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About Wellington

Dramatically positioned on a wind whipped peninsula, and spread across hills and a craggy shore - on a major fault line - Wellington is New Zealand’s capital city. It’s not the largest city by size, but it does house many of the national museums and arts organisations, and has a very decent range of bars, cafes and restaurants. There’s less choice when it comes to the best places to stay in Wellington, but the choices are certainly appealing.

Wellington is a great place to fly into, because the stunning location gives a taster of what you can expect from the rest of New Zealand. Despite its small size it’s still a vibrant city, and just outside the urban area there are a myriad of walking and biking trails, and you’re within a few hours drive of some fantastic wineries and vineyards.

Like Auckland, Wellington has been shaped by repeated volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, including a huge earthquake in 1855; you can still see remnants of its devastation. The ring of hills surrounding the harbour mark the fault line, and locals experience fairly regular minor tremors - and the architecture is built accordingly!

Unlike Auckland, Wellington has a great public transport system, but the centre of town is very pedestrian friendly, and easily traversed. Some of its highlights include:

  • Wellington’s headline sight has to be Te Papa, the fantastic, and highly interactive national museum - which kids and adults alike will love!
  • But the little red cable car running from the old quay to the Botanical Gardens is also very popular.
  • The City Gallery is also highly recommended, as is the Museum of Wellington City & Sea.
  • There’s also a museum dedicated to the company who brought us the Lord of the Rings films, etc., called the Weta Cave,
  • and Zealandia, an eco-sanctuary packed with rare birds and animals.

For the city centre

  • The Museum Art Hotel is a chic 160 room hotel, with contemporary art in both the public and private spaces and a boutique shop which also sells the art on the walls. Rooms are minimal but comfortable and there’s a swimming pool spa and gym.

Out of town

  • Wharekauhau Country Estate is a stunning property overlooking Palliser Bay. Come here for off the beaten track luxury accompanied by gourmet cuisine. A truly romantic retreat.

    Still not sure? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Wellington, or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice. Alternatively take a look at all our North Island recommendations.

    Best Hotels in Wellington

    • Museum Art Hotel 161 rooms from $160


      Chic hotel in Wellington, with contemporary local art in private rooms and public spaces and boutique shop selling artwork. Rooms are minimal and funky, with comfy beds and armchairs. Access to swimming pool, spa and gym.

      Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
      Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
      Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
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    • Ohtel 10 rooms from $283


      A boutique, design hotel on Wellington's seafront promenade. Strong Fifties and Sixties influence - rooms are scattered with chic furniture and have a sophisticated feel. With only ten bedrooms, the place feels intimate and welcoming. Popular communal dining evenings and good local knowledge.

      City Style  -  Traditional craftsmanship meets sleek modern design in this sophisticated Wellington boutique in the exclusive Oriental Bay.
      Local exploring  -  Ideal location, overlooking Chaffers Marina, within walking distance of the main cultural attractions, bars and restaurants.
      Great walks  -  Head down to the nearby beach for an evening stroll.
      Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
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    • Wharekauhau Country Estate 5 rooms from $1093

      Wellington (Palliser Bay)

      Fabulous lodge overlooking Palliser Bay. Rooms have marble bathrooms, underfloor heating and plastered walls. Indoor pool, spa, garden and gym. Off the beaten track in secluded spot, loads of activities, ideal for hideaways and romantic breaks.

      Hideaway  -  Tranquil and intimate.
      Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
      Fishing  -  Excellent fishing nearby.
      Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
      Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith
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