When it comes to planning a trip to New Zealand, there are a handful of places that inevitably end up on a travel itinerary: Auckland (since most international flights arrive there), Queenstown (the adventure capital of New Zealand), and natural sights like Mount Cook and Milford Sound.
But a lot of people seem to skip Wellington, New Zealand's capital city.
Located on the southern tip of the North Island of New Zealand, Wellington is often overlooked by travelers in a hurry to get to the South Island. It seems like people assume Wellington is “just another capital city,” and probably not all that exciting.
But you shouldn't skip it. Wellington is full of character and beautiful views, and it definitely should make it onto your New Zealand itinerary, even if for only a day.
With 24 hours in Wellington, here are some of the things you won't want to miss:
Grab coffee at a Wellington favorite
New Zealand may not have the coffee reputation that nearby Australia does, but that doesn't mean you can't find a great brew in Wellington. Start your morning with a delicious house-roasted coffee and breakfast at the Flight Coffee Hangar on Dixon Street.
Visit Te Papa
The national museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, is located in the heart of Wellington, right on the waterfront. Even if you don't consider yourself a museum person, you'll want to dedicate at least a couple hours to Te Papa. The museum not only covers things like New Zealand's Maori history and the science of earthquakes, but it’s also highly interactive, making it fun for all ages.
Stroll along Oriental Bay
After Te Papa, spend some time enjoying the Wellington waterfront. On a sunny day, you're likely to find a good portion of Wellington's local population strolling along the harbor or relaxing at Oriental Bay, the only real beach in the city.
View the City to Sea Bridge and Civic Square
Set your sights on the City to Sea Bridge, a pedestrian walkway and public artwork that connects Civic Square to the waterfront. The bridge is covered in wooden sculptures carved by Maori artist Paratene Matchitt, and it’s an attraction in its own right. At the far end of the bridge lies Civic Square, where you can find the famous “Fern Ball” sculpture hovering overhead.
Take the Cable Car
Another must-do in this part of town is hopping a ride on the historic Wellington Cable Car. It’s been running between Lambton Quay and Kelburn for more than 100 years, carrying locals going about their day-to-day lives and tourists looking for some great views. The topmost cable car station (which also has a free cable car museum worth checking out) is right next to the Wellington Botanic Garden, and it offers some great views of the city.
Grab drinks and dinner on Cuba Street
Next, head over to one of the liveliest streets in Wellington. On Cuba Street, you'll find everything from shops to bars to lots of international restaurants. The pedestrian-only section of Cuba Street is also a great place to watch local street performers, and you'll want to be sure to see the famous Bucket Fountain, too. Grab a cocktail at Matterhorn, and then head over to Fidel's for Cuban food. You may want to visit the Plum Cafe or Floriditas for dinner.
Enjoy the nightlife of Courtenay Place
Not far from Cuba Street you'll find Courtenay Place, which is the hub of Wellington's nightlife. There, you'll find theaters, pubs, clubs, and restaurants. Grab some dessert at The Library Lounge, or head over to the Vinyl Bar to listen to its extensive record collection. If it's dancing you're looking for, Electric Avenue and The Establishment are always good bets.
Following this itinerary, you're sure to have an unforgettable day in Wellington!
Have you been to Wellington? What other must-dos would you add to this list?
*All content provided in this blog is supplied by Amanda Williams and is for informational purposes only. Barclaycard makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.