Spending two days in New Zealand’s capital gives you time to soak up the city’s sights and culinary delights, explore the rugged coastline, and enjoy nearby wineries. You can also learn about local wildlife and about the making of the Lord of the Rings movies. Here are a few ways to spend your time during a 2-day stay in Wellington.
Day 1: Explore the City
Morning: Start your visit with panoramic views of the city and Wellington Harbour from Mt. Victoria Lookout, just one of 11 stops on a hop-on hop-off bus tour that will take you to visit the city’s main sights. You can also opt to get around by foot or electric bike or to enjoy the city from above on a helicopter flight.
Afternoon: Spend the afternoon imbibing and indulging. Wellington’s central business district and waterfront have become foodie destinations with a burgeoning craft beer scene. Oenophiles can opt for a winery tour and head a bit further afield, to Martinborough, in the Waipara wine region, which is home to a number of top-notch vineyards and boutique wineries.
Night: End your first day with a visit to Miramar, the Wellington suburb that is the epicentre of the city’s creative film industry. You can enjoy a three-course dinner at CoCo at the Roxy—an art deco restaurant in a theater—and take an evening tour of Weta Workshop, where you can learn about movie props and special effects.
Day 2: Head Into the Wild
Morning: Wellington’s rugged and rocky “seal coast” provides visitors with an opportunity to see New Zealand fur seals. Head to the area with a private guide or take a small group tour in a 4-wheel-drive vehicle to observe the animals in the wild.
Afternoon: Follow in Frodo’s footsteps with a trip to the locations used for filming The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. Join a trilogy tour to see the North Island countryside around Wellington, used to depict Middle-earth; Kaitoke Regional Park, which serves as the Elven terrain of Rivendell; and other notable sites.
Night: There’s no need to venture far from the city to search for native wildlife: Spend the evening exploring the Zealandia ecosanctuary, where you can learn about the area’s ecosystem and history and look for the nocturnal little spotted kiwi in the hours just before or after dusk.