The Windy City is on the foreshore of Wellington Harbour and ringed by hills, providing the scenic home of many of New Zealand's national arts and cultural attractions.
The Wellington urban area is divided between four city councils – Wellington, Porirua, Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt. Above the city councils is the Greater Wellington Regional Council, which covers the entire Greater Wellington region (i.e. Wellington, the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa) and is responsible for most of the shared services across the urban area. Proposals for a large "super-city" as was established in Auckland in 2010 have been put forward, but none have come to fruition due to local opposition.
Wellington offers a blend of culture, heritage, fine food and coffee, together with lively arts and entertainment.
Surrounded by hills and a rugged coastline, the city has a stunning harbour. Wellington’s charm is that it serves up a vibrant inner city experience with a slice of New Zealand scenery. And because of its compact nature, you can sample it all: boutiques, art galleries, trendy cafés and restaurants. Right on its doorstep is a network of walking and biking trails with beautiful wineries and vineyards just a few hours away.
Wellington offers an array of theatre, music, dance, fine arts and galleries and museums. It is also home to one of the nation’s key attractions, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
The city promotes itself as "Absolutely Positively Wellington". Its motto Suprema a situ claims site supremacy, with some justification.
phone: +64 4 802-4860address: Civic Square, Corner Victoria and Wakefield StA good place to begin your Wellington visit - they're able to book accommodation, activities and provide useful information about Wellington and surrounding areas. Their website contains the same information and is worth checking out prior to your visit. They are a member of the national i-SITE visitor information centre network.
GeologyMuch of the central city is built on land that was raised up after a major earthquake in 1855. More land has been reclaimed since then. The shoreline as it was in 1840 is marked by plaques in the footpaths on Lambton Quay (hence the street name). There are several "quays" which are now nowhere near the harbour. The harbour's former name was 'Port Nicholson' and the smaller bay surrounded by the city is called 'Wellington' or 'Lambton Harbour'.
Earthquakes have played a major part in forming the whole Wellington region. Several earthquake fault lines run through the Wellington region, including the Wellington Fault, which runs west of the city centre along Glenmore Street and Tinakori Road to the Aotea Quay motorway interchange and then up the western Hutt Valley. Building regulations have meant that many older city buildings have been either demolished or strengthened, or require such work to be undertaken. Small and moderate earthquakes occasionally rock Wellington; so if the earth seems to move for you, it may not be just your imagination. Stay indoors until a "warden" or similar authority advises evacuation (unless you are in imminent danger, e.g. from a fire), and take shelter from potentially falling objects wherever you are.
There are some places in Wellington where damage from the 1855 earthquake is still visible. The most accessible is a large landslip on State Highway 2 between Ngauranga and Korokoro (just north of Rocky Point where the BP petrol station is located) where the dramatic change in terrain is visible. Bush has overgrown the slip but it is visible. However, most people are oblivious to the location of landslip as they drive by on the highway.
The city is known as "Windy Wellington" - often said to be the world's windiest city, with an average wind speed of 27km/h. The prevailing wind is from the northwest but the strongest winds are southerly. The wind speed and direction can be seen by the flag being flown from the Beehive; a large flag is flown only on calm days, a small flag is flown when windy days are expected. The highest wind speed ever recorded in Wellington was 275 km/h (170 mph) during the Wahine storm of 10 April 1968 (so called because it blew the interisland steamer ferry Wahine into the reef at the entrance of Wellington Harbour, causing her to founder and claim 53 lives.)
The temperature in Wellington rarely drops to 0°C (32°F), even on cold winter nights, while daytime winter temperatures are rarely lower than 8°C (46°F). During summer, the daytime maximum temperature rarely gets above 25°C (77°F). Away from the seaside, in inland valleys, frosts of up to -10°C (14°F) have been recorded. Snow falls on the nearby ranges during winter, but is rare in the urban area.
