How to See Wellington in 5 Hours or Less

Recently I travelled to Wellington and Auckand in New Zealand for a work trip. It was my first time in New Zealand despite having lived in Australia for most of my life! It’s not that I don’t want to go; it’s just further down on my travel bucket list as a place to visit when I’m older and can’t travel far on a plane… But I have to say, after my brief visit, I am keen to see more of this beautiful country.

My first stop was Wellington, which, in my opinion, was far more beautiful than Auckland and reminded me of Canberra (my hometown). The roads were wide with little traffic and the landscape was stunning with a deep blue sea and dark green mountains dotted with white houses. The city itself had a calm vibe with low rise buildings and a smaller population of people on the streets.

The weather was cool and a little windy at around 15 degrees in the second week of December. Even though I get cold very easily, I wasn’t the only person walking around in jeans, a sweater, jacket and scarf!

I arrived at my hotel at 4pm and realised  that I only had about 5 hours to see the city before going to bed at a decent time. The next day was going to be hectic with early morning meetings and an afternoon flight to Auckland.

So I freshened up and raced downstairs to ask the Concierge what to see, taste and do in Wellington New Zealand – in 5 short hours! Here’s how to do it: 

  • Stroll along the city streets toward Lambton Quay and observe the people, shops, cafes and bars.  In my opinion, Wellington was very similar to an Australia city with similar shops, restaurants and people (although they were dressed for autumn in the beginning of December!)


  • At Lambton Quay, catch the Cable Car (which actually reminded me of the Hong Kong Victoria Peak Tram) to the Wellington Botanic Gardens.  At the Gardens I got lost (because it’s so large!), wandered around quiet forest areas, looked at interesting sculptures and read my book for a while in the beautiful rose garden. The mountains and sea surrounding the Botanic Gardens were just as beautiful as the Gardens themselves.  I felt relaxed and calm from the surroundings and the fresh, crisp Wellington air.


  • Catch the tram back to the city and stroll along Queens Wharf. 



  • Stop for a drink at one of the many waterfront bars along the wharf.
  • Enjoy dinner with a  water view at one of the many restaurants along the wharf. I sipped on a juice packed with veggies and fruits, nibbled on salty endamame and devoured a whole bowl of spicy Wagyu beef ramen from Wagamama, one of my favourite Japanese-inspired restaurants that’s no longer in Sydney.

what to do in Wellington

what to do in Wellington

Instead of going to the Botanic Gardens (which I chose because I wanted some fresh air and sunshine after the flight), you could:

  • Take in the 360 degree views from Mt Victoria Lookout.  Either walk (around 1 hour from the city) or catch cab there.
  • Learn about NZ’s history at the Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa located on Queens Wharf).
  • Stroll through the eclectic boutiques and try (apparently) delicious coffee on Cuba Street.

Have you been to Wellington? What would you recommend?

Maadz xox

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