According to Maori legend, Wellington Harbour was discovered by the explorer Kupe way back in AD 925. It was a further nine centuries before the earliest European visitors arrived to settle here, and from 1840, they started to arrive in large numbers. They named the settlement after the first Duke of Wellington and it was made the capital city of New Zealand in 1865. Today, it’s the southernmost capital on the planet. When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by its large harbour set in a beautiful wooded landscape.

It has taken Wellington a while to fully establish itself as a tourist destination in its own right. In the past, the city was very much in the shadow of its bigger rival, Auckland, and was mostly used as a stopping point en route to the ferry to the South Island.

Today, visitors come to the city for its rich artistic and cultural scene, as well as its global reputation for movie making. Dubbed “Wellywood” by some visitors, Wellington is home to incredible sound stages, studios and special effects houses, which have made the city a major player in the international film industry. International blockbusters like The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Avatar have been produced here.

When you arrive, head to the waterfront area and spend some time exploring the national museum of Te Papa, and the Museum of Wellington City and Sea.

If the hustle and bustle of the town isn’t for you, or you want some quiet time, the ocean and the beautiful countryside are right on Wellington’s doorstep. Wander along some of the walking trails that take you through the hills, or relax at Oriental Bay Beach close to the town centre.

Another great way to take in the views is on the short eight-minute ride on the famous Wellington Cable Car. At the top of the hill, enjoy the Wellington Botanic Garden and the lookout at Kelburn, before boarding the free shuttle bus, which will whisk you off to Zealandia where you can explore the country as it once was prior to the arrival of settlers.

Wellington also boasts plenty of good restaurants, cafés, theatres and nightclubs. You’ll never be far away from your next adventure in this compact city.

Known for

Shopping, Museums and Skyscrapers

Top hotels in Wellington

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Image for Rydges Wellington
Rydges Wellington
4.5 out of 5
75 Featherston St, Wellington
AU$170/night
25 Aug. - 26 Aug.
4.4/5Excellent! (2,501 reviews)

Located in the heart of Wellington, this luxury hotel is steps from Old Government Buildings, Wellington Central Business District, and Wellington Waterfront. ...

4.4/5Excellent! (2,501 reviews)

"Great location, very comfy beds. If can provide couple cooking pans or pots, will be better. Highly recommend."…"

Reviewed on 20 Aug. 2019

Rydges Wellington
Image for ibis Wellington
ibis Wellington
3.5 out of 5
153 Featherston St, Wellington
AU$105/night
15 Sep. - 16 Sep.
4.2/5Very Good! (2,636 reviews)

Located in the heart of Wellington, this hotel is steps from Lambton Quay, Wellington Central Business District, and Wellington Waterfront. Old Government Buildings ...

4.2/5Very Good! (2,636 reviews)

"Central location to walk to landmarks, attractions and restaurants. Car park is a little snug. A little dated however would stay there again as was comfortable, clean and good location."…"

Reviewed on 20 Aug. 2019

ibis Wellington
Image for Rydges Wellington Airport
Rydges Wellington Airport
4 out of 5
28 Stewart Duff Drive, Rongotai, Wellington
AU$112/night
26 Aug. - 27 Aug.
4.5/5Wonderful! (200 reviews)

Situated in Wellington, this luxury hotel is 2 mi (3.3 km) from The Weta Cave and 2.4 mi (3.9 km) from Wellington Zoo. Mount Victoria Lookout and Courtenay Place ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (200 reviews)

"Perfect hotel for transit or if you get in late like our flight did."…"

Reviewed on 23 Aug. 2019

Rydges Wellington Airport

Popular activities in Wellington

Te Papa
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Te Papa

Get hands on as you learn about the heritage of these islands at New Zealand's free national museum.

Courtenay Place
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Courtenay Place

Shop, wine and dine in this culinary hot spot on one of Wellington's most fashionable streets.

Cuba Street Mall
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Cuba Street Mall

Enjoy artisan coffees, sample specialty foods, browse through vintage shops or hunt for retro bargains in Wellington's bohemian heart.

Wellington Zoo
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Photo provided by Positively Wellington

Wellington Zoo

Get up close to cuddly big cats, playful pandas, elegant giraffes and cheeky gibbons at the country's oldest zoo.

Beehive
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Beehive

Explore the corridors of power on a tour of the unique beehive-shaped home of New Zealand’s Parliament.

Mount Victoria Lookout
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Mount Victoria Lookout

Stroll along a scenic walkway through a pretty Wellington Town Belt reserve to this lookout for spectacular panoramic views of the city.

Top activities in Wellington

Wellington City Sights & Coastline Tour
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Wellington City Sights & Coastline Tour

AU$42

Get acquainted with New Zealand's second largest city, the world's most southerly capital. Take in spectacular views of this city surrounded by water—its iconic architectural landmarks as well as its scenic coast—from the most stunning vantage points.

Lord of the Rings Tour
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Lord of the Rings Tour

AU$90

Lord of the Rings fans unite on this tour of the sprawling New Zealand countryside, where the majority of the famous movie series was filmed. Visit locations you remember from the movies, explore the stunning natural environment, and learn secrets of how the films' epic scenes came to be.

Wellington Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass
Image for Wellington Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass

Wellington Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass

AU$43

A great guided tour and Wellington’s 10 best hop-off stops Hop on board one of our minibuses and traverse Wellington’s winding streets on our intimate and informative 90min guided Tour.

There & Back Again: Weta Cave Workshop Tour
Image for There & Back Again: Weta Cave Workshop Tour

There & Back Again: Weta Cave Workshop Tour

AU$64

Enter the exciting world of filmmaking with this immersive, behind-the-scenes look at New Zealand's Weta Workshop. You’ll enjoy return transfers from Wellington i-SITE to Weta Studio Tours, where you’ll explore the Weta Cave Workshop Tour.

There & Back Again: The Full Experience at Weta Workshop
Image for There & Back Again: The Full Experience at Weta Workshop

There & Back Again: The Full Experience at Weta Workshop

AU$83

Enter the world of Weta Workshop with There and Back Again: The Full Experience, a guided round trip by Weta Studio Tours! You’ll enjoy return transfers from Wellington i-SITE to Weta Studio Tours, where you’ll explore the Weta Cave Workshop Tour and the Miniatures Stage Tour: Thunderbirds Are Go.

Wellington Adrenalin Forest Adventure Park
Image for Wellington Adrenalin Forest Adventure Park

Wellington Adrenalin Forest Adventure Park

AU$43

Unleash your inner ninja and relive your recess days by zipping, jumping, and swinging through the lush tree canopy of the Bay of Plenty. The 6 unique courses offer the perfect opportunity for you to navigate past thrilling obstacles between the trees, on bridges, wires, and extensive ziplines.

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