Wellington, capital city of our close neighbour New Zealand, has more to offer than just government buildings. It’s a thriving social and cultural hub with vibrant shopping, world-class waterfront dining and museums that celebrate New Zealand’s unique art, history and heritage. Many travellers bypass Wellington on their way to the Queenstown ski fields or the Marlborough and Otago wine regions, but spare just 24 hours and you’ll get a taste for what wonderful Wellington has to offer.
Rise and shine!
Start your morning with an early cable car ride from Lambton Quay Terminus to the top of the cable car route. Once at the top, wander back down towards the bay through the stunning Botanic Gardens. Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses at the Lady Norwood Rose Garden. This walk will take you past the historic Turnbull House, the Parliament Building, Old Government Buildings and finishes up at the 19th century St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is well worth wandering around too.
From the Cathedral, head to Wellington’s iconic waterfront on Oriental Bay to Jervoise Quay, where you can check out some of the city’s many sculptures like the Albatross, the Len Lye Water Whirler and Fruits of the Garden.
Treasures of Wellington
Next, it’s on to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Togarewa. Explore Maori history and cultural treasures, get up close and personal with a colossal squid or spend a few hours with the national art collection.
Take some time out to sit back and enjoy the view with lunch on the waterfront at White Bait or Martin Bosley’s Yacht Club Restaurant. For a more relaxed dining atmosphere, check out Logan Brown on Cuba Street, or Pravda in Lambton Quay. After lunch, all Lord of the Rings fans should stop by Weta Workshop, where Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings creations were transformed from dreams into reality. Indulge in a gelato from Kafee Eis for a late afternoon pick-me-up before heading up to Zealandia wildlife sanctuary for a night tour where visitors can see many of New Zealand’s iconic, nocturnal creatures in action.
Wellington’s Best Bars
Your whirlwind tour of Wellington isn’t over yet; it’s time hit the town in search of refreshing libations. Take a trip down the rabbit hole and watch the night get curioser and curioser at Alice. Behind a bright yellow door lies a world oversized clocks, cocktails served in teapots and mad as March Hare bartenders. If you’re a vinophile, head to The Library for an extensive wine list of obscure wines. Hidden inside two historic cottages on Wigan Street is Havana, Wellington’s local speakeasy style bar, where you can enjoy Cuban hospitality and a fine selection of rum, cigars and coffee.
The Final Word
Even though New Zealand’s just a hop, skip and jump over the Tasman sea, it’s a good idea to take travel insurance with you. Policies vary depending on location, traveller age and the activities planned. It’s important to compare policies to find one that matches your itinerary, budget and individual needs.
Check out our guide to New Zealand Travel Insurance to help you find a great value policy. Happy travels!