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Wellington: Our tips for New Zealand's cozy capital

Sometimes you just need a second try. It was like that with us and Wellington. Short review: On our first trip through New Zealand we had already stopped in Wellington, but the spark didn’t really fly. So we decided to give the city a second chance. Luckily – as it turned out, because on our second visit a few years later we absolutely loved Wellington.

New Zealand’s capital is cosy. And: lives up to its nickname. “Windy Welly” is not a myth, because Wellington is actually one of the windiest cities in the world thanks to its exposed location. In this article we show you the most beautiful sights and tell you our very personal tips for Wellington.

1. Wellington: This is what awaits you in New Zealand’s capital With just .000 In terms of population, Wellington is a very manageable capital. In terms of size, Wellington cannot keep up with Christchurch and certainly not with Auckland. Although there is an international airport, almost all flights from abroad land in Auckland or Christchurch. Why is Wellington so small? No idea to be honest. But it shouldn’t bother us. We really liked Wellington.

Wellington is by the sea. That means: There is a harbor and promenade (something we absolutely love about cities). And: Due to its exposed location on the ocean, Wellington enjoys the reputation that the wind really blows there. We can’t deny that, but we didn’t find it so windy that it was very uncomfortable for us.

Wellington is not only the political center New Zealand, but there are also some large companies based here. So it didn’t surprise us that there were an above-average number of business people in the streets. But don’t worry: There are also young, hip corners in Wellington – above all the popular “Cuba Street”.

You may be wondering how many days it takes to get a nice insight into to get Wellington? If you don’t want to stress yourself too much, we can recommend a two-night stay. But since Wellington isn’t that big, you can see quite a bit even in just one night.

2. Wellington’s Sights: Our Highlights Wellington Cable Car A ride on the funicular up to Kelburn is a must when visiting Wellington. Of course, you could also walk the route. And of course: the cable car is very touristy. (The few locals who take the cable car to get to their homes don’t change that.)

We did the ride too and didn’t regret it. Once at the top you can first of all enjoy the beautiful view of Wellington.

Afterwards, we can recommend that you walk down to the town. So you have the opportunity to walk through the very idyllic Botanical Gardens. You can find more information about the botanical garden in the next chapter.

Information about the cable car Departure: 280 Lambton Quay, Wellington

Price: 4 NZD (one way), 7,30 NZD (return)

Operating times: Everyone 10 Minutes between 7 a.m. (weekdays) and 8 a.m.: 22 hours (weekend) to 22 Watch (on Sunday only until 21 Watch)

Wellington Botanic Garden The visit of the Botanical Gardens can be perfectly combined with a cable car ride. It is located on the hill where the famous funicular goes. “Garden” is actually an understatement, because the botanical garden is more of a large park with a wide variety of green areas.

There are countless paths through the botanical garden. We chose the one that meanders through the botanical gardens down towards the city (“Te Araroa National Walkway”). It is marked with a symbol on the ground, so you always know where to go.

The path takes you to the most beautiful places in the Botanical Garden area, including ancient trees. At the bottom of the Main Gate, you have to change paths to see the well-known rose garden (“Lady Norwood Rose Garden”). Just follow the hilly path number 10. He will take you to the herb gardens and then to the rose garden.

Mount Victoria Lookout One of our favorite places in Wellington! The Mount Victoria Lookout is not a classic sight, but from up here you have a wonderful view of Wellington and the sea.

Especially the sunset is really nice to look at from up here. You have to share the magnificent view with a few others, but we just sat on the grass and enjoyed the idyll. (Just a tip: If there was something that would have made this moment even better, it would have been a cool drink.)

You can either walk Mount Victoria or you can simply take the reach car. The trail takes you within 30 Minutes from the center through a forest path up. It is more convenient to travel by car: there are a few parking spaces very close to the lookout. Also by bus no. 18 you will reach Mount Victoria Lookout.

Cuba Street One of the best known and certainly the most alternative street in Wellington is Cuba Street. Cuba Street is a trendy district, artists’ district and melting pot at the same time: A wide variety of cultures meet here. The street is lined with restaurants, bars, cafes, galleries and small shops.

If you get hungry then Cuba Street is definitely a good place to go. Our favorite restaurant was Fidel’s. You can find our review further down in this article.

