Today we show you our highlights in the region around Wellington
In addition to the city of Wellington itself, this includes the whole area in the south of the North Island. Since we are not big city dwellers ourselves, we only spent a few days in Wellington and then explored the surroundings. Have fun reading our personal highlights in and around Wellington.
Evans Bay Marina Freedom Camping
In Wellington, Freedom Camping is unfortunately prohibited in the city area for the time being. At the Evans Bay Marina, on the other hand, there are almost 50 pitches for self-contained vans. Unfortunately, everything here is tightly packed, but usually you can find a place quickly.
In Campermate there is even a live display of the remaining pitches.
During our time in Wellington we started a few hikes and activities from there.
The car park is convenient and well suited to the area. If you find it too far to walk to the city, we have used the existing e-scooters from Uber as a cheap option. This way you can drive along the bays to the Te Papa Museum in a relaxed way and it only takes about 15 minutes.
You can also start from there by foot, but then you need rather one to one and a half hours to the city centre. In good weather the path along the bay’s is with nice views, but not recommended in rainy weather.
Mount Victoria Lookout
Mount Victoria offers you a perfect view of Wellington and the airport. Not called Windy Wellington for nothing, you'll quickly feel the wind here. You can easily drive your car or van to Mount Victoria and park just a few metres below the viewpoint. This saves you the strenuous walk (or bike) up the mountain.
The Victoria Tunnel connects the parts of Wellington directly and is one of the more beautiful tunnels in New Zealand. On various occasions the tunnel entrances are also designed according to the prevailing theme. For example, in the course of Star Wars, the tunnel entrances have been changed in the Star Wars look. If something like this takes place while you are in town, you should definitely take a look.
If you are driving through the Victoria Tunnel, make use of the unofficial custom there. Honk the horn once while driving through the tunnel and listen to the echo and the honking of the other vehicles.
You can also walk through the tunnel, for example on the way to Evans Bay Marina.
Te Papa Museum
The Te Papa Museum in Wellington is an absolute must for us. The Te Papa Museum houses various exhibitions on New Zealand, with free admission. Whether about the history and the ugly Gallipoli war, or the nature and nature of New Zealand, here you will find many impressions and can spend a rainy day.
There are also tours in different languages that you can join. These are easy to find and use in the entrance area.
If you have little time in Wellington, then this is the most important activity from our point of view. Parking is available right next door, unfortunately only paid and not very cheap. You can save some money if you use the car park app and register your car using the number plate.
Kaitoke Regional Park and Rivendell
Kaitoke Regional Park was also the location for the Rivendell scenes from The Lord of the Rings. This was the only reason we visited the park.
Besides beautiful nature and some short and longer walks, there is also an impressive walk in which signs show the original camera angles and perspectives from the Lord of the Rings film sequences.
So, we spontaneously spent much more time there than we thought. The Kaitoke Regional Park also offers various paid accommodation options if you want to stay in the countryside and outside Wellington.
For us a “must see”, especially for the Lord of the Rings fans.
Lake Wairarapa Domain Camping
Lake Wairarapa is situated below Featherston and offers a free camp site suitable for everyone including tents.
Due to the direct location at the lake, it is often windy. But when we were there, we had no reason to complain and had a good stay. In Featherston itself there is also a nice little market on Saturdays which is worth a visit.
On the way to or from Wellington a good place to stay for those who want to save money. Nevertheless, please leave the place at least as clean as you found it. That way everyone will have something to look forward to for a longer time.
The Putangirua Pinnacles are located in the south of the North Island. Among other things, a scene from the Lord of the Rings was shot there.
In addition, you will find unique rock formations in the form of pointed towers. You can go for short and long hikes and stay overnight at the cheap DOC campsite. You will also pass the Putangirua Pinnacles on your way to Cape Palliser.
Don't forget to fill up your tank, because there is no petrol station along the way for longer distances.
Ngawi Camping Area
The easiest place to stay in the surroundings of Cape Palliser is the Ngawi Camping Area. For a small donation (at least 2NZD per person and night) you can get a place to sleep with direct view to the sea. A nice place which is very popular especially in summer. The earlier you come, the easier you can choose your place on the grass. We ourselves have stayed here during a storm and on very windy days we can only recommend it conditionally. On windy days we would rather recommend the DOC campsite at the Putangirua Pinnacles.
Cape Palliser is home to the southernmost lighthouse on the North Island and is also home to a great colony of sea lions. Therefore, a visit here is a good idea. For the lighthouse you have to climb a “few” steps or enjoy the view from below.
The sea lion colony is only a few minutes away. Remember to leave enough space for the animals and not to get between the animals and the sea.
If you have enough time, we recommend a diversion to Cape Palliser, because it is relatively quiet and only few tourists dare to make the diversion there.
Castlepoint and Castle Rock
At Castlepoint there is not only a great lighthouse, no there is also a beautiful beach for summer days.
Castlepoint is very popular with locals and off the beaten tourist track. Directly at the beach you can camp here with your Self-Contained Van for one night. This way you can also witness an unbelievably beautiful starry sky when the sky is cloudless. There is almost no light pollution here.
If you are travelling as a Non-Self Contained, there is also a commercial Camp Ground only 3 minutes from the beach.
In addition to the lighthouse there is also Castle Rock. Even if the Rock does not have a castle, you have a great view over the bay and the surrounding beaches from up there.
Have fun at Castlepoint, no matter if it is a beach day or a short walk to the top of Castle Rock.
Wellington is the city of the creative scene, of filmmakers and cinemas, but also of delicious coffee, various coffee roasting plants and all kinds of other creative people who can live out their creativity here.
If you have time, we strongly recommend a walk through the city centre without a fixed destination. This way you can experience the small alleys, different street art and the pulsating life in the city centre. Wellington itself was one of the New Zealand cities we liked best (although we prefer nature). Wellington is also a good place to go for jobs in New Zealand.
Questions, comments or further tips
Do you have any other tips for the Wellington region? Then we look forward to your comment here under the articles.
More posts to the New Zealand Regions
We have made a map for your easy navigation, with which you can visit the respective contribution to the region directly. Have a look around what we like in the other regions!
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