It takes around three hours to cross the Cook Strait from Picton in the South Island to Wellington in North Island of New Zealand. The Interislander ferry sails daily between Picton, South Island and Wellington (Aotea Quay) in North Island. Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferry is another company that connects the north and the south islands of New Zealand.
After two weeks of traveling around South Island, we made it to Picton and decided to spend a few hours in Wellington before returning to Auckland.
Wellington is located at the bottom of the North Island, the political and performing arts center, economic hub, and in recent years the coffee capital of New Zealand. It has one of the world's most picturesque harbors and colorful harbor-front suburbs that can be viewed from the historic cable car and the Kelburn Lookout.
Wellington Cable Car
For 5 hours in Wellington on a Sunday afternoon, we took the cable car at Lambton Quay to Kelburn Lookout. Downtown Wellington was a little quiet without the usual office crowd.
The Wellington Cable Car is New Zealand's only historic funicular railway. From the lookout point we got the views of the city and the harbor. The cable car departs every 10 minutes from Lambton Quay and Kelburn Lookout.
Find out more about the Wellington Cable Car times and fares.
Wellington Botanic Garden
The Botanic Garden is located near Kelburn Lookout. The Botanic Garden has plenty of native New Zealand ferns, native trees and lovely gardens landscaped with colorful flowers and indigenous plants. There are several walking trails at the Botanic Garden that we didn't have the time to explore all of them. The downhill walk on pedestrian-friendly paths through the Botanic Garden required little effort.
Every summer, the Botanic Garden hosts summer concerts at the ASB Magic Gardens. We were there just in time to watch the locals with blankets and picnic baskets getting ready to enjoy the free concert. Thomas Oliver, and internationally known performer and the soulful Louis Baker were performing live at the Gardens, a treat we had to pass because of our short visit in Wellington.
A slow walk downhill took us through historic homes, shops and cafes.
No cars Required
Wellington has many walking tracks and trails in the city and beyond. Some of the popular city walking tracks are: Mount Victoria Loop, City to Sea Walkway, Southern walkway, Art Deco Heritage trail, Heritage trails, Great Harbour Way, Polhill Reserve loop and Te Ahumairangi Hill loop. The Welly Walk app will take you to nine walks in the city.
Our walk downhill brought us to the Beehive. The Beehive is the Parliament House. Free one-hour guided tours are available daily from 9 am to 5 pm from Monday to Friday, and from 9:30 am to 5 pm on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. Tours are not available on a few public holidays. Find out more here.
Wellington Railway Station
We ended our five-hour tour of Wellington at the Wellington Railway Station. The railway station has a full service supermarket. The Railway Metro New World has a coffee shop, fresh produce, cooked food (sushi, sandwiches, deli), baked goods and groceries.
Have you been to Wellington? What's your favorite thing to do while in Wellington? Let us know.