GeographyWellington sits at the southern tip of New Zealand's North Island. The city core lies along the western shore of highly protected Wellington Harbour, with the city's suburbs spreading out in all directions. The city's primary urban core consists of the CBD and the adjoining 'city suburb' of Te Aro, to the south and east. A fairly dense zone continues south from Te Aro into the adjoining suburbs of Mt Cook and Newtown, as well as Kilbirnie on the other side of the parklands of Mt Victoria.
East from Te Aro, north-south-running ridgelines form Mt. Victoria and, further east yet, the Miramar Peninsula, which forms the western side of the mouth to Wellington Harbour. These hills—and the isthmus between—are home to a number of suburban areas as well as parkland and beaches.
Several kilometres south of central Wellington is the rugged and stunning South Coast of the North Island, consisting of a string of small (and some large) bays, many with rocky beaches and interesting tide pools.
To the west, the suburbs between Karori and Johnsonville spread into the hillsides, with various parks and hiking trails, and then give way to open rural areas such as Makara.
HolidaysAside from the national public holidays, Wellington has its own public holiday, Wellington Anniversary Day. Commemorating the arrival of Wellington's first European settlers aboard the Aurora on 22 January 1840, it is observed across most of the Greater Wellington and Manawatu-Wanganui region on the Monday closest to 22 January.
By planeWellington International Airport (WLG) is in Rongotai, about 5 km (3 mi) southeast from the central city. It sits on an isthmus between the Miramar Peninsula and Mount Victoria. The southerly approach is over Cook Strait, while the northerly approach is over the harbour.
Wellington airport is a major transit point for domestic travellers. There are frequent flights from Auckland, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Rotorua, Hamilton, Nelson, Blenheim and many other destinations. International flights from Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane) arrive about twice daily: the evening flights arrive after midnight when most facilities are closed. There are also flights from Fiji, Canberra and the Gold Coast. There is a single terminal building, for both domestic and international.
The Airport Flyer bus departs regularly until 21:00 and runs through the CBD and on to Lower Hutt. $12 to Wellington, $18 to Lower Hutt. When you come out of the terminal, ignore any bus signs that point to the left – turn right to get to the Flyer bus stop at the south end of the terminal.
When you get to the airport, you can call the Metlink hotline at 0800 801700 for info. A friendly person will answer very quickly. If you say where you are going, they will tell you what bus to take and even what special pass to buy (for example, if you are catching a train after getting off the Airport Flyer).
If travelling in a group, it will be more cost effective to use a ride-sharing service. Uber to CBD will cost around $20. Turn right when exiting the terminal and follow signs to the "App-based Pickup Zone".
Shuttle van services, taxis and covered car parking are directly outside the terminal.
By boatThere are regular ferries between Wellington and Picton in the South Island operated by Interislander and Bluebridge, connecting with buses and the train to Christchurch. The Bluebridge terminal is next to the railway station. The Interislander terminal is about 2 km (1 mi) northeast of the railway station, and a $2 shuttle bus runs between it and the station (bus terminal next to Platform 9). Some cruise ships from overseas stop in Wellington.
By roadWellington is located at the southern tip of the North Island and is accessed from the north via two State Highways: State Highway 1 and State Highway 2. From most destinations in the North Island, you'll follow State Highway 1 south of Levin through the Kapiti Coast, Porirua and northern suburbs of Wellington. From the Hawke's Bay and the Wairarapa, you'll follow State Highway 2 over the Rimutaka Ranges and through Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt. Both routes meet at the Ngauranga Interchange, on the harbour shoreline 5 km north of the city centre.
Due to difficult terrain, there are sections of winding two-laned roads on both routes approaching Wellington. Traffic on State Highway 1 will encounter the Centennial Highway between Paekakariki and Pukerua Bay, where the road and railway run along a very narrow strip of land between the hills and the sea. Traffic on State Highway 2 will encounter the Rimutaka Hill Road, which winds its way over the Rimutaka Ranges and may occasionally close due to high winds or snow during winter. Centennial Highway is due to be bypassed by a new four-lane inland motorway in 2020, but until then serious and fatal crashes will continue to be common: remember to keep left, maintain a reasonable speed, and use the passing lanes to overtake slower traffic.
