Let’s go for New Zealand’s capital city, in order to learn more about the history of the country and especially about the foundations of it.

ITINERARY - AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND: here is the full itinerary for a tour of these 2 countries.

Wellington - Te Papa Museum Wellington - Beehive, the executive wing of New Zealand Parliament Buildings

The good point about this city full of sight seeing places is that all the attractions are located around the harbour area. Everything is within walking distance, so won’t need to use public transportation.

Here is the schedule I’ve followed and that I recommend:

Schedule - Wellington, 2 days

Day 1: let’s go to the museum!

The most important place to visit in Wellington is definitely the « Te Papa » Museum. And the good news is that the admission is free, except for some temporary exhibitions. Over there, you can explore many themes, like war, New Zealand’s fauna and flora, Maori’s art, the British colonization… But before beginning the tour, make sure to take a map of the museum, because as it is really big, you don’t want to miss anything. You can spend half a day visiting the museum, and for sure, you won’t see the time go by!

Wellington - Te Papa Museum - Maori Totem Wellington - Te Papa Museum - war scene Wellington - Te Papa Museum - Traditional Maori House Wellington - Te Papa Museum - initial flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand
Click to enlarge images.

After the visit of the museum, just go to have lunch before going for a walk on the Harbour and to the Civic Square. And at the end of the day, get down to the south of the city centre to go to the Mount Victoria Lookout for a walk and to have a beautiful view of the city.

Day 2: tour of the historic buildings

Wellington - Parliamentary Library

For this second and final day, you need to go to visit the Historic Area of the city. Start with a visit of the Parliament House, the free guided tour takes place every hour from 10 am to 4 pm and lasts 1 hour. Then head to the Reserve Bank Museum and Education Centre to learn more about New Zealand’s currency history. Then go to visit the Archives of the country. Over there, you will be able to see documents that took part of the foundation of the country. And to finish the visit of this Historic Area, go to the Old Government Buildings (which now houses a law university) and to the Supreme Court, which is a combination of 2 buildings, a new one and an old one, but the entrance is located into the new building. If you want to join a free guided tour, you must send an email before going there, to make an appointment.

Tip: you can also click on the link down below from your smartphone, to open the itinerary to follow on google maps:
« Historic Area » walking tour

Then go to have lunch and for the rest of the afternoon, I recommend taking the Cable Car to go up a hill. From there you will have an amazing view of the city. You will also be able to visit the Cable Car Museum (free admission) and the Botanic Garden. Not far from the station, you will see a sundial on the floor. You can test it (it’s a lot of fun), simply position yourself on the current date with your back to the sun and raise your 2 arms to form an arrow over your head. You will see that your shadow will show you the actual time.
For the more adventurous, just so you know that the Botanic Garden can be entirely visited. If you do so, it will allow you to go back down to the inner city (the walk takes about 1 hour). Otherwise, buy a return ticket for the Cable Car. A one way ticket costs NZ$4 and a return ticket costs NZ$7,5 (half price for children).

Wellington - Cable Car Wellington - city view from the Botanic Garden
Wellington - sundial
Click to enlarge images.

From the cable car station (the one located uphill), you can visit Space Place (a planetarium), or you can also take a free shuttle that takes you to Zealandia (a wildlife sanctuary). These two attractions are fee-based:

  • Space Place: NZ$12.5/adult and NZ$8/child
  • Zealandia: NZ$18.5/adult and NZ$10/child

Tip: if you are planning on doing these two attractions, it will take you an entire day. Also, there is a combined ticket: the 2 attractions and a return ticket for the Cable Car. It costs NZ$37.5 and you can buy it at the tourist office located on the Civic Square.



The easiest way to get to the airport is by taxi. There is only 8 km between the airport and the city centre, so you’ll be there in about 10 minutes. The cheapest taxi company is Capitol Taxi, so if you ask your hotel to book a taxi for you, make sure they take this company. It costs NZ$20.

As an alternative, you can take the express bus No. 91, which costs NZ$9/person for a trip from the airport to the city centre.


The bus station (where the InterCity buses leave and arrive) is located at about 15 minutes walk from downtown, so it’s very easy to reach it on foot.


During my trip, I stayed in an apartment hotel, which is the « Setup on Manners ». It is well located in the city centre and if you don’t feel like eating at the restaurant, you can go grocery shopping at the « New World », a supermarket which is not located very far from the hotel, and then cook your meal. But there is no window in the room, so food with strong smell are forbidden.

Description: it’s an apartment hotel, so more than the bed and the bathroom, there is also a tiny kitchen. You’ll be able to use a microwave, cooking hobs, a fridge, kitchenware and tableware. The room is quite large but has no window.

Price: it’s one of the cheapest hotel in the city centre.

Location: it’s really well located in the inner city. It has a central position considering all the sightseeing places. It’s also not really far from the bus station which is from walking distance (about 15 minutes on foot). And it’s at about 10 minutes by taxi from the airport (NZ$20).

How to get there: from the bus station, walk along the « Jervois Quay » towards the city centre for about 10 minutes, then turn left on « Victoria Street » and when you have reached the « Manners Street », keep going a little bit into the street and you should see the hotel on your left.

Pros Cons
the price (one of the cheapest of the city centre) -
very convenient location -
free Wi-Fi and free left-luggage service -

Tip: if like me, you arrive very early in town and that the reception is not opened yet, you can go to the Mcdonald’s which is located on the other side of the road to get a Mc Morning. They make pancakes and some kind of fried potatoes, it is not that bad!

Thanks for reading :)