Top 15 things to do in Wellington | Apollo Campervans NZ
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Wellington and the Wairarapa

Looking for great cafes, unique wildlife encounters, and boutique shopping? You’ll find it all and more in the Wellington and Wairarapa region. Wellington, the nation's capital, buzzes with an infectious energy, boasting an arts scene as vibrant as its famed coffee culture. Enjoy a relaxing breakfast overlooking Wellington’s beautiful harbour. Spend an afternoon meeting the wildlife at Wellington Zoo. And if you’re a foodie, you’ll love sampling the tasty offerings at Wellington’s renowned cafes and eateries. 

Just a short drive away, the Wairarapa region unfolds with its charming townships, renowned wineries, and lush rural landscapes. Once you’ve ticked off your list of things to do in Wellington, hit the road and start exploring everything on offer in the Wairarapa. We’re talking wineries, cycle trails, artisan producers, and spectacular coastlines boasting unbeatable stargazing.  

No matter what time of year you’re planning your campervan holiday in New Zealand, Wellington and Wairarapa stand out as year-round destinations. In summer, Wellington's waterfront comes alive, perfect for sun-drenched strolls and alfresco dining, while the Wairarapa's golden beaches beckon for lazy afternoons and vibrant sunsets. Autumn transforms the landscape into a tapestry of reds and golds; it's the best time to meander through the Wairarapa's vineyards, savouring the region's renowned pinot noir amidst the fall foliage.

 

Why explore Wellington & Wairarapa by Campervan

There’s no better way to discover Wellington and Wairarapa than with an Apollo campervan. Be as spontaneous or structured as you like. Take your time, travel at your own pace, and truly immerse yourself in everything on offer in this special region. With your own kitchen, bed, and bathroom onboard, travel by Apollo campervan is all about freedom and comfort. A road trip through Wellington and the Wairarapa in a campervan is all about the freedom to go where you want when you want. With a campervan, your plans are as flexible as your mood, allowing you to soak up moments that you'd miss if you were rushing to meet hotel or tour schedules.

Travelling by campervan isn't just about getting from A to B; it's about the experiences along the way. It's about impromptu picnics at breathtaking overlooks, morning coffees with views that beat any café, and nights spent under a blanket of stars. Fancy spending an extra day exploring a hidden gem you've stumbled upon? Go for it. Every turn in the road offers new possibilities, and with a campervan, you're in the driver's seat!

A campervan holiday in New Zealand, especially through areas like Wellington and the Wairarapa, is a journey into the heart of what makes this part of the world so special. And it's all yours to explore!

 

Things to do in Wellington & Wairarapa

Wellington and the Wairarapa are bursting at the seams with activities and sights, catering to every taste and interest. If you’re enjoying a family holiday, you’ll find plenty of great family-friendly things to do in Wellington that promise fun for all ages. And if you’re a foodie looking for a taste of something new, you’ll find no shortage of must-try food in Wellington. Venture into the Wairarapa, and you'll find a peaceful escape with wine tours, scenic hikes, and charming country towns waiting to be explored. 

Top 15 things to do in Wellington Top 15 things to do in Wellington

Top 15 things to do in Wellington

In this helpful guide, we share 15 of the must-do Wellington activities worth adding to your travel itinerary.  But first …

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Popular Wellington & Wairarapa road trips & itineraries

Positioned at the southern end of New Zealand's North Island, Wellington and the Wairarapa region are perfectly placed for unforgettable road trips. Starting from Wellington, you can easily navigate your way through the scenic routes that lead to the Wairarapa, where vineyards, coastlines, and quaint towns await. Whether you're coming from the North Island's urban centres or making the crossing from the South Island, these regions offer fantastic campervan road trip experiences with a variety of itineraries to suit every traveller’s taste. Here are a few worth checking out:

Ultimate 7-day South Island campervan itinerary Ultimate 7-day South Island campervan itinerary

Ultimate 7-day South Island campervan itinerary

Thinking of hitting the top of the South Island on a campervan road trip? Great idea! From the lively vibe of Christchurch to the stunning beauty...
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Great savings on your New Zealand road trip

Apollo offers a fantastic selection of deals and specials for those looking to explore New Zealand by campervan. From hot deals and last-minute discounts to long-term hire benefits, you’re sure to find a deal designed to help you make the most of your campervan adventure. 
 

Apollo Campervan branches

Christchurch

The drive from Apollo Christchurch to Wellington takes you along some of the South Island’s most scenic coastline. There’s a fair bit to see and do along the way, so be sure to take your time and perhaps plan an overnight stay in Kaikoura. This journey includes crossing the Cook Strait by ferry.

Queenstown

Keen to make the most of your road trip and explore more of the South Island? Book your camper with our Queenstown branch and spend a few days heading northward, including crossing the Cook Strait by ferry. You may even like to plan an epic road trip and continue on to Auckland. You can arrange to drop off your camper at any of our three branches. 