Harbor Promenade: Wellington Waterfront What you can’t expect: An ordinary, green, plant-lined waterfront. But it doesn’t matter – quite the opposite. Because somehow the harbor promenade in Wellington has quite a lot of charm, although it doesn’t look that charming at first glance.

Lots of restaurants are around the Queens Wharf settled. If you follow the promenade further south, you will reach the most famous museum in Wellington: The Te Papa Tongarewa. It is the national museum of New Zealand. A visit is said to be very worthwhile, but unfortunately we didn’t make it in time.

We passed some great pop-up stores on the way there. Unfortunately, they can only be found here at certain times of the year, but maybe you’re lucky.

Wellywood & Shelly Bay On the Miramar Peninsula, an oversized white lettering is reminiscent a hill at those famous ones in Hollywood. “Wellywood” is a synonym for the film city Wellington. You can visit a mini film museum called Weta Cave near the sign (we didn’t do it due to time constraints).

The lettering itself is not particularly impressive, but we were particularly lucky: During our visit, dozens of dolphins frolic in the bay in front of the lettering in Shelly Bay. Such a spectacle should probably not happen every day.

3. Our restaurant tip for Wellington Fidel’s Of all the restaurants along Cuba Street, Fidel’s enjoys iconic status. With its dim atmosphere and Cuban memorabilia hanging on the wall, the charm takes a little getting used to, but it’s still unique and very hip. The little garden is great. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily.

We went for dinner. There are some vegetarian and even vegan dishes. We paid 22 NZD for two dishes and two drinks. Conclusion: Very good value for money – we would come back in a heartbeat!

Address: 234 Cuba Street, Wellington

4. Staying the night in Wellington We accidentally got a great deal and stayed for two nights at the Novotel Wellington for a reasonable price. The hotel is very centrally located: in just a few seconds you can take a lift to Lambton Quay, which marks the city center so to speak.

The Novotel is a classic city hotel. The rooms are a bit small but very comfortable. We have nothing to complain about, except: Parking is a bit difficult. There are parking spaces in the garage in the annex building, but they are not cheap and the way there is a bit misleading.

You can book the hotel here: Novotel Wellington

5. Getting to Wellington from the South Island Wellington is the port that connects the North and South Islands of New Zealand. You will probably also make a stopover in Wellington, either because you have just come from the South Island or are planning to travel further from the North Island to the South Island.

So much in advance: The Ride on the ferry is a scenic highlight in itself. The ferry leaves the port of Picton (on the South Island) and travels through the Marlborough Sounds and the Cook Strait to Wellington in just over three hours. If it feels windy on deck, don’t be surprised: Cook Strait is one of the roughest and stormiest straits in the world, since here the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet.

The route between Picton and Wellington (or return) is operated by two operators: Interislander and Bluebridge. We chose Interislander Ferries on both New Zealand trips because we found the cheaper prices there at the time we booked. However, this can vary. You can’t go wrong with either provider.

By the way: If you are traveling by rental car in New Zealand, then you leave the rental car on the island of departure and receive a direct upon arrival in Wellington (or Picton ) the new car. This works pretty smoothly and you are mobile again immediately.

6. Our Travel Guides for Wellington and New Zealand For a round trip through We can recommend these two travel guides to New Zealand, which we had with us.

Stefan Loose New Zealand travel guide Our favourite! We had Stefan Loose’s travel guide with us on our first trip through New Zealand. As usual, it has been researched in great detail and is therefore also quite extensive.

You can buy the travel guide here: Stefan Loose Travel Guide New Zealand

) Lonely Planet New Zealand Feels every second tourist was traveling with the Lonely Planet travel guide. The book is a little less extensive and therefore lighter than the travel guide by Stefan Loose.

You can buy the guide in English here: Lonely Planet Travel Guide New Zealand
You can buy the travel guide in German here: Lonely Planet Travel Guide New Zealand

7. More New Zealand Travel Reports Our route through New Zealand The most beautiful day hikes in New Zealand Christchurch: Sights & Tips Lake Tekapo: Our tips Dunedin & Otago Peninsula The Catlins – New Zealand’s rugged south Helicopter flight over Queenstown Wanaka: Hike to Roy’s Peak Day Hike in Abel Tasman National Park Transparency: Affiliate Left This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. cool thing right? A thousand thanks from both of us!

Have you been to Wellington? How did you like it? Or do you have any other questions? Leave us a comment – ​​we would be happy!