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World Travel Guide > Guides > Oceania > New Zealand > Wellington

Wellington Weather

19°C

Local time Wellington

Currency

NZ$

Travel to Wellington

Flying to Wellington

There are no direct flights from the UK to Wellington. Airlines offering through tickets include Air New Zealand, Emirates, British Airways and Qantas. The peak time to travel is during the New Zealand summer between December and March when flights are most expensive. You can usually find the cheapest fares to Wellington between mid-April and August. If flying from the west coast of the USA, you need to change planes in Auckland.

Flight times

From London - 28 hours (including stopover); New York - 27 hour (including stopover); Los Angeles - 16 hours (including stopover); Toronto - 23 hours (including stopover); Sydney - 3 hours 10 minutes.

Travel by road

New Zealand is an ideal country to explore by car, as the scenery is spectacular. Most roads are State Highways ('SH'). All other roads are known, although not officially, as 'B' roads.

Traffic drives on the left. The minimum driving age is 16, although there are restrictions placed on drivers under 18. You need a valid national driving licence to drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months. Insurance is not mandatory but recommended.

Speed limits are 100kph (62mph) on open roads, 50kph (31mph) in urban areas and 20kph (12mph) in the vicinity of schools and stopped school buses.

The New Zealand Automobile Association (www.aa.co.nz) provides information on road conditions (tel: 0900 33 222, in New Zealand) and general information (tel: +64 9 966 8688, in New Zealand) and has a reciprocal agreement with the British AA, so visiting members can get free maps.

Emergency breakdown services

AA (tel: 0800 500 222, in New Zealand).

Routes

The two main roads into the city are SH1 down the Kapiti coast from the north, and SH2 through the Hutt Valley to the east.

Coaches

InterCity (tel: +64 4 385 0520; www.intercity.co.nz) runs coaches throughout New Zealand. Backpackers also use the Kiwi Experience (tel: +64 9 366 4286; www.kiwiexperience.com) which sells a variety of passes including accommodation in hostels.

Time to city

From Auckland - 8 hours; Christchurch - 10 hours 30 minutes (including ferry); Napier - 4 hours; Hamilton - 6 hours 30 minutes.

Travel by Rail

Services

Wellington Railway Station is located in the centre of the city, on Bunny Street. As well as being a point of departure for services to other key destinations in the country, it's also the base for Metlink suburban trains to outlying areas.

Operators

KiwiRail Scenic Journeys (tel: +64 4 495 0775 or 0800 872 467; www.kiwirailscenic.co.nz) operates New Zealand's rail service. Trains are efficient and reasonably priced but rare, operating more as a tourist service than a business or commuter network.

There's a range of rail routes from all major New Zealand cities, including KiwiRail's Northern Explorer service to Auckland, which departs three times a week via beautiful locations on the North Island.

Journey times

From Auckland - 11 hours.

Travel by boat

Wellington is a major ferry port connection for services across the beautiful Cook Strait to Picton in the Marlborough Sounds on the South Island. The journey connects New Zealand's two islands and is scenic as well as practical. Wellington is also a major cruise terminal.

Ferry operators

Interislander (tel: +64 4 498 3302, in New Zealand; www.interislander.co.nz) offers regular services from Picton to Wellington and back. The journey takes just over three hours.

Bluebridge (tel: +64 4 471 6188; www.bluebridge.co.nz) also provides services from Picton to the city. The route takes three and a half hours.

Port Website

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Featured Hotels

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Ohtel

Inspired by New York’s high-end boutique hotel scene and modern architecture, Ohtel is a small but luxurious place to stay for the traveller who wants a unique Wellington experience. All the mid-century furnishings are from the founder’s private collection, and the hotel itself is built into the base of a steep coastal cliff space. Even the cheapest rooms are equipped with free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee. 

Hotel Waterloo & Backpackers

Right in the centre of Wellington Hotel Waterloo & Backpackers offers a wide selection of accommodation options ranging from eight bunk dormitories to private rooms with en-suite bathrooms. The hotel first opened its doors back in 1937 and underwent a number of extensive revamps after being purchased by its current owners in 1997. Facilities include a bar a café a 24 hour fully equipped kitchen and a travel desk.

Cambridge Hotel

The Cambridge has been a Wellington establishment since 1883 - Queen Elizabeth herself stayed here in the 1960s. Overall, it offers great facilities at amazing prices. Located in the centre of Wellington, it is minutes from major attractions, fine dining, and great shopping. The Cambridge has rooms to suit all budgets, from backpacker dorms to en-suite doubles and all of the rooms come with SKY TV and a mini fridge. 

Victoria Court Motor Lodge

In the heart of downtown Wellington, this lodge offering studios, and one- and two-bedroom apartments, is ideally located within easy walking distance of theatres, shops, bars and museums. Most of the 25 units have spa baths/showers, cook tops, queen-size beds and Sky TV. Off-street parking is available.

InterContinental Wellington Hotel

The imposing InterContinental Hotel, the best five-star hotel in town, is one of the city's landmarks, with two restaurants, café, pool, sauna, fitness centre, large indoor heated swimming pool, conference and banquet facilities, and business centre. Many of the 231 modern and stylish rooms and suites have excellent harbour views.

Ibis Wellington

This international budget chain hotel is a good-value option for those who want to be close to the action, but don't want to stay in a backpacker's hostel. There's a restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner but limited parking.