Hitchhiking from central Wellington is difficult as most traffic stays within the metropolitan area, and it is illegal to hitchhike on the motorway until the Hutt Valley (about 15 km or 9 mi northeast of Wellington) or Paremata (about 20 km or 12 mi north). If intending to hitchhike, you are best to catch a train to Waikanae or Upper Hutt and walk to the main highways to catch a lift from there (the best spot for Upper Hutt hitchhikers is at the Caltex petrol station about a 3 km walk north from the railway station along Fergusson Drive). Using a sign will help in finding a willing driver going your way.
Approximate distances and non-stop travel times to the Wellington city centre:
- Auckland – 640 km, 8 hours
- Hamilton – 520 km, 6.5 hours
- Rotorua – 460 km, 6 hours
- New Plymouth – 360 km, 5 hours
- Napier/Hastings – 310 km, 4.5 hours
- Palmerston North – 140 km, 2 hours
- Masterton – 100 km, 1.5 hours
By trainThere is an article on Rail travel in New Zealand.
The Northern Explorer train service runs between Wellington and Auckland, with departures from Auckland on Sat, Mon and Thur, and departures from Wellington on Sun, Tue and Fri. There is a once per day commuter service from Palmerston North, and a service from Masterton and the Wairarapa operates several times daily.
By busNational bus carrier InterCity Coachlines operates bus services to Wellington from across the North Island. Daily services operate between Auckland, New Plymouth, Napier, Hastings and Palmerston North. All InterCity Wellington services depart and arrive at Platform 9 at the Wellington Railway Station. Skip Bus, launched in November 2018, operates daily express bus services to Wellington from major cities in North Island, like Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Tauranga.
It's easy to get around the central city on foot, as it's very compact and pedestrian-friendly.
Wellington has an extensive and well-patronised public transport network, with buses, trains and ferries serving the city and beyond extending into the Greater Wellington region. The network is coordinated by Metlink, the public transport arm of the Greater Wellington Regional Council. Its website includes an interactive journal planner.
Metlink service centrephone: +64 4 801 7000
Tickets and faresBus and train fares use a zone structure. While there are 14 fare zones in total on the Metlink network, nearly all the Wellington urban area is covered by seven zones (there are two semi-rural suburbs of Upper Hutt in zone 8). Child tickets are available to those aged 5 to 15 and those 16 and over still at secondary school, while children under 5 travel free.
Electronic Snapper fare cards can be used on all buses, and are available from most supermarkets and convenience stores. These cards offer a discount off the adult cash fare, with an additional discount on off-peak travel. Snapper cards can be topped up electronically at various agencies for a small fee. However, you need to remember to tag not only when you board the bus but also as you leave the bus, or you will be charged for the whole route.
Trains still use paper ticketing. Ten-trip tickets and passes can be bought from ticket offices at major railway stations and from selected outlets across the city.
If you plan to use public transport extensively, you can buy a day pass which allows unlimited trips after 09:00 on weekdays and all day weekends and holidays. Four Metlink Explorer day passes are available: zones 1 to 3 only (i.e. Wellington City only) for $10.00, zones 1 to 7 for $15.00, zones 1 to 10 for $20.00, and all zones for $25.00.
Special fares apply on some routes, including the 91 Airport Flyer bus. On outbound Wairarapa trains (i.e. to Masterton), you will be charged for a fare to Maymorn station (zone 8) even if you disembark before then; this minimum fare does not apply in the inbound direction (i.e. to Wellington).