Auckland

The North Island is packed full of sights and experiences, so why not tick off a few with a road trip from Apollo Auckland to Wellington? The beauty of a campervan trip is that you can stop when you need to, change your route, or take a detour if you spot a signpost pointing to something you’d like to see. 

Auckland City Skyline

Auckland

New Zealand’s multi-cultural hub of food, music, arts and culture.

 

Christchurch City, New Zealand

Christchurch

 One of the world’s most unique destinations.

 

Queenstown

Breathtaking scenery and adrenaline-pumping adventure activities.

 

Helpful tips for visiting Wellington & Wairarapa

 

Climate and seasons in Wellington & The Wairarapa

Wellington and the Wairarapa showcase New Zealand's dynamic climate, offering a spectrum of seasonal experiences.

Wellington, known for as the ‘windy city’, presents a temperate maritime climate.

  • Summers (December to February) are pleasant with temperatures averaging around 19°C to 21°C, ideal for beach visits and outdoor cafes.
  • Autumn (March to May) brings cooler, calm days, perfect for exploring the city's vibrant arts scene.
  • Winter (June to August) sees temperatures drop to 6°C – 12°C, a time when the region's cultural events come to the forefront.
  • Spring (September to November) revitalises the city with mild temperatures and blooming gardens.

The Wairarapa, while sharing Wellington's temperate traits, often enjoys more pronounced seasonal contrasts, especially in the more rural areas. Expect crisp, frosty mornings in winter, transitioning to warm, dry summers ideal for vineyard tours. Rainfall is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, though June and July can be wetter, making the lush landscapes even more vivid.

 

 

 

 

What to pack

An adventure through Wellington and the Wairarapa in your campervan calls for thoughtful packing. Given the varied climates and the awesome variety of outdoor activities available, ensuring you have the right gear can make all the difference. From essential outdoor apparel to campervan must-haves and sun protection, here's what you should consider packing.

  • Outdoor gear: The great outdoors of Wellington and the Wairarapa invite exploration, so outdoor gear is important. Pack layers to adapt to the changing weather – think breathable fabrics for warm days and insulated, waterproof options for cooler, wetter conditions. Sturdy walking shoes are a must for those planning to tread the numerous trails or wander the vibrant city streets.
  • Campervan add-ons: To make the most of your campervan experience, consider packing some add-ons. A portable barbecue can elevate your dining under the stars, while extra camping chairs and a table (these can be added to your campervan hire) can make your outdoor setup more comfortable.
  • Sun protection: New Zealand's sun can be surprisingly intense, so ample sun protection is essential. A broad-spectrum sunscreen, UV-protected sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat should be on your packing list. For more helpful ideas, check out our guide to what to pack for your campervan road trip

For more helpful ideas, check out our guide to what to pack for your campervan road trip.

 

Nearby attractions and day trips from Wellington

Paekakariki & The Escarpment Track

Just a short drive from Wellington, Paekakariki serves as the gateway to The Escarpment Track, one of the region's most exhilarating walks. This trail offers stunning views of the Kāpiti Coast and the Tasman Sea, making it a favourite among hikers. The track's challenging stair sections and swing bridges add to the adventure, providing a rewarding experience with panoramic vistas at every turn.

Kāpiti Coast & Kāpiti Island

The Kāpiti Coast, with its beautiful beaches and quaint towns, is perfect for a leisurely day trip. For a unique adventure, take a boat to Kāpiti Island, a nature reserve that's home to some of New Zealand's most rare and endangered birds. The island's rich history and conservation efforts, combined with its natural beauty, make it a must-visit for nature enthusiasts.

Somes Island

Located in the middle of Wellington Harbour, Somes Island (Matiu) offers a peaceful escape with a rich history. Accessible by ferry, this predator-free scientific reserve boasts a unique blend of natural and historical attractions, including well-preserved WWII-era relics. It's an ideal spot for picnics, short walks, and wildlife spotting, especially for those interested in conservation and history.

Days Bay and the Remutakas

Days Bay, accessible by a scenic ferry ride from Wellington, is known for its vibrant arts scene, cafes, and swimming beach, making it a popular spot for relaxation and recreation. For the more adventurous, a drive through the Remutaka Ranges offers breathtaking views and access to a network of trails in the Remutaka Forest Park, perfect for hiking and biking enthusiasts.

 

 

Nearby attractions and day trips in the Wairarapa

Castle Point Lighthouse

Perched on a scenic clifftop, Castle Point Lighthouse stands as a beacon of beauty in the Wairarapa region. This historic lighthouse, accessible via a short, scenic walk, offers breathtaking views of the rugged coastline and the vast Pacific Ocean. It's an ideal spot for photography, wildlife watching, and soaking in the serene beauty of one of New Zealand's most picturesque locations.

