WELLINGTON / TE WHANGANUI-A-TARA
At the bottom of the North Island, tucked between mountains and sea and around one of the most picturesque city harbours you’ll ever see, New Zealand’s capital city is compact, quirky, sophisticated, arty and packed with natural and national treasures.
Upon arriving in Wellington, you’ll soon see why travel publisher Lonely Planet often singles out the city as a top destination (2019: Best NZ Destination; 2017: Best NZ Destination for Beer Lovers). It’s known as a foodie heaven and has some excellent cafes, bars and breweries to sample, while the coffee here has the reputation as being the best in the country.
The wonderful thing about Wellington is that it’s easy to get around on foot. In fact, sometimes the quickest way to get from one side of the city to the other is to take a scenic walk along the harbour, enjoying the diversity of the public art, the waterfront cafes and all the people-watching on the way.
Your Haka guide will give you a quick orientation tour of Wellington’s top spots including Mt Victoria, but if you want to read up on the city’s highlights before arriving, check out this blog post. Wellington is the last North Island destination before we cross to Picton in the South Island (or the first, if you’re coming the other way!) via the magnificent scenery of the Marlborough Sounds.
A VIBRANT CULTURE-DRIVEN HOT SPOT
This city has more galleries than you can shake a stick at, some magnificent museums – one of which, Te Papa, is justifiably famous for its world-class interactive exhibitions – a thriving theatrical scene, a lively music scene and is the headquarters for the NZ SChool of Dance and Performance.
All this art, song and dance requires good food and drink to fuel it. It’s no accident that the creative quarter and the top culinary areas are neighbours! Cuba Street and Courtenay Place are main foodie thoroughfares, but if you pop down one of the many alleyways decorated with bright murals you may just find Wellington’s best bars, boutique chocolatiers, coffee joints and dumpling houses.
Photo Credits: WellingtonNZ, Miles Holden, Tourism New Zealand, Jeff McEwan, Petra Cortright
WETA AND WELLYWOOD
Thanks largely to Peter Jackson, a merry band of hobbits and the creative wizards at Weta Workshop, Wellington has the well-deserved reputation as being the movie-making capital of New Zealand. One of the favourite add-on activities for toursthat visit Wellington is a chance to get behind the scenes of Weta Workshop which designs and handcrafts the props and masterminds the special effects in films such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Avatar, Tintin, Mortal Engines, District 9 and the Thunderbirds are Go TV series. Film geeks will rejoice as you will be guided around the various props and displays by an actual prop artist – you’ll leave the tour feeling awed and inspired.
WELLINGTON'S INFAMOUS WIND & NATURAL BEAUTY
It’s fair to say that a calm, breeze-less day is not really the norm here. Wellingtonians are very used to walking around their city in a stiff breeze or gale force wind, but first-time visitors should be warned that an umbrella is likely to blow inside out, and those who like their hair to be perfectly in place will perhaps embrace ‘the wind-swept look’ by the end of their time here.
Wellington is blessed with a beautiful harbour (where sometimes orca and dolphins make an appearance) and is surrounded by forested hills rich in birdsong thanks to the presence of two nearby eco-sanctuaries. The eco-sanctuaries have been so successful in helping increase the population of native birds that you may notice (or rather, hear) kaka – large, forest-dwelling parrots – flying above the city, especially near Mt Victoria.
Tours including Wellington
North Island Adventure Tour
Enjoy adventure activities, incredible scenery and fascinating Māori culture as we show you the highlights between Auckland to Wellington.View tour
A sample platter of North and the South Island highlights including the Coromandel, Tongariro, Rotorua, Kaikoura & Christchurch.View tour
Visit Queenstown, Wanaka, glaciers & rainforests then see more of the South Island on the world famous TranzAlpine rail journey.View tour
New Zealand Uncovered
Uncover all the beauty, adventure, culture and fun activities of New Zealand and tick practically everything off your bucket list.View tour
Amplified NZ Tour
Discover the best of the North and South Island. Tours run from Auckland to Christchurch, or Christchurch to Auckland.View tour
South Island Adrenalin Junkie Tour
Starting in Christchurch, we’ll get your pulse racing at these Southern highlights including the West Coast & Queenstown’s adventure playground.View tour
Legendary NZ Tour
Our Legendary Tour lives up to its name, with stupendous scenery, bucket loads of adventure and eye-opening cultural experiences.View tour
Epic NZ Tour
Discover more of NZ than most New Zealanders, as you thoroughly explore the best of both the North and South Islands.View tour
An unrushed exploration of the North Island’s top attractions including the Coromandel, Tongariro National Park, Rotorua & Wellington.View tour
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