New Zealand’s capital city – home to Parliament, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa, a thriving film industry, and heaps of other cool stuff.
The earliest Maori name for Wellington is Te Upoko o te Ika a Maui – which means ‘the head of Maui’s fish’ – stemming from the Maori legend that polynesian navigator Maui fished up the North Island.
Te Papa is New Zealand’s bold and innovative national museum and a recognised world leader in interactive and visitor-focused museum experiences. Entry is free, though charges apply to some short-term exhibitions and activities. New Zealand’s geology and natural environment and the stories of New Zealand’s indigenous people, the Māori, are celebrated in Te Papa’s permanent exhibitions, while Te Papa’s Marae is a vibrant contemporary meeting house and a living communal centre, unique in a museum.
You can’t walk two steps in Wellington without stumbling across a gallery. One of the jewels in Wellington’s art crown is City Gallery in Civic Square, which offers a programme of contemporary visual arts, architecture and design. The Cuba precinct has everything from quirky to specialised dealer galleries. Featherston and Victoria streets have a great collection of boutique galleries like Page Blackie and Avid Gallery. A short trip out of town is the cutting edge and contemporary gallery TheNewDowse (it’s also got a great café), while PATAKA in Porirua is a must if you’re keen to look at Maori, Pacific Island and New Zealand art.
Filmmaker Peter Jackson’s work has taken Wellington to the world and brought the world to Wellington through movies like Avatar and the Lord of the Rings. Film-making and film-going are part of the culture in the city now fondly known as Wellywood. Catch a film at the amazing Embassy Theatre, which played host to the world premiere of the Return of the King – the final instalment in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. If the weather isn’t behaving, then escape to one of Wellington’s art house theatres for an intimate movie experience, visit the Empire Theatre in Island Bay, Penthouse Cinema in Brooklyn, or the Lighthouse Cinema.
From culture to coffee, music to movie-making, Wellington’s sights and sounds will leave you wanting more. If you’re into the outdoors we’ve got action-packed adventure activities to picturesque walks around the beautiful harbour and hills. Come celebrate our culture at Te Papa or come face-to-face with the closest living relative to a dinosaur at ZEALANDIA. Get a taste of Wellywood at the Weta Cave movie museum or just watch the world go by at Oriental Bay, Wellington’s golden sand inner-city beach.
Dining out is a way of life for Wellingtonians. Home to hundreds of gastronomic delights and home to Cuisine Magazine’s Supreme Restaurant of the Year four out of five years, you’ll find quirky cafes, innovative menus showcasing the best in local produce and award-winning establishments, all within walking distance of your hotel. It’s fair to say we like our food in Wellington and we like it good.
If you’re a passionate foodie or just love to eat, take a fun food tour and experience the best of delicious cuisines and gourmet foods in Wellington. Get behind the scenes on a walking food tour, visit local markets or experience a boutique beer tour with a local beer expert.
Going away for a weekend, short break or a long holiday? Find, compare and book your perfect Wellington accommodation. From luxury hotels to budget backpackers, Wellington has the perfect place to lay your head.