By busWellington has an extensive network of buses. The city was the last in the Southern Hemisphere, and the last left-hand-traffic country, to use electric trolleybuses; these were phased out in October 2017 due to ageing infrastructure and the imminent arrival of battery electric buses. Excellent and free network maps and route timetables and maps are available from locations throughout town, including the main visitor centre in Civic Square, the Central Library, and many convenience stores. You can also access the timetables and maps online. While these maps can be quite useful if you desire to travel into the suburbs, they aren't generally necessary if you simply want to travel across the central city. Being a rather linear city, the heart of Wellington is heavily served by the central bus corridor between the Railway Station and Courtenay Place known as the "Golden Mile". Major bus routes run along most of the route length, so you rarely have to wait more than a few minutes to catch a ride.
At Wellington station the destination and departure time of the next train departing from each platform is displayed on the message board at the entry to each platform. Two announcements are made a few minutes before each train is due to depart.
Tickets can be bought at the Wellington station ticket office or suburban ticket agents. Since most smaller stations do not have ticket offices, you can also buy single journey tickets and day passes, with cash, from the conductor onboard the train. Ten-trip tickets and monthly passes do need to be purchased from a station ticket office or suburban ticket agents in advance.
By footThe core of Wellington is notably compact and vibrant, and is well-suited to exploration by walking. As dictated by geography, the core of the city is quite linear, with the classic commercial backbone known as the Golden Mile making for a diverting and pleasant walking route. This route runs from the Railway Station down Lambton Quay to its southern end at Willis Street. It then runs down lower Willis Street to Manners Street, and continues straight onto Courtenay Place. On the Manners Street section, the route crosses Wellington's bohemian heartland of Cuba Street, which heads south into the core of Te Aro. While these streets mark the traditional core of the commercial city, the surrounding blocks also have plenty to be seen.
Another enjoyable and popular place to amble in the city core is the Waterfront, from the revitalized Kumutoto area in the north, past Queen's Wharf to Frank Kitts Park, and then through the Lagoon and City-to-Sea Bridge areas and on to the Te Papa museum and Waitangi Park. From here the waterfront curves northeastward along lovely Oriental Bay with its beach and promenade.
By bikeDockless bikeshare OnzO is available in the city. There are bikes parked around the city, unlock using the app, then leave anywhere once you finish. $0.25/15min
By cable car
By taxiAs in all New Zealand cities, taxi rates vary according to the company. There is a "flagfall" charge, then a per kilometre charge once the cab starts moving. Extra fees apply for things like airport pickup, phone booking, electronic payment etc. Major taxi companies in Wellington include (alphabetically) Combined, Corporate, Green and Kiwi. There are many alternate taxi companies and taxis are usually in plentiful supply.
Check the door of the taxi before you get in for the current approved fare rates.
phone: +64 4 384-4444
phone: +64 4 387-4600
phone: +64 4 801-5808
phone: +64 4 389-9999
By carAs noted above, driving in the core of Wellington is generally not necessary or as convenient as walking. However, it's not particularly difficult once you learn the one-way system, nor is traffic a big worry outside of normal rush-hour periods.
In the suburbs immediately surrounding the city, coupon parking zones exist in conjunction with Resident Only parking. In the Coupon Zones, two hours of parking are free. Beyond that you must display a coupon to allow you to park for the entire day. These are available at convenience stores for $5 each. Enforcement of the Coupon Zones is 08:00-18:00. Resident Zones are generally reserved for residents (displaying a current permit) at all times, and you may be served with a ticket for parking there without a permit.
On the weekend, metered car parking is free, with a two-hour time limit on both days.
By boatThe Eastbourne ferry service, which provides regular services between Queens Wharf and Days Bay in Eastbourne, also stops at Somes Island most trips.
phone: +64 4 817 9503address: Molesworth Street, ThorndonHome of New Zealand's lawmakers and leaders, the complex consists of four building: the Beehive (or Executive Wing), Parliament House, the Parliamentary Library and Bowen House. The grounds of Parliament are open to the public, and free tours of the buildings are available from the visitor centre located between the Beehive and Parliament House. Depending on parliamentary business, tours may include a visit to the House of Representatives debating chamber and the Select Committee rooms. For security reasons, you need to leave all your belongings at the visitor centre and clear a checkpoint.
