who love art, learn about history can not be ignored is Te Papa Tongarewa museum with a lot of valuable treasures. (You can check rates, reviews and book this hotel on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Also you can refer to Hostel Nomads Capital Backpackers is a pretty good backpacker hostel, managed by the same company as Base, are two hostel chains with many properties in Australia and New Zealand. They serve free breakfast with pancakes, offer dinner voucher at the ground floor bar from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. If you plan to visit Wellington can refer to this place. (You can check rates, reviews and book this hotel on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Below we recommend more best cheap, budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Rydges Wellington, a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $132/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- InterContinental Wellington, a top rated 5-star hotel with room rates from $196/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- ibis Wellington, a top rated 3-star hotel with room rates from $87/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $95/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
In addition, you can refer to one of the best Airbnb in Wellington:
- On top of Mt Victoria, Wellington Brand New Studio at $71/night.
- Walk to City, stadium, ferry, own private bathroom at $61/night.
- Quiet, private studio in Khandallah at $58/night.
- Private cosy cottage in Khandallah at $72/night.
- Large loft with en-suite close to ferry terminal at $49/night.
- Home away from home. Easy access to ferry & town at $35/night.
–> The Airbnb link that discount up to $35 for the first booking here: https://www.airbnb.com/c/anht5185
Wellington travel guide: Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Wellington you can refer to
- Wellington Cable Car
- Wellington Sightseeing Tour
- Wellington City and Coastline Tour
- Hop on Hop off Sightseeing Bus Tour
- Lord of The Rings Tour