Wellington

Travel guide - Wellington

The capital of New Zealand is located on the North Island next to Cook Strait. Between its white sand beaches and its colourful wooden houses, Wellington has a lovely setting amidst well-preserved nature. Discover this densely populated maritime city, which shines a light on both Maori culture and its European colonial past.

Wellington: the land of the Hobbits and the Lord of the Rings

During your stay in New Zealand, you can visit the sites where Peter Jackson filmed the famous The Lord of the Rings trilogy based on the heroic fantasy books by J.R. R. Tolkien. During your holiday in Wellington, why not take a guided tour of Tolkien’s Middle Earth? The Greenbelt, the Hutt River, Mount Victoria, Kaitoke Regional Park and Harcourt Park are among the many sites where filming took place.
At the Weta Cave Workshop you can visit an exposition on the best special effects in cinema, from The Lord of the Rings to Avatar by way of Spiderman!

Maori culture and colonialism in Wellington

The Maori culture is an indigenous Polynesian culture. While today only 15% of New Zealanders are Maori, the culture is still very present on the North Island. During your stay in Wellington you can learn more about this culture and its respect for nature at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Located on the seafront, this fun, interactive museum is designed for adults and children alike.
Wellington is also steeped in the history of European colonists, including the famous captain James Cook, the second explorer to visit New Zealand and the first to map its coast. Thanks to its capital status, the city is home to many historical monuments and administrative headquarters, including the Wellington Parliament, built between 1912 and 1922. Although the main building, The Beehive, is not open to visits, you can take a guided tour of the other two buildings that are open to the public.

Wellington through its emblematic monuments and neighbourhoods

For a historic visit of Wellington, take a look at the Anglican church of Old St. Paul’s, with its remarkable ceiling made of exposed beams in the shape of a boat’s hull. You can also visit the National War Memorial, which commemorates New Zealanders who died in the first World War.
To relax and enjoy the city’s beautiful beaches, head to Oriental Bay, a nearby suburb, taking a stroll past the restaurants and boutiques of warm and friendly Cuba Street along the way. And don’t forget to take some pictures of the pretty little houses in colourful wood, built on the hilltops.

Wellington, a paradise for flora and fauna

One of the most famous visits in Wellington is undoubtedly the Wellington Cable Car, a historic funicular that takes you up to the Botanic Garden where you can walk through 26 hectares of gardens and native forest. Next, climb to the top of Mount Victoria to enjoy a 360° view of the city and the bay.
You can also visit the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary to take in the natural beauty of this protected area, as well as the Zealandia Sanctuary where you can take a guided tour at night. With children, you’ll have a better chance of seeing animals at Staglands Wildlife Reserve, a smaller animal reserve. Before you leave, don’t forget to climb Mount Kaukau for a lovely view of the seal colonies and the lighthouse near Wellington Harbour!
The New Zealand capital is also an important wine-growing region. Take a guided tour near Martinborough, where you can enjoy an introduction to oenology and taste some excellent New Zealand wines.

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