Old Government BuildingsThis is the largest wooden building in the southern hemisphere and the second-largest in the world. It is now the home of Victoria University Law School.
phone: +64 4 918 8222address: 85 Lambton QuayThe Supreme Court was established in January 2004 to replace the UK Privy Council as New Zealand's highest court, and primarily hears appeals from the Court of Appeal (New Zealand's second-highest court). The Supreme Court complex was completed in January 2010, extending on and incorporating the old 1879-built High Court building. The building is open to the public, but you can only look at the courtroom through a window. If you want to see inside the courtroom, join a free tour available three times a week.
address: 70 Molesworth StDisplays New Zealand's three constitutional documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Waitangi and the Women's Suffrage petition.
Museums and galleries
phone: +64 4 381-7000address: 55 Cable StNew Zealand's national museum contains interesting exhibitions on the country's history and culture and includes several shops. It has the only complete colossal squid on display.
phone: +64 4 472-8904address: Queens Wharf, 3 Jervois QuayA well-presented museum of the history of Wellington, including its maritime history.
address: Civic SquareLacks a permanent collection but runs a consistently avant-garde set of exhibits. It also has the excellent café, Nikau, attached to it.
phone: +64 4 910-3140address: 40 Salamanca Rd, KelburnCarter offers a state of the art planetarium show, along with multi media exhibits show how early Māori, Polynesian and European settlers navigated their way to New Zealand.
address: 1A Upland Rd, Kelburn
address: 80 Webb StA small museum.
address: 25 Tinakori RoadVictorian house where the author Katherine Mansfield was born, and lived for her first five years. The house is furnished as it would have been in the 1890s.
address: 68 Nairn StreetPreserved cottage built in 1858 and kept in the same family until it became a museum, with an exhibition on its history. The small garden is open every day.
National Tattoo Museum of New Zealandaddress: 187 Vivian StHistory of tattooing in New Zealand and the Pacific, especially traditional Maori tattooing.
address: 2 The TerraceSmall museum on the economic history of the country, with an unusual analog water powered computer.
address: 52/44-52 The TerraceSmall museum with prison related artefacts, has a mock up prison cell.
Plimmer's ArkA hundred years ago a bank was built on top of a wrecked ship that had been used as a market. When they renovated the building they discovered the ship's timbers and preserved the remains in the building! Just take the escalator down through the bank vault doors
Turnbull Houseaddress: Bowen StreetThis imposing brick mansion now seems small and out of place amongst the surrounding high-rises.
Old St Paul'sThis was the Anglican centre for decades. Superseded by the new cathedral north of Parliament, this one is popular for weddings and funerals.
National War MemorialA tall art deco memorial dedicated in 1932 in National War Memorial Park. The Australian Memorial was added in 2015 when the area around the memorial was extended to form the park. Carillons (bells) are rung 12:30 every Wed and Fri, 14:30 every Sun.
Lookout pointsWellington City is surrounded by hills, so there are a number of good vantage points.
phone: +64 4 472-2199From Lambton Quay (next to the McDonald's). The easiest way to get a nice view of the city and harbour, the Cable Car runs on rails from Lambton Quay to the Botanic Garden in Kelburn every ten minutes.
Mount Victoriaaddress: off Lookout Rd196 m high, this is the best lookout in Wellington. The full 360-degree view is a great place to see the airport, the harbour, the CBD and the Town Belt with just a turn of the head. It takes about an hour to walk up from Courtenay Place. Many tourist buses go there but also a lot of the locals, especially at night to 'watch the view'.
Mount Kaukauaddress: off Woodmancote Road, Khandallah455 m high, and easily recognisable by the 122-metre television transmitter atop it. A great lookout point, but not as close to the city as Mt Victoria.