Pūtangirua Pinnacles and Cape Palliser

The Pūtangirua Pinnacles, with their eerie, towering rock formations, offer a landscape that feels like stepping onto another planet. These geological wonders, coupled with a visit to nearby Cape Palliser, where you can climb New Zealand's tallest lighthouse, make for an unforgettable day trip full of adventure and natural beauty.

Greytown

Greytown is a charming Victorian country village known for its well-preserved heritage buildings, boutique shopping, and artisanal eateries. Strolling through the tree-lined streets, you'll find a delightful mix of antique stores, galleries, and cafes that exude a quaint, laid-back vibe. It's the perfect destination for those looking to unwind and indulge in the slower pace of rural New Zealand life.

 

 

Where to stay in Wellington & The Wairarapa with a campervan

Exploring Wellington and the Wairarapa in a campervan offers the ultimate freedom to discover New Zealand’s diverse landscapes and townships at your own pace. When it comes to finding the perfect spot to park and rest, there's no shortage of picturesque, comfy campgrounds that cater to every need. Here are a few worth adding to your travel itinerary:

Wellington

Wairarapa

For more great family friendly campsites and holiday parks, check out our guide to the best family friendly campgrounds near Wellington.

Hannah Klein
/ Categories: NZ blog

Top 15 things to do in Wellington.

Blending unique natural beauty with urban sophistication, Wellington offers endless exploration, making it a popular destination for motorhome travellers. If you’re planning to book a campervan hire and tick off some of the great things to do in Wellington, we’ve got you covered. 

Image: Instagram - @fieldnotes__

 

Where is Wellington?

Sitting at the southern tip of New Zealand's North Island, Wellington enjoys a unique position as a gateway between the North and South Islands. With regular ferry connections between the islands, this prime location makes Wellington the perfect central hub for those on a New Zealand road trip.

 

What’s Wellington known for?

Wellington is celebrated not only as New Zealand’s political capital but also as its creative capital. Often referred to as Wellywood, the city has gained international fame for its contributions to the film industry. Wellington is also home to several significant museums, theatres, and art galleries. Foodies are well catered to also, with a vibrant café culture including a number of excellent artisan coffee roasters. Add in an awesome calendar of festivals and events, a great selection of bars and clubs, and a compact layout that makes the city easy to get around, and you can see why Wellington is a must-visit destination.

 

The best way to explore Wellington

There’s no better way to make the most of the many great Wellington attractions than with an Apollo campervan hire. Relax in the luxury, privacy, and convenience of your cosy camper. With all your home comforts on board, it’s easy to create home-cooked meals in your own kitchen, use the bathroom anytime, and take a nap whenever you need to in your own comfy bed.

 

 

 

Top 15 things to do in Wellington

Now that you know the best way to explore the capital, let’s take a look at some of the fun things to do while you’re there. 
 

Mount Victoria Lookout

Before you start exploring, the best way to get your bearings of the city is by checking out the views from the top of Mount Victoria. Take in the expansive panorama of Wellington city, its sparkling harbour, and the backdrop of rolling green hills. You can either drive to the top of Mt Vic or walk along one of the many trails in the Town Belt. We suggest grabbing some fish and chips to enjoy while you’re up there. Settle in on the hillside, and relax while watching ferries sail into the harbour, and planes fly in and out of the airport. 

 

Wellington Museum

Located on Queens Wharf, Wellington Museum is a treasure trove of history and heritage. Housed in a historic building that once served as the Bond Store, the museum offers visitors a fascinating journey through Wellington's evolution. Thoughtfully curated exhibits and engaging storytelling techniques paint a vivid picture of the people, events, and cultural shifts that have left indelible marks on Wellington's identity. As an ode to the city's close ties with the sea, the museum also provides a deep dive into its nautical stories, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts and curious explorers alike.

 

Willis Lane

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Wellington, you can’t go past Willis Lane. Once home to historic underground walkways, the site has transformed over the years to become a lively epicentre for food aficionados and fun-seekers alike. From freshly brewed morning coffee to late-night dumplings, Willis Lane is a haven for the hungry. But it's not just about food. For those in the mood for some good old-fashioned fun, the bowling alley offers the perfect setting for friendly rivalry. 

 

Cable Car

The Wellington Cable Car is an iconic symbol of the city's history and innovative spirit. Operating since 1902, this charming red carriage connects the central city to the elevated suburb of Kelburn. As you head uphill, relax and enjoy the breathtaking views of the harbour, cityscape, and surrounding hills. Once you reach the top, pop into the Cable Car Museum to find out more about the history of its operation. 

