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.
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.