Wrights HillMore views, and World War II underground tunnels which are open to the public on public holidays for a small fee.
Brooklyn Wind Turbineaddress: off Ashton Fitchett Dr, BrooklynAnother great place to go to get an excellent view of the city, the harbour, and Cook Strait, plus experience the wind! The current turbine was installed in 2016 and is the second on the site; the first was erected in 1993 to test the potential of turning Wellington's infamous wind into electricity.
Massey Memorialaddress: Massey Road, MiramarAn interesting place to go if you want to see a large memorial in the middle of nowhere, with a good view of the surrounding harbour. The memorial's namesake is William Massey, Prime Minister of New Zealand between 1912 and 1925.
phone: +64 4 920-9213address: Waiapu Rd, KaroriA predator-proof fence encloses an old water catchment area, forming a mainland island that provides a natural haven for endangered native birds, tuatara, wētā, and other indigenous flora and fauna, safe from introduced predators. By far the most convenient place in the country to see rare New Zealand wildlife.
Matiu/Somes IslandOut in the middle of the harbour, this island has its share of history. It was once a quarantine station for immigrants, and later (and more extensively) for animals. It was also an internment camp for "dangerous" individuals during both world wars. The ferry leaves from Queen's Wharf and Day's Bay (on opposite sides of the harbour). Only at certain times will the ferry stop at the island and only upon request. The best choice is to leave Queen's Wharf at noon and return at 14:30 or 15:25.
Weta WorkshopThe studio that made the hit movie trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Tours must be booked online in advance. Also features a gift shop where you can buy Lord of the Rings memorabilia.
Parks and gardens
- The Botanic Garden is a nice place to go for a picnic, or just an afternoon walk (or run for a challenging fitness experience). You can take the Cable Car from Lambton Quay for a quick 5-minute trip to the top; but it is not designed to be exciting, despite being photogenic. If you're keen on walking up, take the lifts in the James Cook Arcade (or one of several others along Lambton Quay) up to The Terrace, head south uphill until you reach Salamanca Rd. Head uphill up Salamanca Rd until you reach Victoria University. A set of stairs on the opposite side of the road to the Hunter Lawn goes uphill right to the top of the Gardens. If you already shelled out for a Busabout Daypass ticket, just catch the Mairangi bus, get off at the stop after the University, and walk back along Upland Rd until you reach the Cable Car Museum. At the top of the Gardens, there are several attractions:
- The Cable Car Museum has two of the old cars in semi-restored and fully-restored condition and some of the original Cable Car machinery from the system that was replaced in 1978.
- The Lookout has a great view day or night, and the large map next to the round tree usually has a few pamphlets with maps of the Gardens.
- The Carter Observatory is a stones throw from here. This is the perfect place to explore the Garden from, or wander back to the city.
Bolton Street Memorial ParkWatch out for the friendly black cat who haunts this hillside cemetery. If you're returning from the Botanic Gardens by foot, this is great place to meander through and check out the epitaphs of early pioneers and historical figures. Between 1968 and 1971, over 3700 bodies were controversially exhumed to make way for motorway construction; their remains are now in an underground vault below the Early Settlers Memorial Lawn.
Dive the frigate Wellington (F69)Probably the world's most accessible dive wreck. Just a few kilometres around the coast from Wellington International Airport. Sunk on 13 November 2005 in 23-26 m of water off Island Bay on Wellington's south coast. The wreck lies about 600 m southeast of Taputeranga Island (the island of Island Bay).
Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park
Frank Kitts ParkA great place to wander around, with walls to climb, inline skates, and jet ski rental.
Art Deco Heritage TrailPickup a leaflet or download the guide to this walk around central Wellington looking at the outside of 30 art deco buildings. There are also quite a few other art deco buildings in the centre, so look about as you explore.
