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Visit Wellington – New Zealand’s Capital City

Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, New Zealand’s capital of cool. Huddled before Cook Strait – that wild section of water that separates the North Island from the South – and ringed by the Remutaka Ranges, Wellington is one city not to miss.

There are the obvious reasons to visit. Like Te Papa, the sprawling museum of New Zealand, located a stone’s throw from the city centre. Where you can easily wile away a day developing appreciation for New Zealand’s culture and history. Equally fascinating are the National Gallery, Parliament (including the architecturally famous Beehive), the National War Memorial, the National Library… Add in the city’s regular arts and fashion festivals and visiting Wellington means accessing much of New Zealand’s cultural treasure.


The Beehive, New Zealand’s Parliament building, located at the corner of Molesworth Street and Lambton Quay.

In 2017 and 2018, Wellington topped Deutsche Bank’s list of 50 most liveable global cities, coming in at number one with the best quality of life. There’s the fantastic shopping, eating, great coffee, and the cocktails – as the second largest city, Wellington is home to many of New Zealand’s very best restaurants, cafes, and bars.

Worth visiting is the Wellington Night Market, a weekly celebration of cuisine, culture, and creativity on Cuba Street. A dining destination and a must do experience for city locals and visitors to the world’s ‘coolest little capital’. It’s all about food, flavours, fun, friends, and family. It’s on every Friday and Saturday 5pm till 11pm.
But that’s not all! Hop into your Pegasus rental, and you’ll really get a fabulous feeling for this terrific part of New Zealand.


The weekly Wellington Night Market, located on Cuba Street.

Sightseeing:

  • Makara beach – less than 30 minutes’ drive from the centre of Wellington and you’re standing on one of New Zealand’s wildest and most beautiful coastlines. Sit on the beach and look across the Cook Strait to the South Island, take a swim, explore rock pools, or try the 6km Makara walkway. Spectacular cliff-top views, historic gun emplacements, and, when you’re done, a delicious ice cream from the Makara Beach Café.
  • Walk Wellington’s amazing water front – whatever the weather, the time of year, or the time of day, walking from the Wellington library, around the harbour, past Te Papa, to Oriental Bay delivers a great view of Wellington’s architecture, her harbour and her people.
  • Take an easy drive in your Pegasus rental car from Oriental Bay to Owhiro Bay. First stop, a swim at Balaena Bay, then grab a coffee at the Maranui Café in Lyall Bay, then a short walk to take in the funky Island Bay shops, before finishing your mini road trip with a milk shake at the Owhiro Bay store. Keep your eyes on the road as you drive, but also look out for orca, dolphins, and humpback whales, all of which can be spotted from the coast at the right time of year.
  • Speaking of mini road trips, head up the northern motorway to Petone and take a leisurely drive from there to Eastbourne. You’ll get a great perspective on Wellington, taking in some of the geography that inspired Katherine Mansfield, one of New Zealand’s best-known writers. Once in Eastbourne enjoy the galleries, and restaurants or park your Pegasus rental and walk to the Pencarrow Heads light house – it’s a four-hour walk, but the views once you get there are worth every minute.

Activities:

  • Zealandia – the Karori bird sanctuary. Native bush and tons of native birds (and other creepy crawlers!) just a few minutes drive from the CBD, visit Zealandia and lose yourself in the beautiful native bush and amazing bird song.
  • Thirty minutes from Wellington and you are in the wonderfully quirky Staglands Wildlife Reserve. Feed the giant native eels, go for a tractor ride, mingle with fallow deer, peacocks, and guinea fowl. Staglands is a Wellington institution and a great way to get a feeling for New Zealand’s native birds and animals.
  • Drive just forty-five minutes from Wellington and your walking your way through the majestic Remutaka Forest Park. Bush-clad hills and narrow fern-filled valleys cut by abundant freshwater streams and the beautiful Orongorongo River. Throughout the park, there are numerous walking tracks appealing to bushwalkers and nature lovers of every age and fitness level.

Short Day Trips From Wellington

  • And while we’re talking bird song, what about driving up the picturesque Kapiti Coast and taking a trip to Kapiti Island. New Zealand’s original bird sanctuary, Kapiti Island boasts populations of some of New Zealand’s rarest birds. Want to see a kiwi? Then stay the night, head out after dark, and spot the New Zealand bird we’re all named after!
  • Cape Palliser/Martinborough. 2 hours from Wellington over the Remutaka hill, into the Colonial charm of Martinborough, where you can enjoy one of New Zealand’s most established and best wine regions with some 20-odd vineyards. From there continue on to Cape Palliser – seals, views, and on your way back stop at the famous White Horse pub for a big feed of fish and chips.
  • In the heart of Martinborough at the picturesque town square there is an annual event held on the first Saturday of both February and March of each year. This year it’s Saturday 2 February and Saturday 2 March 2019. The iconic Rotary Martinborough Fair is reportedly the largest in Australasia, comprising of over 480 stalls selling artwork, crafts, clothing, food and other quality products.