It might be small in size, but when it comes to museums, galleries, theatres, shopping and quirky cafes and restaurants – it is truly mighty. You can see a lot in a short time here – the compact central city is only two kilometres in diameter, which means you can walk across it in under 30 minutes. 

This charming city, with steep streets and historic bungalows, is located between rolling green hills within a sparkling harbour. On a sunny day, the sandy shores of Oriental Bay are lined with sunbathers and swimmers. Courtenay Place, the theatre district, comes to life after dark with world-class entertainment.

As the nation’s capital it’s also home to New Zealand’s government and it’s where Parliament have their regular meetings and debates. A stroll past the iconic Beehive building in the central city (pictured below) is worth a look.

There is something here for everyone. Museums and galleries for artsy culture lovers, stunning trails for outdoor enthusiasts and superb local restaurants for foodies. Take the iconic cable car up the hill to the leafy suburb of Kelburn for stunning views of the city, then stroll through the lush Botanical Gardens.

No trip to New Zealand would be complete without a visit to the capital, so come see for yourself why Wellington has earned so many accolades.

Beehive, Wellington

Activities & Attractions


Wellington is said to have more bars and restaurants per capita than New York. The city offers everything from Japanese noodles to Turkish kebabs to Mexican burritos and much more.

Try the 1154 Pastaria, a bright casual spot on bustling Cuba Street where pasta is handmade daily. Or, there’s Frenchie, a creative bistro where traditional French culinary techniques are applied to New Zealand produce.

Another acclaimed local favourite is Logan Brown, which has been around since 1996 and serves up innovative dishes made with local ingredients, in a beautiful historic building from the 1920s.


Whether you are a casual weekend walker or a serious trekker, there are plenty of great walks to choose from around Wellington.

The Southern Walkway passed through the Wellington Town Belt, from Oriental Bay to Island Bay. You’ll get to see Mount Victoria, the Wellington Zoo and a handful of parks along the way.

The Rimutaka Rail Trail is also an intriguing journey that will take you through historic tunnels and restored bridges. You can also take the 30 minute drive from Wellington to Makara Beach and walk along the 6 kilometre loop of Makara Walkway.

Here’s the view from the look out from up Mt Victoria, towering above the city:

Wellington, Mt Victoria


Wellington offers a lot of great shopping options. Take a walk down the “Golden Mile” which consists of Courtenay Place, Manners Street, Willis Street and Lambton Quay. It has some of the best shopping in the capital. If you are looking for beautiful, stylish, ethically sourced fashion you will find it in local boutiques such as Ena, Kowtow and The Service Depot.

Cuba Street is also a great place to look for antiques, vintage items and unique fashions. Plus, don’t miss the Wellington Night Market, which is held off Cuba Street every Friday and showcases local arts, crafts and artisan foods.


The biggest museum in New Zealand is in Wellington, Te Papa Tongarewa, the national museum of New Zealand.

Te Papa means “Our Place” and this museum teaches New Zealand history in a wonderfully interactive way. The best part is that this excellent museum offers free entry. Check the Te Papa website to know what big exhibitions they have on. Recent exhibitions include a preserved colossal squid, and ancient terracotta warriors from China.

You can also visit the Wellington Museum, located in the historic 1892 Bond Store building. This museum tells the story of Wellington’s history and was voted one of the Top 50 Museums in the World.

If you’re fascinated by the past you might also want to visit the Colonial Cottage Museum – where you can get a glimpse of what life would have been like for the Wallis family who lived in the home in the 19th century.

We would also recommend the Weta Cave – not just for the movie buffs out there. The exhibits are of the fantastical props for ‘Lord of the Rings’ & other films, plus a documentary & studio souvenirs. It brings to life all the behind the scenes magic of the Oscar award-winning team at Weta Workshop.

Weta Cave, Wellington

History & Culture

Wellington has always been a desirable location as its position near the geographical centre of the country makes it well-situated for trade. Kupe is thought to be the first Polynesian explorer to come to Wellington in 950 AD and he was followed by Tara.

Captain Cook arrived in 1773 and in 1839 it was chosen as the first major planned British settlement in New Zealand. It was named after Arthur Wellesley, otherwise known as the first Duke of Wellington, who was victorious in the Battle of Waterloo. The first settlers arrived on the ship Aurora. In 1865 the government was moved from Auckland to Wellington, due to the central location.

One of the most significant events in Wellington’s history is the Wahine Disaster of 1968, one of the most famous shipping disasters in New Zealand. The ship was capsized by a huge storm and 51 people lost their lives.

Key Facts

  • Wellington has an excellent public transport system that will take you anywhere in the city you want to go. Use the Metlink journey planner to help you navigate the trains, busses and ferries. Get a Snapper Card – it’s a faster and cheaper way to pay.
  • The town centre is so small and compact that you might not even need to use public transport. Simply bring a pair of walking shoes and use your feet to get around!
  • Make sure you bring a wind-resistant jacket with you. Wellington is known for being quite blustery. Don’t worry, it’s also pretty sunny too. Wellington has an average of 2,000 sunshine hours per year.
  • Wellington is home to around 10% of New Zealand’s population – which is around 500,000 people.
  • Deutsche Bank named Wellington as the city with the Best Quality of Life in a 2018 study. It was compared to 50 other cities around the world and it took the top spot.
  • Free hour long tours of Wellington’s parliament buildings are available every day.

Wellington with MoaTrek

MoaTrek tours that visit Wellington include the following;

  • Two nights in Wellington so you can thoroughly explore “the coolest little capital in the world” and personalise your tour with any optional activities you select.
  • Tour the sights of Wellington before heading up Mt Victoria for stunning views over the harbour.
  • Visit Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Musem.
  • Enjoy your centrally located accommodation a short walk to the beating heart of Wellington’s mix of museums, theatres, galleries, boutiques and cafes.
  • Take a cruise on the Interislander ferry through the Marlborough Sounds from Wellington to Picton.
  • Make sure to ask your friendly Kiwi guide their favourite coffee, restaurant and bar choices. Wellington has a great selection to choose from and local knowledge is always good.

Some of our recommended optional activities include a Lord of the Rings day tour, Zealandia Native Bird Sanctuary, and local wine and food tasting tours.


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