How to do 72 hours in Wellington, New Zealand

Want to get the best out of your trip? We have you covered.

New Zealand is the perfect place for a quick holiday, just 2000km from Australia's eastern coastline. And while our sister country is known for its extraordinary landscapes and stunning views, its capital city of Wellington in the north island is known for its culture. 

So whether you've got a layover or you've planned a long weekend trip, Tourism New Zealand know how to do it right. 

Here's the perfect way to spend 72 hours in Wellington:


QT Wellington

Looking for a deluxe stay? This one's for you. Once owned by art collector and entrepreneur Chris Parkin, the QT Wellington Hotel (formerly Museum Art Hotel) features on Yahoo’s list of the 'Best Hotels in the World with Magnificent Artwork'. Located across the road from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the waterfront walkways, the hotel is scattered with original artworks from local and international artists.

Short breaks

Park Hotel Lambton Quay

The Park Hotel Lambton Quay is situated in the heart of Wellington city so easy exploring is all within walking distance. A 200 metre meander will take you to the cable car, and make sure to keep an eye out for politicians heading to the Beehive in the morning. You might just spot the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern on her way to work!



Just a few kilometres from the heart of Wellington, Zealandia describes itself as “the world’s first fully fenced urban ecosanctuary”. Zealandia is a community project on a large scale, a 500-year vision to restore the valley’s forest and freshwater ecosystems as closely as possible to their pre-human state. Join volunteers and wander the bush spotting native birds and the prehistoric tuatara. 

Wellington Movie Tours

As the film capital of New Zealand, it would be remiss to miss out on an opportunity to get behind the scenes and see where the magic was made. Visit the famous Weta Workshop, or head out of the city to the sites of Helms Deep, Minas Tirith and Rivendell to name a few. Passionate guides will bring the Lord of the Rings Trilogy movies to life.

Te Papa o Tongarewa 

Te Taiao Nature, Te Papa’s NZ$12 million nature zone, is described as “a bold and immersive journey through the natural world of Aotearoa New Zealand, combining cutting-edge science with matauranga Maori (knowledge and understanding of the universe)”. Look, hear, touch and even smell your way through the exhibition. Perfumer Francesco Van Eerd recreated some of the scents from some of New Zealand's native birds including the Kiwi, kakapo and petrel. 


Hannah’s Laneway

Wellington is known for its hidden laneways and Hannah’s in a local favourite. Visit Roman and Andrea at Fix and Fogg, helmed by two ex-lawyers who left the court room to make some of the best peanut butters around. Grab a beer at Goldings Free Dive, one of the coolest craft beer spots around and don’t forget to grab some sweet stuff from Wellington Chocolate Factory and Leeds St Bakery. 


Monique Fiso flipped indigenous cuisine on its head when she opened her Wellington restaurant Hiakai. It’s more than just a place to experience indigenous cuisine in a fine dining setting. Her demand for traditional ingredients that weren’t readily available has inspired new supply chains and a new appreciation of Maori and Pacific food. It is no accident that Hiakai was listed on TIME Magazine’s second annual World’s Greatest Places list. Make sure you book well in advance because this place is in hot demand!


Wellington has some fantastic weekend markets, a great place to get amongst the friendly locals and sample some of the great food the city is known for.

The Harbourside Market pops up each Sunday between Te Papa and Chaffers Marina. It's the place to go for beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables, locally-made condiments and other foodie products.

The Wellington Underground Market is open every Saturday and is a vibrant market showcasing emerging designers, makers, bakers and crafters.

Join the buzzing atmosphere of Wellington Night Market, held in Left Bank (off Cuba Street) on Friday nights and on lower Cuba Street (beside the Manners Street intersection) on Saturday nights. 

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