Wellington is New Zealand’s capital city, about a third of the size of Auckland, with a real vibrancy and buzz about it. The harbour front has been opened up for visitors with walkways, restaurants, museums and art galleries, and you can happily spend half a day strolling the waterfront and visiting the attractions here. Te Papa, our national history and heritage museum, is an absolute must for anyone visiting Wellington. First thing in the morning take the Lambton Key Cable Car to Kelburn and visit the Carter Observatory or just stroll back down through the magnificent Botanical Gardens. The Zealandia Reserve in Karori (short drive) is well worth a visit if you are interested in New Zealand’s wildlife and the Weta Cave in Miramar give you an insight into our film industry and the making of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit.
In Wellington for an enjoyable lunch or gourmet evening out? Look for The Larder (excellent for lunch at Miramar) or the Roxy Cinema (also at Miramar but more for an evening out), Arbitrageur (top casual), Matterhorn, Martin Bosley’s and Logan Brown (best formal restaurants), Hummingbird, Hippopotamus, the Whitehouse restaurant (on Oriental Parade). And if you are in town on a Sunday morning be sure to visit the farmers City Market - Chaffers Dock Building, 1 Herd Street.
From Wellington to the South Island either fly (direct flights to Nelson, Christchurch, Queenstown and most of the other main towns in the South Island) or take the InterIslander Ferry to Picton in the Marlborough Sound (your rental car company will arrange for a new vehicle in Picton).
Auckland-Wellington: 8 hours
Napier-Wellington: 4 hours
Taupo-Wellington: 4 hours 30 mins
Wellington-Picton (by ferry): 4 hours