Updated 2016

As the capital of New Zealand, Wellington is also home to some of the best museums in the country. It sits at one of the most central locations in the country: the southernmost tip of the North Island. Wellington is a refreshingly modern city with large malls and easy navigation.

Start with the ABCs of Traveling New Zealand.

What to Do

Wellington is an extremely walkable city. Enjoy the waterfront and the quaint downtown. The tour of Parliament is more interesting than it sounds. The building itself is fascinating, and called the “beehive” by locals. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of it lies underground, in the basement, where the technology to thwart the effects of a major earthquake were put into place. The whole building is built to move! Te Papa Museum is world class, and it’s free. Don’t miss it. Be sure to catch the live music scene, evenings and weekends. Take the cable car up to the Botanical Gardens high on the hill.

Read: Nine World Class Wine Regions in New Zealand.

Getting There

It’s a simple matter to fly into Wellington, New Zealand, either on short domestic flights from Christchurch or Auckland, or from overseas.

Arrive by train to the southernmost station on the North Island. From here you can take a ferry to the South Island on either the Inter Islander or the Blue Bridge Ferry across the Cook Strait.

There are several bus options in New Zealand, and any of them will get you to Wellington. The InterCity bus is New Zealand’s most popular and advertises $1 fares, but you’ve got to hit it just right to get those. Naked Bus offers a 10 trip pass and an unlimited passport as well to make hopping buses on both islands easy.

Read: Campervanning New Zealand.

Where to Stay

There are lots of lodging options in Wellington. There are a few hostels, which are a good per-bed value in New Zealand. There are numerous hotels across a range of budgets as well as camping on the outskirts of town.