How to Spend 48 Hours in Wellington

Wellington in New Zealand is the perfect place for a two-day trip. The capital of New Zealand is visited by thousands of tourists every single year. Many of whom use it as a city break in between  big road trip adventures across the North and South Islands. In just 48 hours, you can visit many of the top attractions in the city centre because of its compact layout and easy accessibility. The city is easy to navigate, perfect for public transport use and has plenty of bustling culture and activities to entertain anyone that visits. From Te Papa to the Botanic Gardens, Cuba Street and Mount Victoria, there is just so much to see and do while in Wellington! Keep reading on below for how to spend 48 hours in Wellington. 

Get in a Good Breakfast

No city break is complete without a good breakfast to fuel up for the activities ahead. Wellington has one of the best selections of cafes and breakfast restaurants in New Zealand. So, whether you’ve just touched down at the airport, or you’ve woken up from your hotel stay, you can easily find a great way to break your fast before heading out to explore. We recommend heading right into the city centre and checking out Squirrel NZ, Neo Cafe and Eatery, Scopa, or Fidel’s. Or just walk up and down the infamous Cuba Street and pop into one of the many cafes here. You won’t be disappointed! 

View at Mt Victoria
Walk up Mount Victoria

Here’s another place where you can get up high and see the city from a fresh perspective. Maybe start your second day with this quick hike to work up your appetite for another delicious breakfast! It’s only a short walk, but the effort is worth it, and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views. Plus, for any movie fans here, you can spot one of the key scenes from Lord of the Rings while climbing up!

Head Up High to the Botanics

The Botanic Gardens of Wellington are situated high above the rest of the city. If the weather is good and you fancy some fresh air, we recommend ticking this off as soon as possible - not only are the gardens great, but you’ll gain a new perspective of the city itself! One way to get up here is via the cable car from Lambton Quay - it’s an iconic journey and one that will reward you with some of the best city views you’ll find during your stay in Wellington. Once up high in the sky, spend an hour or two walking through the gardens. There’s plenty to see, including the Australian Garden and Begonia House. The garden is a great way to gather your bearings and take some time to unwind before the true city break begins. 

Learn in Te Papa

Te Papa is definitely somewhere that you’ll lose track of time in and emerge three hours later full of knowledge and appreciation for New Zealand culture and history. We recommend dedicating at least an afternoon here to fully immerse yourself in and spend enough time exploring all that this incredible museum has to offer. Te Papa was listed by Lonely Planet as one of their top 500 places on earth, so you already know that this museum is simply a must-do. There are so many incredible exhibitions here to see: some particular standouts include the ones on Māori art, the New Zealand Wars and the Gallipoli Exhibition, which were designed by the same crew that worked on the ‘Lord of the Rings’ films.

Waterfront at Wellington
Spend Time at the Waterfront

The Wellington Harbour is a stunning area to spend some time in! Perhaps stop here for lunch on both days, while you bask in the sunshine. The seafood here is phenomenal, so we recommend either the Crab Shack or Shed 5 if you do stop for food. If not, simply walk around and enjoy the spots of poetry, art, and culture that are sprinkled throughout the harbour, or try one of the many water activities available here.

Go to Weta Workshop

Again, for movie fans, this is a top spot to visit. The Weta Workshop or Weta Cave is where many of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ props and costumes were designed, from the Orks to Gollum and even the Trolls too! You’ll be able to go through and learn how they designed and made each costume and see other films that the team here have worked on (hint, they’re all huge blockbuster films). We recommend this for an afternoon trip that can easily fit into your day of exploring. 

Your time in Wellington will be jam-packed. From the time you arrive, you’ll never run out of things to do, places to see, and food to eat. Wellington is a great city for that perfect weekend break or a needed stopover in between long road trips and exciting hikes. You’ll have an amazing time exploring!


To experience "the coolest little capital in the world" , hire a car from Wellington Airport today!


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