Wellington City Guide
As the capital of New Zealand, Wellington is the perfect destination for any political junkie. While you're there, you can take in all of the sights at Parliament. In fact, four buildings - all complete with fascinating architectural details - make up New Zealand's government. And, with free tours starting every hour, Parliament is accessible to anyone, on any budget!
If you want to get up close with some of the area's wildlife, head to the Wellington Zoo. It may be small, but it's one of the top-rated zoos in the world. The Wellington Zoo is home for animals from 4 different continents. Many of the animals, though, are native to New Zealand and can only be found here. And for the ultimate zoo experience, take part in one of the sleepovers available
For something more adventurous, head to the aptly-named Adrenalin Forest. Inside, you will be able to climb ropes, balance on logs, and cross over narrow bridges - all while you look down on the lush Wellington forestland.
If you want to see the sights in a less action-packed environment, hop on the Wellington Cable Car. It's one of the city's oldest - and most popular - attractions. You'll begin your ride in the central business district, then head through the Botanic Gardens, and finally make your way to the Great Harbour of Tara. You can catch the cable car every 10 minutes on every day except for Sunday
Once you're back on ground level, take a trip to Cuba Street. Cuba Street has become so popular over the years that parts of it have actually been closed to traffic! On Cuba Street, there are several Wellington hotels, mixed in with the area's trendy cafes and stores.
Lots of people like to call Wellington the "culinary capital of New Zealand" because of its near-endless variety of restaurants and cafes - many of which have won awards for their tasty treats. And you won't just find tourists in the restaurants; eating out is common for the people who live here, too.
So where should you head for a great meal?
The owners say they have a passion for food and wine, and they want to share that passion with you! At Ambeli, you'll find an intimate atmosphere with tastes and smells that exceed your wildest dreams! The Mediterranean menu changes by the week, depending on what's in season.
Whether you're hungry at 6 AM or 11 PM, you can get something delicious at this Cuba Street cafe. The main courses are simple, yet excellent - and the wine list offers a ton of locally-produced choices.
- The White House Restaurant
If you're looking for great food combined with a great view, this is the place! Perched overlooking the Wellington Harbour, The White House Restaurant uses organic ingredients to create its culinary masterpieces. If you like seafood, try the seared scallops.
If you're a night owl looking for entertainment, Wellington will not disappoint! The trendy place to be after dark is Courtenay Place. However, both Cuba and Willis streets also have a number of bars to choose from - and you don't have to get as dressed up to go to them. No matter which area you pick, you'll wind up with plenty of bars and clubs all within walking distance.
You won't have to look any further than the former central police building to find a great party. Today, it's home to Zibibbo - a Spanish-inspired lounge bar.
Just down the street is Ponderosa - where you'll think you've travelled to the Wild West! At this cowboy bar, a drink named the Stubborn Mule rules the roost.
What better place to visit on Cuba Street than Havana Bar? With its live music, tapas, and Fidel-inspired cocktails, you can leave your troubles behind.
Another great bar on Cuba Street is Good Luck Bar. You'll consider it good luck that you found this dark lounge that's home to strong cocktails and great people!
A few blocks away you'll find Sandwiches - where the house specialty is music from all corners of the world and authentic Mexican treats
Wellington is home to some fantastic natural beauty, and there is no better place to see it than at the Wellington Botanical Gardens. You'll get a birds-eye view of it from the Wellington Cable Car, but the best way to see these gardens is on foot.
The rose gardens have won awards, and the duck pond is incredibly popular. You can navigate your own way through the 26 hectares yourself, or you can arrange for a guided tour in advance.
Once you've seen the area's landscape, it's time to see the area's creatures. Wellington's South Coast is a popular hub for seals. So popular, in fact, that you can go on the "Seal Coast Safari"! You'll travel 20 km in a four-wheeler. As you go over the beach and the rocks, you'll get up close with these adorable creatures. You can even get out and say hello to them if you want!
But seals aren't the only sea creatures you'll find in Wellington. The area is also home to whales, dolphins, and penguins. You can go on tours where you can swim with them, or you can opt for an eco-friendly tour cruise.
If you want to be close to the night time hotspots, look for Wellington accommodations that are in the Te Aro area. That will put you within walking distance to both Cuba Street and Courtenay Place. There are a number of hotels on Vivian Street to choose from.
Many of Wellington's luxurious hotels overlook either the Lambton Harbour or the Oriental Bay. If you're looking for cheap hotels in Wellington that have a waterfront view, your best bet is to search near Thorndon Quay. As an added benefit, that will also put you within walking distance to the Wellington Parliament building and the rest of the federal buildings.
If you are willing to stay a bit further from the water, there are hotels that overlook the Botanic Gardens. Look along Glenmore Street for several different options.
If you want something a little more spacious than a traditional hotel room, take a look at the serviced apartments. They are all over the city - from right in the city centre to out in the quieter suburbs.