Wellington lies at the south-western tip of the North Island. It is the capital and second most populous urban area of New Zealand. The city is a veritable urban hub – its vantage point between north and south means you get a little bit of everything. It is a nice combination of scenic harbor and tree-lined suburbs set up on hillsides. Known as the culinary capital of New Zealand, there is no shortage of quirky cafes, crafty bars, award-winning restaurants, and outstanding coffee. Architecture lovers may also rejoice: Lambton Quay’s Edwardian-style Public Trust Building, the colonially-adapted gothic revival style of Old St. Paul’s and St. Mary of the Angels, and Wellington Town Hall will keep you busy.

No stay in Wellington would be complete without a visit to some of its most popular museums. The Te Papa, a combination of the country’s national museum and national art collection, is one of the most impressive cultural centers we’ve ever visited, worldwide. Lord of the Rings fans will relish Peter Jackson’s creations at Weta Workshop, his artistic studio.

If you’ve had your fill of sightseeing, explore the city on foot through a series of interconnected bush walks and reserves; or take to any of the 200 square miles of parks and forests found in the broader Wellington region. If you’d like to glimpse a Kiwi bird during your trip, make your way out to Zealandia, a groundbreaking conservation project that aims to restore a Wellington valley’s forest and freshwater ecosystems as closely as possible to their pre-human state. 

Finally, be sure to catch an All Blacks rugby match if they’re in town. There’s a lot to discover!

Our favorite accommodation in Wellington

Other areas to explore in New Zealand