Located at the southern tip of North Island, New Zealand’s cool capital boasts a thriving restaurant and café scene complemented by an eclectic creative culture and spectacular nature to explore. Whether you’re a gourmand looking to taste local flavours, a thrill-seeker ready to adventure through the untamed wilderness or an art aficionado hoping to admire one-of-a-kind exhibitions, Wellington is perfect for every type of traveller. Here’s the rundown of everything you need to know before you leave for your trip to Wellington.
Entering New Zealand
To enter New Zealand you’ll need a valid passport and a completed declaration form as well as a Traveller Pass. Australians don’t need a visa to enter New Zealand or to stay indefinitely, as long as they haven’t been convicted of a crime or deported from any country.
New Zealand has strict biosecurity laws to preserve its pristine natural environment. Read the Passenger Arrival Card carefully to ensure you aren’t bringing in any banned goods. Declare anything you’re unsure of or dispose of the item in the marked bins. For the latest information on entry and exit to and from New Zealand, go to Smart Traveller.
Flying into Wellington International Airport (WLG)
Qantas offers direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. Flight time from Sydney is just over three hours and Wellington International Airport is located eight kilometres north of the city centre.
Many visitors opt for car rental while in the country. There are seven car rental operators at Wellington International Airport and the counters for these are on the Ground Level next to domestic baggage claim.
Those not picking up a car can take the new Airport Express bus between Wellington Airport and Wellington Railway Station – in the heart of the city – for NZ$9.50 (about $8) per person or $7.51 (about $6) per person if you have a Snapper card.
Another option is the Super Shuttle which offers discount rates for passengers travelling in the same group to the same destination. A shuttle to Wellington CBD starts at NZ$18 (about $15) and you can pre-book online.
Alternatively, taxi ranks can be found directly outside the baggage claim area on the Ground Floor of the main terminal.
Covid-19 Vaccine Advice
Travellers do not need proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter New Zealand nor do they require a COVID-19 pre-departure test to enter New Zealand. The risk of COVID-19 in New Zealand is similar to Australia and Smart Traveller advises that you exercise normal safety precautions and ensure your vaccinations are up to date before you travel.
Wellington has a temperate marine climate with temperate summers and mild winters. Summer offers the most pleasant weather, but spring and autumn are also good times to visit, weatherwise. During the summer months, the temperature rarely ever rises above 25 °C. Winter is the rainiest time of year and averages around 4°C, so ensure you have wet-weather gear and extra layers of clothing during these months. The city is often described as windy due to its seaside location on the Cook Strait, so pack clothing appropriate for unexpected gusts.
When to Go
The best time of year to visit Wellington varies depending on what experiences each traveller is interested in. Summer is the busiest time, as people take advantage of the more pleasant weather for mountain biking and sea-water kayaking, as well as picturesque walks around the harbour and surrounding hills.
A similarly laid-back dress code as seen in Australia makes it easy to pack for a trip to Wellington. As temperatures change more dramatically than in Australia, however, it’s best to bring layers for temperamental conditions, comfy shoes for walking and some wet-weather gear in case of rain.
The most convenient place to stay for both leisure and business travellers is in the city centre. The CBD is home to an eclectic mix of luxe hotels, backpacker hostels and Airbnbs as well as most of the city’s cultural attractions, entertainment venues and dining options. If you’re camping, Barnett Street Car Park on the Wellington Waterfront is available to freedom campers with self-contained vehicles for NZ$30 (about $26) a day.
Power sockets in New Zealand have the same voltage as those in Australia (240 volts) and take the same two- and three-pin plugs, so there’s no need to bring an adaptor.
Image credit: Wellington NZ (Mt-Victoria-Lookout), Nicola Edmonds (Hannahs Laneway Eva Leeds), PIVOT Photography (View over Wellington city from Mt Victoria), Celeste-Fontein (Wellington boatsheds)
Handy Apps and Websites
- Smart Traveller for safety information.
- XE for currency conversion.
- The New Zealand Transport Agency for advice on driving in New Zealand.
- Adventure Smart to safely plan an epic trip.
- Met Link to check Airport Express times.
- AA Traveller for checking driving times to your chosen destinations.
- Freedom Camping for information on where you’re allowed to camp.