Wellington in 3 Days

Morning view from my Airbnb

I recently spent a week in Wellington, the cultural capital of New Zealand, for work. I had lots of meetings but was able to see several great things in “Windy Welly.” A southern point of the North Island, the capital of NZ has great food, boutiques and a hipster vibe. Here are my best places to visit if you only have 3 days:

  • Lord of the Rings Sites

    Gandalf flying over the Wellington Airport

    As soon as you land, either Domestically or Internationally, you will see lots of icons all around the airport. From Gandalf and Smaug, to Middle Earth signs, it will make any LOTR fan get excited!

    There are lots of other sites in Wellington with Lord of the Rings, as it was the main spot that the cast and crew stayed when they filmed the movies. You can find another on your way up to the summit on Mount Victoria.

  • Mt. Victoria Summit

    Looking toward the airport

    Starting from the bottom, it took me about an hour to reach the summit. There are several trails you can take and there is even a bike trail. If you have a car, you can drive up, but I recommend walking as you can see different views of the city throughout this forest.
    You can go at any point during the day yet I chose late afternoon. I got to the top right at sunset, which created great colors over the water. It was hard to see into the CBD, but that just made for better views looking at the mountains and toward the airport. The walk down only took me about 20 min.

    A scene from LOTR was filmed here!

  • Cable Car and Kelburn Summit

    Pick a clear day for views like this!

    A symbol of Wellington, the Cable Car is $4 dollars one way and $7 for round trip. It runs every 10 minutes and only takes 5 minutes to get to the top. From there, you have another great view of the Central Business District and Mt. Victoria.

    On the short ride, passengers go thru 2 tunnels with fun lights. Once at the top, you can walk downhill to the bottom in about 30 minutes thru the Botanical Gardens. You can spend more time in the free Cable Car Museum or go to Zealandia.

  • Cuba Street

    One of many vintage shops

    From all the second hand stores to the various coffee shops, there is something for everyone on this lively street.Midnight Expresso was my favorite cafe, while Laundry was my favorite bar. Ombra had a great Italian menu for dinner while Aunty Mena’s had lots of vegan options.

Wellington really is fun and for all ages. I can’t wait to go back at the end of July to try more coffee shops!

Fan of Lord of the Rings like myself? Prepare your visit to New Zealand with this book about where to go to see sites of the filming!

How do you define the vibe of a new city you’ve visited?


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