Wellington is an international gateway to NZ. Wellington Airport has the usual slew of airport accoutrements: info kiosks, currency exchange, ATMs, car-rental desks, shops, espresso… If you’re in transit or have an early flight, note that you can’t linger overnight inside the terminal.
Domestic services include:
- Air New Zealand Flies to/from Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Gisborne, Napier, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Kapiti Coast, Nelson, Blenheim, Christchurch, Timaru, Queenstown, Dunedin and Invercargill.
- Golden Bay Air (www.goldenbayair.co.nz) Takaka
- Jetstar (www.jetstar.com) Auckland, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin.
- Sounds Air Taupo, Blenheim, Picton, Nelson and Westport.
Wellington Airport is 6km southeast of the city. Wellington Combined Shuttles provides a door-to-door minibus service (15 minutes) between the city and airport. It’s cheaper if two or more passengers are travelling to the same destination. Shuttles meet all arriving flights.
The Airport Flyer bus runs between the airport, Wellington Railway Station and Lower Hutt every 20 minutes (every 10 minutes in peak hours) from around 7am to 9pm.
A taxi between the city centre and the airport takes around 15 minutes and costs about $30.
On a clear day, sailing into Wellington Harbour or into Picton in the Marlborough Sounds is magical. Cook Strait can cut up rough, but the big ferries handle it well, and offer the distractions of sport lounges, cafes, bars, information desks and cinemas.
Car-hire companies allow you to pick up and drop off vehicles at ferry terminals. If you arrive outside business hours, arrangements can be made to collect your vehicle from the terminal car park.
There are two ferry options:
Bluebridge Ferries Up to four sailings between Wellington and Picton daily (3½ hours).
Interislander Up to five sailings between Wellington and Picton daily; crossings take 3¼ to 3½ hours. A free shuttle bus heads from platform 9 at Wellington Railway Station to Aotea Quay, 50 minutes before every daytime sailing and returns 20 minutes after every arrival.
Wellington is a major terminus for North Island bus serves.
InterCity coaches depart from platform 9 at Wellington Railway Station. Destinations include Auckland (from $28, 11¼ hours, three daily), Rotorua (from $26, 7½ hours, three daily), Taupo (from $26, six, hours, four daily), Napier (from $19, 5¼ hours, two daily) and Palmerston North (from $15, 2¼ hours, six daily).
Mana Bus departs from Bunny St, opposite the railway station. It has two daily services to Auckland (from $25, 11½ hours), Hamilton (from $30, nine hours), Rotorua (from $25, 7¼ hours), Taupo (from $23, 6¼ hours) and Palmerston North (from $15, two hours), one of which is an overnight sleeper service where you can pay extra for a bed.
Metlink commuter trains head as far as Paekakariki ($10.50, 46 minutes, every 30 minutes), Paraparaumu ($12, 55 minutes, every 30 minutes), Waikanae ($13, one hour, every 30 minutes) and Masterton ($18, 1¾ hours, six on weekdays, two on weekends).
Three days a week the Northern Explorer heads to/from Palmerston North (from $59, two hours), Ohakune (from $79, five hours), National Park Village (from $79, 5¼ hours), Hamilton (from $139, 8½ hours) and Auckland (from $139, 11 hours).
The daily Capital Connection heads from Palmerston North ($35, two hours), Waikanae ($15, 55 minutes) and Paraparaumu ($10, 48 minutes) to Wellington on weekday mornings, returning in the evening.