Guide to Wellington


Wellington city is nestled between bush-clad hills and a lively waterfront that can be seen as almost a microcosm of the city at large – packed with heritage buildings, cultural activities, parks, public art, bars and restaurants. The waterfront also serves as one of the quickest ways to get from one side of the city to the other. Wellington’s nearly circular harbour is about 10 kilometres in diameter. On the water you’ll see kayaks, sail boats, harbour ferries, inter-island ferries and international cruise ships.
During British settlement, Matiu (Somes Island) was a quarantine station then was used as an internment camp during both world wars; now it has evolved to become part of the conservation estate with more than 90,000 trees planted.Rats and other pests have been eradicated and the 25-hectare island is now home to tuatara, weta and native birds such as kakariki (parrots).

Wellington’s beautiful Botanic Garden nestles between Kelburn (where some of Victoria University campus is located) and Thorndon. Take the cable car up from the CBD’s Lambton Quay and meander back down to the city through the Botanic Garden and Bolton Street cemetery.
Historic Thorndon is home to New Zealand’s Parliament Buildings, antique shops, and Bolton St Cemetery where amongst many others Samuel Parnell, the man who popularised the eight-hour working day, and Wellington’s founder, William Wake eld, are buried.
It’s a bit of a case of ‘looking at you looking at me’ with one of the central city’s oldest suburbs. Perched on the flank of a hill, the suburb of Mt Victoria is one of Wellington’s most photographed and is the location of a lookout where you’re able to get a full perspective on inner city Wellington and harbour.
Nestled just beneath Mt Vic is the beautiful stretch of Oriental Bay where golden sands and shallow (warm) waters invite summer swims and the broad sidewalk is made for leisurely strolls – just be mindful of all the runners, cyclists and in-line skaters who also use this world-class promenade. Guide to Wellington

Just minutes from downtown Wellington, lies bush-clad Karori and Zealandia – the eco-sanctuary brimming with New Zealand’s rarest wildlife (see page 30). In the same vicinity, mountain bikers will find 250 hectares of nirvana and spectacular views at Makara Peak.
The Basin Reserve (where thousands will enjoy watching the cricket over summer) acts as a giant roundabout between Newtown and much of the city. This eclectic suburb is home to the hospital, hipsters, ethnic eateries and the zoo.

A creative hub, not just for the film and screen industry (for this is where Weta is based), but also for painters, photographers and up-cyclers. Miramar has a lovely buzz and some great eateries to plonk yourself in and enjoy culinary fare – perhaps after an afternoon on the arts trail.

Often referred to as ‘the Hutt’, the Hutt Valley comprises Lower Hutt (24km north of Wellington), Petone and Upper Hutt (39km north of Wellington). New Zealand’s rst suburb, petone is home to a lively café culture bolstered by a heady mix of artisan food producers, galleries, boutique shops, and outlet stores.
Porirua is largely formed around the arms of the Porirua Harbour and the coastline facing out to Cook Strait. It is home to Pataka Art + Museum, one of New Zealand’s leading galleries of Maori, Pacific and New Zealand contemporary art.

A little over an hour from Wellington by car or train, the region Wellingtonians refer to as ‘just over the hill’ has a relaxed rural pace nicely mixed with a world-class wine scene. Within the charming townships of the Wairarapa region, you’ll find delicious gourmet produce, vineyards to visit (look for Martinborough’s famed Pinot Noir), quaint village shops, cafés and boutique accommodation.

Read more about Wellington suburbs here.