Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand is also known as the culinary capital. Famed for its award winning restaurants, quirky cafes, secret bars and outstanding coffee, Wellington is the place to be if you want a true culinary adventure.
Like most of New Zealand, you are never too far from the beach in Wellington. We suggest exploring all of what Wellington has to offer with a fun filled day trips in your campervan.
Cape Palliser is a 2 hour 20-minute drive from the centre and is the southernmost tip of New Zealand’s North Island. Here you will find lots of wildlife, breathtaking views, beautiful walks and a lighthouse ready and waiting to be explored. There are 253 steps to climb if you want to get to the Cape Palliser lighthouse, which has been there since 1897.
Paekakariki Escarpment Track is only a 35-minute drive from the centre of Wellington and is the perfect destination for all hike lovers. The 10km track runs along the west coast from Beach Road, to Paekakariki and down to Pukerua Bay shops in the south. Be aware, it’s not a loop track so make sure you’ve worked out how to get back to your campervan via the train once you’ve finished the walk.
If you’re more into liquid activities, then we suggest checking out the Martinborough wine region, only a quick 1-hour drive from the centre. Yes, it might be New Zealand’s smallest wine region but what it lacks in size it makes up for in character, charm and great tasting wine. With around 20 local vineyards and some locally sourced cafes and restaurants along the main street, make sure you head to Martinborough both thirsty and hungry. It’s possible to walk or cycle between 20 odd wineries and you won’t be disappointed with the views en route. The trip to the Martinborough wine region is almost as stunning as the views once you’re there, with winding mountainous settings and rich, natural landscapes. Please always drink responsibly.
If you want to hang out in the city for the day, then we suggest heading to the ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary, world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary. Nestled in 225 hectares, you will find over 20 species of rare and native wildlife. This amazing conservation project is working hard to restore the native wildlife to New Zealand, some of which were previously absent from the mainland for over 100 years. You can visit on your own for around $20, take a day tour for $55 or head into the darkness on a night tour for $85. Tickets are available to buy online on the ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary website.
Important to any city day trip is a good coffee supply, especially when you’re in the coffee capital of New Zealand. Some excellent spots to check out are Caffe L’affare, Fidel’s Cafe and Red Rabbit Coffee Co. where you will be sure to get a satisfying caffeine fix.
The cable car is a fun way to see the city and by hopping on this one way, functional railway you will get to enjoy views overlooking the central city, rising 120 m over a length of 612 m.
Road Trips Near Wellington
When you’ve had enough of checking out the city and want to hit the road again, we recommend taking a trip to Kapiti Island. A stunning, predator-free island just a 20-minute ferry ride from Paraparaumu Beach. It takes around 50 minutes to get to Paraparaumu Beach and from here you can take the ferry over to Kapiti Island. You can only access the island by a certified and licensed tour operator, of which you can find a list online. You can stay at Kapiti Island overnight or just head there for a day trip if you’d prefer.
Wairarapa Moana Wetlands is only 1 hour 10 minutes along State Highway 2 and is home to the largest wetland in the southern North Island. Wairarapa Moana Wetlands is vital in supporting the growth and life of native plants and wildlife. Lake Wairarapa and Lake Onoke join forces here and stretch all the way down to Onoke Spit at Palliser Bay in the south. We suggest taking a trip to the lookout and along the walking tracks available to get a real sense of the stunning wildlife and nature here. The neighbouring town of Featherston is only a 20-minute drive and a great spot for some lunch. If you are looking for other road trips to or from Wellington, then check out our blog.
February is the hottest month in Wellington with an average temperature of 19°C with the coldest month being July, reaching averages of only 10°C. The wettest month is May with an average of 50mm of rain each year.
Considering a road trip around NZ? Get in touch with our friendly Campervan rentals team today to discuss your New Zealand campervan hire.
- Ortega Fish Shack – cosy fine dining experience with eclectic decor and excellent service
- Boulcott Street Bistro – iconic Wellington restaurant open since 1991
- Little Penang – Malaysian cuisine, with budget prices.
- Aunty Mena’s Vegetarian Cafe – excellent, inexpensive vegan and vegetarian food
- Satay Malaysia – great sized portions and excellent customer service
- Kapiti Holiday resort – Large family-orientated caravan and camping ground situated in popular Paraparaumu Beach on the Kapiti Coast
- Wellington’s Kiwi Holiday Park – set in four and a half acres of native bush at the mouth of the scenic Akatarawa Valley
- Wellington Top 10 Holiday Park – located 15km from the centre of Wellington and 11km from the Interislander ferry terminal