 

Glow-worms at the Botanic Gardens

For something just a little different, head to Wellington’s Botanic Gardens as darkness falls to witness the mesmerising glow-worms. Nestled amidst the flora, these tiny luminous creatures offer a magical spectacle, turning the gardens into a twinkling wonderland. For the best experience, take a guided glow-worm tour. These are available throughout the year, although the best time to spot glow-worms is during spring after rainfall.
 

Weta Workshop

Check out New Zealand’s world-famous movie-making magic. Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how Wētā Workshop helps craft some of the world’s biggest films. See props and costumes crafted for The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, District 9, The Chronicles of Narnia and more. Take a guided tour to learn more about how the movie effects are made, what goes into creating costumes, and how movie make-up is applied. Afterwards, explore the retail shop and browse the collectables, books, and games. There’s even a mini museum to check out. 

 

Crocodile Bikes

Take a ride on the wild side! Cruise along Wellington’s scenic Oriental Bay aboard a Crocodile Bike. Hire a three- or six-seater and see the waterfront the easy way. Afterwards, call into Shake and treat yourself to the ultimate in indulgence – the Crocshake. We recommend the Unicorn Crocshake featuring rainbow ice cream, 100s & 1000s, candy floss, rainbow candy and sprinkles. Yum!

 

Zealandia Twilight Tour

Keen to meet some of New Zealand’s unique native wildlife? Located just minutes from central Wellington, Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne is the world’s first fully fenced, predator-proof ecosanctuary. For a truly unforgettable experience, head along after dark and join a Twilight Tour. The tours offer visitors an intimate glimpse into the nocturnal habits of some of the country's most elusive creatures. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a kiwi rustling through the underbrush. 

 

The Beehive

Step into the epicentre of New Zealand’s political arena with a visit to the Beehive. This unique architectural masterpiece, with its circular design and tiered profile, is easy to spot among the parliamentary buildings. Just head to the corner of Molesworth Street and Lambton Quay. For the best experience, book into a guided tour where you’ll be able to see some of the highlights within the building while hearing more about what goes on inside.  

 

City Gallery

Immerse yourself in the world of contemporary art at City Gallery Wellington. This cutting-edge gallery curates an array of thought-provoking exhibitions, providing a platform for both local and international artists. Each display offers a fresh perspective. From visual masterpieces to multimedia installations, the gallery invites visitors to engage, interpret, and be inspired. Whether you're an art enthusiast or a curious observer, the gallery promises a transformative experience.

 

Witching Hour Mini Golf 

Step into a ghostly realm at Wellington's Witching Hour Mini Golf. This unique venue adds a spooky touch to the classic game of mini golf. Navigate your way through 13 haunted holes complete with projected illusions, black lights, and creepy props. Afterwards, recover your composure with a drink at the bar. 

 

Sweet Axe

If mini golf and galleries don’t quite tick the boxes, how about a bit of axe throwing? Tap into your inner lumberjack at Sweet Axe as you aim for the target and experience the primal thrill of hurtling an axe through the air. It’s all perfectly safe of course, although be warned – this activity does bring out the competitive streak in most, so start warming up that throwing arm!

 

The Occasional Brewer

Attention craft beer aficionados, this one is for you. Indulge in Wellington's craft beer scene at The Occasional Brewer. Book into a Brewing Experience to learn all about what goes into making a crafty brew. Learn the entire process from start to finish – you can even enjoy a beer and snacks while you brew. Prefer something a little stronger? There are whisky and gin making experiences too.

 

Space Place

Take a cosmic journey at Space Place within the Carter Observatory. This awesome Wellington attraction offers an immersive experience into the wonders of the universe. Boasting a state-of-the-art planetarium, visitors can traverse galaxies, explore celestial wonders, and uncover the mysteries of the night sky. Beyond the dome, Space Place features interactive exhibits and displays that delve into the complexities of space science. Whether you're a budding astrophysicist or simply curious about the cosmos, Space Place delivers a stellar adventure that ignites both imagination and understanding.

 

Te Papa Museum

A must-do for visitors to Wellington, Te Papa Museum, officially known as the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, tells the stories of Aotearoa New Zealand through innovative and interactive exhibitions. As the national museum, it offers a profound journey into New Zealand's rich tapestry of history, art, and Māori heritage. Located prominently along Wellington's waterfront, plan your visit for a Sunday morning so you can pop into the Harbourside Market next door for brunch. 

 

 

Ready to explore Wellington?

From movie magic to craft beer brewing, Wellington is awash with unique activities that make it a mecca for motorhomers. And there’s no better way to enjoy it all than with an Apollo campervan hire. Pick up your prebooked camper from our Auckland or Christchurch branch and head off on the ultimate New Zealand road trip. You can even pick up your camper at one branch and drop it off at another. Take the first step and book your Apollo campervan hire online now.

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