How to Spend 1 Day in Wellington
Wellington lies right at the heart of New Zealand. The southernmost city on the North Island is the country’s capital and also home to a thriving film industry. This compact city is wrapped around beautiful Wellington Harbour, and is often so breezy that it’s known as Windy Welly. Here’s how to make the most of one day in Wellington.
Morning: Coastal City Fun
Get to know the city with a tour on a hop-on hop-off bus or an electric bike—or just on foot—and see the area’s main attractions, such as the Wellington Zoo, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington Botanic Garden, and the Mt. Victoria Lookout. For a birds-eye view, you could also opt for a scenic helicopter flight.
Alternatively, combine a sightseeing tour with a wildlife “safari” at the coast, which is known for its rugged landscapes and colonies of New Zealand fur seals.Lord of the Rings fans can also visit Middle-earth at nearby filming locations.
Afternoon: Culinary Adventures
Spend your afternoon in Wellington enjoying some of the area’s local food and wines. Browse your way through the eateries along Cuba Street and food stalls at the Underground Market, or book a private or small-group tour and let a local take you behind the scenes and introduce you to food purveyors and their artisan products. If you want to go a little further afield and learn more about New Zealand’s famous wines, opt for a quick tour of the Martinborough wine region and learn about local viticulture while you sip pinot noir and chardonnay.
Night: Special Attractions
Some of Wellington’s most popular attractions are open late and offer special evening tours. Learn about the magic of movie special effects and props at Weta Workshop, and get a hands-on look at “Wellywood” with a tour and that illuminates the artful techniques behind many blockbuster films. If you’d rather spend more time in nature, visit Zealandia, a conservation and wildlife habitat, to try to see the nocturnal little spotted kiwi in its natural habitat. Kids will also enjoy exhibits featuring life-size models of two of New Zealand’s most famous extinct animals, the enormous Haast’s eagle and its prey, the flightless moa.