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How to Spend 3 Days in Wellington

How to Spend 3 Days in Wellington

With three days in New Zealand’s capital, you can take advantage of almost everything on offer. Fly over the city in a helicopter, shop till you drop, sample plenty of local beer or wine, and of course, get out into nature. Here’s how to make the most of your time in Wellington.

Day 1: City sightseeing

Spend your first day getting a feel for the city. Options abound: take to the air on a helicopter flight and marvel at Wellington’s legendary landscape; catch the cable car up to Wellington Botanic Garden; or head to the Mt. Victoria Lookout for panoramic views of the city and harbor. Then, make your way down to the waterfront, and learn about the country’s indigenous Maori culture and history at the innovative Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. If you’re a fan of The Lord of the Rings, join a tour of local filming locations, or sign up for a Weta workshop. A hop-on hop-off bus pass makes it easy to get around town and explore at your own pace.

Day 2: Shopping and eating

Wellington is a fashion hub—all that wool from New Zealand sheep combined with a creative streak results in labels valued worldwide. Begin by strolling the area around Lambton Quay, College Street, and Cuba Street. Then, wander Wellington Underground Market, a maze of food stalls that also showcases local artisans. Stop for lunch there or at one of several Wellington restaurants that have won the national Best Restaurant Award—or go all out with a foodie tour, sampling some craft beer afterward. If you prefer wine, take a guided trip to the top boutique wineries in nearby Wairarapa, renowned for its pinot noir—or explore the vineyards by bike.

Day 3: Coastal treasures

To atone for all that spending and swilling, head for the great outdoors and experience the dramatic coastline by mountain bike, on horseback, or on foot. See the colony of fur seals near the lighthouse at Cape Palliser, or look for seals as you hike the trails of Red Rocks Reserve. Bird lovers won’t want to miss Kapiti Island, a predator-free bird sanctuary reached by boat from the Kapiti Coast. And if you’re moving on to the South Island later, hop aboard the Interislander for one of the world’s most scenic ferry journeys.

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7 Tours and Activities

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InterIslander Ferry - Wellington to Picton

InterIslander Ferry - Wellington to Picton

star-4.5
202
Board the InterIslander ferry for a 3-hour cruise across Cook Strait, which links New Zealand’s capital city in the North Island to a charming enclave in the South Island. The Wellington-to-Picton ferry offers daily service one way, with jaw-dropping views along one of the world’s most scenic waterways.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$50.35
From
$50.35

Weta Cave Workshop Tour & Miniature Effects Tour with Transport

Weta Cave Workshop Tour & Miniature Effects Tour with Transport

star-4.5
65
Enter the world of Weta Workshop with There and Back Again: The Full Experience, a guided round trip by Weta Workshop! You’ll enjoy return transfers from Wellington i-SITE to Weta Weta Workshop, where you’ll explore our Weta Cave Workshop Tour and our Miniature Effects Tour: Thunderbirds Are Go. Your driver will highlight iconic film sites during your journey and you’ll get priority seating to our exclusive documentary. A Weta Workshop crew member will then show you incredible props and costumes from films like The Hobbit and The Chronicles of Narnia, followed by a journey through the amazing miniatures of Thunderbirds Are Go!
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$63.12
From
$63.12

Full-Day Wellington Self-Guided Electric Bike Tour

Full-Day Wellington Self-Guided Electric Bike Tour

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93
Make easy work of Wellington’s hills and devise your own itinerary on this self-guided electric bike tour. Opt for a 1 or 2-day bike rental and zip between sights like the Weta Workshop, Te Papa Museum, or Zealandia Sanctuary; glide along the Wellington Waterfront; or escape the city to cycle the Rimutaka Rail Trail or take in the views from Mt Victoria.
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  • 3 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$53.80
From
$53.80

Wellington South Coast Discovery Helicopter Flight

Wellington South Coast Discovery Helicopter Flight

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7
Explore the outskirts of Wellington and the landscape beyond on this helicopter flight tour. While listening to commentary from your pilot/guide, fly over the rugged shores and seal colonies of the South Coast, the Cook Strait, the Karori Rock Lighthouse, and the Makara Wind Farm.
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  • 40 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$241.27
From
$241.27

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
$14.35
From
$14.35

Private Wellington Craft Beer Half Day Tour

Private Wellington Craft Beer Half Day Tour

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3
With innovative brewers, New Zealand’s biggest craft beer festival and a craft beer bar around every corner, Wellington is the Southern Hemisphere’s craft beer capital. With new breweries popping up around the city, however, it can be hard for hop heads to know where to go. On this private tour, check out some of the city’s most successful craft breweries and brewpubs.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$111.89
From
$111.89

Full Day Wellington Food Tour

Full Day Wellington Food Tour

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6
Wellington is the epicenter of New Zealand’s culinary scene, but for the inside scoop on where to eat and drink, a local guide is a must. This full-day, small-group tour offers an authentic Wellington foodie experience, with activities that may include a craft beer tasting, a coffee-making demonstration, and a cheese tasting.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$278.29
From
$278.29