Things to do in New Zealand?

Specifically in the Wellington area? I’m starting to plan a trip for next April, and since I was planning on visiting Japan, I figured that as long as I was on that side of the world, I would go to New Zealand too. I’ve been interested in the Wellington area ever since Rump was elected, but I would like to see it before I start applying for jobs and such.


It depends what sort of thing you are wanting to do and how long you are intending to be here. Wellington isn’t really a tourist trap sort of area so we don’t have the adventure stuff like Queenstown or Rotorua, but we do have a lot of stuff for people who live here.
First off though, you have to realise that New Zealand is small. The population of New Zealand is about the same as Los Angeles. Wellington is NZ’s second largest city, and the population is about 200K. The greater Wellington region (the bottom part of the North Island) has a population of around 500K - still considerably less than San Francisco. The reason I’m saying this is because the stuff we have here is just going to be smaller than overseas, and probably smaller than you are used to.

That said, the places I’d be visiting are:

  • Te Papa - our national museum
  • Zealandia - a predator free wildlife sanctuary (mainly a nice set of walks)
  • The botanic gardens
  • The Weta cave - Weta workshops tour
  • The waterfront is well worth visiting - I walk there every lunch time. There are also e-bikes for hire there if that interests you.

We also have a few theatres, but there’s probably nothing there you couldn’t get at home.
I don’t drink coffee, but I’ve been told that the coffee culture in Wellington is among the best in the world. There are coffee shops all over the place.

I’ll add other things as I think of them - and I’ll try and answer any specific questions or requests you have :smile:

Thanks! I’m looking to see what life is like there. I don’t mind it being smaller. I will definitely be putting some of those on my itinerary.

What is the weather likely to be like in April?

Sorry, I forgot to add the weather (I meant to). It’s the middle of autumn at that stage, so the weather is likely to be a bit unsettled. Basically it’ll be a lottery - you might get sunny days, it might rain all the time. April this year was probably 2/3 sunny, and fairly warm. Highest temperature was 22C (72F), lowest overnight was 10C (50F)

What about Bag End Hobbiton?

That’s actually worth a visit.
It’s about 6 or 7 hours drive north of Wellington though.

If you’re flying to NZ from Japan, you’d be flying over Australia anyway, so it would be remiss of me not to mention that Adelaide is almost within the same timezone as Japan. :wink:

Adelaide is also a small place comparative to many US (and Australian) cities (1.2M) but we do boast two world-class wine regions: the Barossa Valley 2 hours or so to the north, and McLaren Vale one hour to the south. There are some excellent coffee houses here as well, and Adelaide eateries in general are known for having a good balance of quality and price.

There are also the tourist traps, of course - Glenelg is great on a nice day, but Brighton (15 minutes to the south) has that beachy vibe.

That’s a good point, Martinborough is one of our big wine areas - about 1.5 hours away from Wellington :laughing:

Never heard of it. :stuck_out_tongue: :smile:

@MikeP - What’s public transportation like? It might be worth the trip to see Hobbiton.

It looks like there are at least 3 buses a day that run from Wellington to Rotorua.
It’s a 7.5 hour bus trip, so it’s a long way to go if you are just going for Hobbiton. The tours that go from Rotorua to Hobbiton are 2 hours (or 3 hours if you include lunch). If you are intending to stay a couple of days in Rotorua though it may be more worthwhile. Rotorua is a tourist trap so it’s expensive, but there are a lot of things to do there - from walks in the redwoods to out and out adrenaline junkie activities.

That sounds like a plan, perhaps. Maybe I should spend a few days in Wellington, bus to Rotorua, and fly home from there.

You’ll probably need to fly from Rotorua to Auckland. Most of the international flights tend to go from either Auckland or Christchurch. The Rotorua airport is just a regional one, and the Wellington international airport has runways that are fairly short.

I think the last time you were talking about coming to NZ I offered to show you around Wellington - that offer still stands. Rotorua is probably a bit far afield though :smile:

Sounds great! The flight from Rotorua does layover at Auckland. I have flights tentatively picked out, and as of this moment (subject to change until I actually buy the tickets) I would arrive in Wellington on 4/18. I would leave Rotorua on 4/29, so I could have about five days in Wellington.

Flights booked. I’m gonna travel!


You’ll need to remind me closer to the time so we can arrange to meet :smile:

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Rugby and cricket? Although I don’t know if they’ll be in season while you’re there. (Only being semi-facetious here. The All Blacks start The Rugby Championship in a couple weeks and the BLACKCAPS will have finished their summer season before you get there. But it would probably be something different for you.)

Got a stop-over in Oz?

Just a 2 hour layover in Sydney. Not enough time to leave the airport.

Nope, 2 hours is not long enough to do anything at all.

At least you won’t be changing from International to Domestic. That stunt takes up to 2 hours, going through customs & immigration and another security check, with a bus ride from one terminal to the other.

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