Red Rocks/Seal ColonyThis is an interesting walk named for its distinctive red rocks (probably Jasper). The walk along this beach is pleasant but rocky and often very windy, so dress accordingly. If you walk for about an hour you'll come across a distinctive pass though the rock face. Just on the other side of this is a seal colony that is worth the walk. Please bear in mind that these are wild animals and so require a certain level of respect, so keep your distance and don't get between them and the sea, especially if you value your health! Continuing on from here, you will eventually arrive at Makara (but this is a long distance, and the seal colony is a recommended turn-around point).
Skyline WalkwayA 12-km (5- to 6-hr) challenging walk.
address: 5/22 Herd StreetExplore the waterfront in a crocodile-shaped quadricyle. Available in small (2 cyclists) and large (4 cyclists).
phone: +64 4 801 7992address: 1 Taranaki St
phone: +64 4 802 4175address: 1 Kent Tce
- Capital E National Theatre for Children.
phone: +64 4 384-7657address: 10 Kent TerraceThis 1920s heritage-listed theatre is Wellington's premier film venue, and hosted the world premières of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Events and festivals
Beck's Incredible Film FestivalIncredibly strange, exploitation cinema and extra low budget movies.
- Comedy Festival.
Cuba Street CarnivalWellington's largest free street festival is held biennially in March.
New Zealand International Arts FestivalFebruary/March every year.
Out in the ParkAnnual gay and lesbian carnival on the first Saturday of March.
Old Bank Shopping ArcadeSmall upmarket arcade in the former Bank of New Zealand headquarters which opened in 1901. Has an animated musical clock which performs on the hour, and a small display on the remains of a boat washed up here in 1855.
address: 133 Tory StreetThe red shed for cheap clothing and household goods.
New Worldaddress: 279 Wakefield StMain central supermarket, with small stores in the Railway Station and on Willis Street.
address: cnr Queens Dr & Bunny St, Lower Hutt CentralThe largest shopping mall in the Lower North Island, with over 175 stores in 45,000 m². Part of the mall was demolished after the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, meaning it no longer has a cinema complex.
Away from Courtenay Place in the CBD district (Lambton Quay) there are many after work bars frequented by office workers, however this area becomes deserted in the later hours, and thus these establishments usually do not provide all night partying.
phone: +64 4 4738482address: 1 Bunny StDorm beds from $29. Single room with shared bathroom $70. The travel desk on the ground floor can help with booking transport and activities.
phone: +64 4 385-8560address: 152 Taranaki St
phone: +64 4 978 7800address: 118-120 Wakefield St
address: 291 The Terrace
address: 292 Wakefield St
Rowena's Lodgephone: +64 4 385-7872address: 115 Brougham StCamp sites from $15, dorms $23.
phone: +64 4 830-0990address: 57 Manners St, CBDFree Wi-Fi & Sky TV.
phone: +64 4 922-2800address: 300 Lambton Quay (vehicle entrance: 14 Gilmer Terrace)Four star plus, suite style hotel. Rooms on the Gilmer Terrace side face directly onto the steep hill the hotel sits on and have no view.
phone: +64 4 801-0780address: 70 Tory StStudio rooms, 1 & 2 bedroom apartments and penthouse suites.
phone: +64 4 802-8900address: 90 Cable StIn one of the largest ever building relocations, this hotel was moved across the street in 1993 to make way for Te Papa museum.
phone: +64 4 472-2722address: 2 Grey StAdjacent to the waterfront, InterContinental Wellington is the only internationally-branded 5 star hotel in Wellington.
phone: +64-4-260-5000address: 101 The TerraceHotel opened in 2016. Rooms have some cooking facilities.
Shared house (longer stays)A better way to get to know more locals and experience some NZ culture (if that's what you are looking for) is a shared house (a "flat" in NZ English). These are an option for stays of a month in summer while students are away – usually flats are taken for the year or at least several months). Look for "Flatmates wanted" in the local Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday newspaper (Dominion Post) classifieds.
