A small city with a big reputation, Wellington is most famous for being NZ’s capital. It is infamous for its weather, particularly the gale-force winds wont to barrel through, wrecking umbrellas and obliterating hairdos. It also lies on a major fault line. And negotiating the inner-city one-way system is like the Krypton Factor on acid.
But don’t be deterred. ‘Welly’ is a wonderful city, voted 'the coolest little capital in the world' in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel (2011). For a starter it’s lovely to look at, draped around bushy hillsides encircling a magnificent harbour. There are super lookouts on hilltops, golden sand on the prom, and spectacular craggy shores along the south coast. Downtown, the city is compact and vibrant, buoyed by a surprising number of museums, theatres, galleries and boutiques. A cocktail- and caffeine-fuelled hospitality scene fizzes and pops among the throng.
Best places to stay in Wellington
New Zealand - Wellington Region (Chapter)
Wellington's beautiful harbour, walkable waterfront and some of the freshest city air on the planet will blow away the cobwebs with its 'cultural capital' tag, including art-house cinemas, funky boutiques, hip bars and live-music venues.
Top 10 walking tours for globetrotting foodies
The best – and tastiest – way to fast-track your understanding of a city's cuisine is to embark on a guided walking tour that includes sampling the local food. Tuck into the best offerings from street food stalls, meet chefs at cafes and restaurants, and local producers at markets.
New Zealand's North Island - Wellington Region (Chapter)
Wellington's beautiful harbour, walkable waterfront and some of the freshest city air on the planet will blow away the cobwebs with its 'cultural capital' tag of art-house cinemas, funky boutiques, hip bars and live-music venues.
Wellington destination guides
New Zealand's best spots - as picked by Lonely Planet staffers
Lonely Planet's New Zealand guidebook is full of great ways to cover the whole of this surprisingly large country. There are quite a few New Zealanders populating the LP offices so, we thought we'd ask them for their favourite spots. Here are their suggestions: Fierce blue seas.
Wellington's Lord of the Rings Half Day Tour
Follow in the footsteps of Bilbo, Frodo and Gandalf on a half-day 'Lord of the Rings' tour from Wellington. See where Middle-earth was created in New Zealand’s beautiful countryside on this Wellington 'Lord of the Rings' tour, and discover why the scenic region was chosen to film the famous ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Hobbit’ movies.
Wellington City Sightseeing Small-Group Tour
Journey into the heart of Wellington on this city sightseeing small-group tour. From its unearthly south coast to its bizarre central Beehive, the contrasts and quirkiness of Wellington's wonders are unequaled anywhere on earth. Travel by cable car to the top of Mt Victoria, visit the Parliament buildings and Te Papa - the national museum.