The Ultimate Weekend in Wellington Itinerary

Spending a weekend in Wellington is a great opportunity to see the best of what the city has to offer while leaving you wanting more.

We’re big fans of a weekend trip and if you’re based anywhere within a direct flight (looking at you Sydneysiders and Melburnians) or a few hours’ drive of Wellington, a weekend getaway in New Zealand‘s capital city should absolutely be on your list.

If even two nights is a squeeze, we’ve pulled together a ‘Wellington in a Day’ highlights itinerary you can check out. But if you have a bit more time, think about staying the week and seeing the incredible Wellington Region outside the main city.

What to do in Wellington in a Weekend Itinerary

Friday Night

Arriving on Friday night, set the tone for your Wellington weekend with dinner and drinks on iconic Cuba Street.

Treat yourself to the chef’s menu ($85pp) at Highwater Eatery before wandering up the road, dodging the infamous Bucket Fountain, to Night flower where the bartenders can devise cocktails to match your mood.

Read more: Wellington’s Top Cocktail Bars

For a more cheap and cheerful option, try pizzas or burgers at Wellington institution Fidel’s then head on up to Blackdog Brewery for craft beers and bar games.


Kick off your weekend in Wellington style with a lazy brunch in the city. There are tons of options but some of our favourites in the CBD are Pickle & Pie (their courtyard area is good for a sunny day) and Cafe Neo (best pancakes).

If bottomless brunch is more your style, then head down to Garden Hotel on Courtenay Place, just make sure to book ahead. 

If you’re feeling stuffed after brunch, no worries, you can put your feet up in the iconic red Wellington Cable Car as you’re carried up the hill to the Botanic Gardens.

The ride is fairly short but there are light displays in the tunnel to keep things interesting plus it gets you out of the uphill trek that’s the alternative option. You can catch the cable car from Lambton Quay.

wellington cable car

From the top of the Cable Car, you’re perfectly placed to explore historic Kelburn (maybe a midday drink at the Kelburn Village Pub or a pastry from Brezelmania?) and the Botanic Gardens.

The Botanic Gardens cover the height of the hill from Kelburn down to Thorndon. As you wander downhill you’ll find sections of dense native bush playgrounds, rose gardens and a sculpture trail. It’s almost impossible not to get lost so just go with it, so long as you keep going downhill you’ll eventually pop out in Thorndon. 

Once in Thorndon, make your way down Bowen Street to the Beehive, the local name for New Zealand’s Parliament building, and jump on one of the guided tours departing hourly (between 10am and 4pm).

The tours are free and will show you around New Zealand’s Parliament buildings from the grand and historic to the quirky 1970s architecture.

beehive parliament building wellington

For a real VIP experience, you can book into the Parliament restaurant, Bellamy’s, for dinner. Otherwise, head to the waterfront where you have plenty of bars and dining options ranging from the fancy (Shed 5) to the classic Pub (Macs BrewBar).


Weekend rituals in Wellington involve a trip to the markets. While there are a couple held in the city each weekend, our pick of the best is the Harbourside Markets held in the carpark behind Te Papa every Sunday morning.

You can grab breakfast/brunch from the food trucks and eat it in Waitangi Park or on a bench by the water. Some of our favourites are The Oatery (gourmet porridge) and Montefoort (dutch pancakes and donuts). There is also a whole range of fruit, veg and artisanal food producers at the market if you need more food supplies.

Once you’ve fuelled up at the markets, it’s time to tackle the walk up Mount Victoria. Mount Vic summit is one of the most popular walks in Wellington and the steep climb is rewarded with views across the harbour and over the city.

mount victoria summit view wellington

The walk isn’t all that long, if you’re fit you can get to the top in 30 minutes, and if you aren’t keen on that, there’s a bus that stops within 100m of the summit.

After the hike, head indoors, and just around the waterfront to Te Papa, the national museum and an absolute must-do in Wellington. The museum’s many exhibits cover everything from geology to Maori history and New Zealand in World War I. We got a lot out of the Gallipoli exhibit which is on from now until 2025.

You can either spend a few hours browsing on your own or sign up for one of the guided tours that run several times daily.

Whatever time you have left in Wellington before heading off, we suggest spending it relaxing in Oriental Bay. This city beach is a favourite of Wellingtonians on a nice day and if the weather isn’t in your favour, you can hide out at one of the beachside cafes like Coene’s or Beach Babylon.

There are lots of walks and trails around that area or you can hire a CrocBike that fits up to 5-6 people.

Frequently asked questions about visiting Wellington

Do you need a car when visiting Wellington?

No, Wellington is a super walkable city. You can easily get around the city without a car, especially if you are focusing on the popular waterfront area. If you’re keen to explore outside the city however a car can be helpful as public transport is pretty average in the Greater Wellington Region.

When is the best time to visit Wellington?

Wellington has a relatively mild climate, no snow and no scorching heat, so you can visit year-round. That said, early or late summer (November or February-March) is the best time to enjoy the city without too many crowds.

Where to stay for a weekend trip to Wellington

Wellington has a ton of accommodation to suit all price points but the following are some of the main ones I’d recommend to visiting friends or family:

  • Luxury: The Sofitel or QT Hotel
  • Mid-range: Quest Hotel and Apartments on The Terrace
  • Budget: Trek Global Backpackers

These are all in the central city within a few blocks of the waterfront which is where you want to be to make the most of your 2 days in Wellington.

In Short: 2 Days in Wellington

While 2 days might be enough to get a taste of the highlights of Wellington, there is so much more to see and do (and eat) here. Plus, there’s a whole Wellington Region to explore!

For more Wellington travel guides check out:

Happy travelling!

New Zealand Travel Resources

  • Find the best prices on hotels with flexible cancellation at
  • Pre-book your tickets to attractions on Klook
  • Find awesome day tours on Viator
  • Compare prices on cars and campervans for your NZ road trip at
  • Sort your New Zealand dollars with a Wise currency card

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