Flats are much cheaper and usually well furnished already by the other tenants in the communal rooms. You may need to provide your own bed (you could buy a cheap one second hand for the summer), or they might be able lend you one. All flatmates share the rent, bills and chores, and occasionally food, meals and even washing too. Some flats come fully furnished, but this is not the norm.
To find flats, the locals use www.trademe.co.nz
Wellington Central LibraryIt's huge with great places to sit and read or if you bring your laptop to connect home via one of the city's paid-for Wi-Fi networks.
phone: +64 4 909 7625Free Wi-Fi is available on the waterfront between the Railway Station and Te Papa. This is paid for by some adverts.
Occasionally, tourists relax security in New Zealand thinking that it is a crime-free paradise. While violent crime against tourists is very rare (and is usually followed up by public outrage against the offenders), opportunistic petty crime can still occur. Taking simple steps like locking valuables away and keeping to well-lit areas at night usually prevents problems.
Vehicle break-ins are common, especially in shopping malls and 'park and ride' type car parks. Thieves generally target older vehicles with less complicated locks. Removing all valuables and leaving the glove box open (to show that no valuables are hidden) will usually act as a deterrent. Police will normally give you a copy of their report for insurance purposes, but it is very unusual for any stolen property to be recovered and returned to its owner.
Wellington Central Police Stationphone: +64 4 381-2000address: 41 Victoria StIn any emergency, dial 111
phone: +64 4 384 4944address: 17 Adelaide Rd, Mount CookHas on-site x-ray and plastering for fractures and attached pharmacy.
Embassies, High Commissions and consulatesAlthough there are 41 foreign missions in Wellington, some countries may have representatives in other cities such as Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Nelson and Queenstown. In some cases the consular officials accredited to New Zealand from your country may actually be based in another country such as Australia or China! The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) maintains a useful list.
Details listed on Wikivoyage, such as telephone numbers and opening hours, are typically those of the consulate or consular section rather than for the embassy or High Commission itself.
Greater Wellington regionThe Greater Wellington region is far bigger than just Wellington City. The old Wellington Province used to cover much of the southern half of the North Island, including the Manawatu and Wanganui regions.
There are three other cities that are close enough to Wellington City that together they form a single metro – the Wellington metropolitan area. The cities are Porirua, Lower Hutt (sometimes erroneously called "Hutt City", after its local council's self-chosen name) and Upper Hutt. The latter two cities may be referred to together as the Hutt Valley.
There are two other districts outside the Wellington metro that make up the Greater Wellington: the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa.
There are a number of interesting sights and beaches in the Hutt Valley and Porirua. Plimmerton, for example, has seen future world windsurfing champions training, and Edmund Hillary practised rock-climbing at Titahi Bay before conquering Everest.
The suburbs of Eastbourne and Days Bay are on the eastern side of Wellington Harbour. They can be reached by car, bus or ferry. There are a number of enjoyable hill walks in both Days Bay and Eastbourne. The East By West ferry service departs from Queens Wharf (Wellington) and travels to Days Bay Wharf, some services will stop on request at Somes Island (in the middle of the harbour). On weekends and public holidays the ferry also operates a harbour tour service which stops at Petone Wharf and Seatoun.
The Kapiti Coast as referred to as 'The Nature Coast' is a beautiful mix of beaches and lush native scenery. Spend the day at the beaches, near a river, or taking a walk through one of the many beautiful trails surrounding the hills and valleys bordering the coastline.
Further afield, the south Wairarapa has become one of New Zealand's wine growing regions. Tranzit run a wine tasting tour that leaves from Wellington Railway station each morning and visits four vineyards in the Wairarapa town of Martinborough, $199.
South IslandBluebridge and the Interislander ferry companies sail across Cook Strait to Picton in the South Island through the Marlborough Sounds. The ferries take bikes, cars, buses and trains and the scenery on a good day is spectacular. The ferries are substantial ships designed for the sometimes rough conditions and the journey takes 3-3.5h.
Sounds Air provides flights to Blenheim, Picton and Nelson.