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How to Spend 1 Day in Wellington

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.

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4 Tours and Activities

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Guided Wellington Sightseeing Tour by Electric Bike

Guided Wellington Sightseeing Tour by Electric Bike

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90
The hills around Wellington offer a spectacular backdrop for a cycling tour, but you don’t need to worry about biking uphill. This 4-hour electric bike tour takes all the effort out of cycling, so you can concentrate on admiring the sights and enjoying the views.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$92.41
From
$92.41

Zealandia Small Group Eco Wildlife Night Tour

Zealandia Small Group Eco Wildlife Night Tour

star-4.5
51
Gain entry to Zealandia at night and take a guided tour of Zealandia: The Exhibition, which showcases New Zealand’s natural history. Interact with a life-size model moa and Haast’s eagle — both extinct — and learn about the country’s conservation efforts to preserve other native species. Located just minutes from central Wellington, Zealandia includes a night tour of Sanctuary Valley, a fenced eco-sanctuary and safe haven for endemic animal and bird species such as the nocturnal little spotted kiwi.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$60.89
From
$60.89

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa: Small Group Guided Tour

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa: Small Group Guided Tour

star-4.5
53
Get a personal introduction to Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand’s premier museum based in Wellington. This 1-hour guided tour provides an overview of the museum’s interactive exhibits, artifacts, fine art and natural history displays so that you can better explore the collection on your own. You’ll get a deeper look at Maori cultural heritage and colonial history with an expert guide who share insights and offers suggestions for galleries that might suit your interests.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$14.33
From
$14.33

Scenic Wellington Helicopter Flight

Scenic Wellington Helicopter Flight

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7
Lift off above the city of Wellington on a 9-minute helicopter flight that gives a thrilling perspective on New Zealand's capital. You'll get aerial views of the Museum of New Zealand, Parliament House, and the forests and trails that surround the city center. On clear days, watch Marlborough Sounds and the Southern Alps appear on the horizon, then soar across Wellington's Queen Wharf as you fly back towards the helipad. This helicopter tour of Wellington includes personal headsets so you don't miss a word of the pilot's commentary.
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  • 9 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$94.29
From
$94.29