48-Hours in Wellington: Where to go and what to see

Wellington Cable Car | 48-Hours in Wellington

There’s a whole lot to love about New Zealand’s capital! Wellington is the perfect city to spend 48-hours in with its compact size but a melting pot of culture! From the waterfront promenade, sandy beaches, museums, great food and quirky creative scene, there’s plenty to do on a two-day trip to Wellington.

If you are looking for the best things if you only have two days in Wellington, this is the post for you! Discover what to see and do with 48-hours in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city!

Day One

Wellington Cable Car

One of the most iconic things to do in Wellington is to take the Wellington Cable Car. Running between Lambton Quay, the main shopping street, and Kelburn, a suburb in the hills overlooking the central city, the cable car will take you on a journey rising 120 m over a length of 612 m.

The short five-minute ride provides riders with arguable some of the most spectacular views in the city.

Once at the top, spent some time enjoying the view and visiting the Botanic Garden, Cable Car Museum, Space Place (at Carter Observatory) and Zealandia (via free shuttle).

A Waterfront Lunch

After your morning exploration, head to the Wellington Waterfront for lunch.

Take a walk along the waterfront, one of the cities most beautiful locations on a fine day. Along the route, there are sculptures and hidden excerpts of poetry to be spotted. If you have some extra time, consider renting a kayak or canoe to explore the water and see the city from a different view!

But let’s talk lunch! There are plenty of great places to eat on the Wellington waterfront. If you want relaxed vibes, check out The Crab Shack located on Princes Wharf. For something a little more upmarket, consider Shed 5.

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Te Papa Museum of New Zealand

The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is New Zealand’s national museum. Better known as Te Papa, or ‘Our Place’, it opened in 1998 after the merging of the countries National Museum and the National Art Gallery and is well known globally for its cutting edge approach to telling the stories of Aotearoa New Zealand.

While there, discover the earthquake simulator, a Māori marae (meeting place), the skeleton of a pygmy blue whale and arguably their most famous resident – a 4.2-metre and largest colossal squid on record which that washed up off the coast of New Zealand!

I highly recommend you set aside two to three hours to explore the museum and take a guided tour.

Wellington Sunday Market | 48-Hours in Wellington | What to do in Wellington

Day Two

Breakfast at the Market

If you are visiting on a Sunday, enjoy a hearty breakfast at Wellington’s Sunday Market. Soak up the bustling and colourful atmosphere while you enjoy breakfast from one of the food trucks. Take in the buskers playing music and locals buying fresh fish straight from the moored fishing boats!

Mount Victoria Look Out

After a hearty breakfast, take an easy walk up to Mount Victoria Lookout. Here, you can get a panoramic view of Wellington, the harbour and its surrounding bays. It’s a short walk, perfect for easing into the day, and the descent will take you back into the city.

After a trip to Mount Victoria, consider hopping on a bus to visit Scorching Bay – one of Wellington’s best beaches with crystal clear waters.

Weta Workshop

New Zealand was put on the map massively thanks to the cinematic masterpiece that is Lord of the Rings. For those movie buffs, it’s been remiss to visit Wellington without making the pilgrimage to the Weta Workshop, where you’ll learn out all about the magic Peter Jackson and his team of special and visual effects wizards did for movies such as The Hobbit, Avatar, and Ghost in the Shell.

Craft Beer & Street Art

A pint and a pizza sounds like a perfect way to celebrate your 48-hours in Wellington! Get a taste of the cities famous craft beer scene on Ghuznee Street. This street is just a few blocks back from the waterfront and has a fantastic choice of brew bars including Whistling Sisters, Fortune Favours and Choice Bros set amongst plenty of Wellington’s best street art.

Ghuznee Street not to your fancy? Check out nearby Cuba Street. Heyday and Golding’s Free Dive are two local favourites.

Intercontinental Wellington | 48-Hours in Wellington | Where to stay in Wellington

Where to stay in Wellington

Intercontinental Wellington – 2 Grey Street, Wellington Central – This luxury hotel in Wellington is set along the harbour waterfront. Discover spacious, plush rooms with harbour and city views. Onsite you’ll have access to the gym, two restaurants (including award-winning Chameleon!), and a bar. Club rooms also get access to the Club Lounge for breakfast, drinks, canapés, and general lounging. I highly recommend booking a Harbour View room during your stay for a truly 5-star experience!

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QT Wellington – 90 Cable Street, Te Aro – QT Hotels are known for their quirky nature with luxury accommodations, and so it’s a great choice if you are seeking a boutique hotel in Wellington. The chic playful rooms feature abstract art, cosy linens, and some come with a kitchenette and additional lounge space. Rooms come with either a mountain or harbour view. There’s also free WiFi, a pool, spa and sauna at the hotel for guests to enjoy during their stay.

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ibis Wellington – 153 Featherston Street, Wellington Central – Nestled among the bustle of Lamberton Quay and within walking distance to many of the cities best attractions, the ibis is a perfect budget hotel in Wellington for those who want to save money but don’t want to skimp on location. The classic ibis Design has comfortable guest rooms with basic amenities – a minibar, workspace, and ensuite. iBusiness rooms also include a Nespresso machine.

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How to get from Wellington Airport to the CBD?

Wellington Airport is 8 kilometres away from the Central Business District (CBD). The average journey is 15-25 minutes depending on traffic flow and time of day.

Bus: Airport Flyer Bus services have been suspended at this time due to COVID-19.

Taxi: taxi ranks can be found directly outside the baggage claim area on the Ground Floor of the main terminal. Use Door G. Fares cost between NZD$30-40 depending on where you are travelling to in the city.

Rideshare: Uber, Ola and Zoomy are all available in Wellington! To find your driver, exit the airport on the Ground Level through Door G, head straight across the crossings and follow the walkway through the rental cars to the pick-up area at the southern end.

Airport shuttle: Supershuttle is a cheaper option than taking a taxi or rideshare if you’re travelling on your own or in a large group. Costs vary depending on your destination, but on average the shuttle begins at NZD$15. Shuttle ranks can be found directly outside the baggage claim area on the Ground Floor of the main terminal, but you can book online or download the free app.

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