A Detailed Wellington Airport Guide [from a local]
Whether you’re a frequent visitor or coming to Wellington for the first time, there are a few tricks to getting around Wellington Airport that will make your experience that much easier. We have put this Wellington Airport guide together because we think having some information about what to expect at the airport will make your arrival smoother.
Where in Wellington Guide to using Wellington Airport
Wellington International Airport, code WLG, is located close to the city in the south-eastern Wellington suburb of Rongotai. It is approximately 9km from the centre of the city centre.
It’s the third biggest airport in New Zealand, after Auckland and Christchurch, and a convenient landing point right in the geographic centre of the country.
How many terminals are there at Wellington Airport?
The airport has only one terminal and one building so international and domestic and all airlines are under one roof. This makes it super easy to transfer between flights.
How do you transfer between terminals at Wellington Airport?
We occasionally get questions about transferring terminals but there is no need because it’s all the same building at Wellington Airport. If you are coming from international arrivals just walk upstairs for domestic departures.
What time does Wellington Airport open?
The terminal is open from 3 am – 1:30 am daily.
Can you sleep overnight at Wellington Airport?
Because the airport is closed overnight, everything shuts down, and you cannot sleep there at all.
However, there is a Rydges Hotel right inside the airport so you don’t even have to go outside to find a bed. There are several small motels within 1 km of the terminal too.
How long before my flight do I need to arrive at the airport?
The suggested times are one hour before a domestic flight and two hours before an international flight.
I’ve generally found that 30-45 minutes before departure is fine for domestic flights except when flying to Auckland or Christchurch. If you are going to one of those two destinations, you need 45-60 minutes because these flights have bigger planes and go through the gates that have security, so you need extra time to clear security. There is no security for most regional destinations.
If you are travelling by car or bus, please allow for extended delays during peak hours. The peak traffic times are 6.30-9.30am and 3.30-6.30pm.
Facilities at Wellington Airport
Is there free internet access?
Wellington Airport offers free wifi with ok speeds and connectivity. You do have to do a basic login to access it and I’ve found it can drop out sometimes.
Can you buy a sim card?
You can buy sim cards for your mobile device from Vodafone on the ground floor in the arrivals hall. Their store is open until 8 pm. However, we would note that Vodafone is often not the cheapest option so it may be worth holding off buying a SIM until you get into the city.
You can go to the Countdown on Lambton Quay or the New World in the train station which have bigger ranges of prepaid SIMs. The main networks in NZ are Spark, Skinny, 2 Degrees and Vodafone. All have pretty similar coverage around the country but Skinny and 2 degrees tend to be the cheapest.
Can you charge your devices?
There are limited numbers of power points available in the airport. There are a couple of banks around the food court area but they’re often busy, so you’ll need to stalk out a spot for a while. Otherwise, you may end up sitting on the floor wherever you see a spare outlet. We’ve done that a lot!
Is baggage/luggage storage available at Wellington Airport?
Baggage lockers are available on Level 1 of the carpark. They’re self-service so you can access them anytime.
The lockers are only really intended for short-term storage as the costs can add up. It’s $5 for a half day or $10 for a full day for carry-on size and double that for checked-in size bags. The airport staff can store oversize baggage for double that cost again but only within opening hours.
Are there showers at Wellington Airport?
There are no general access showers at Wellington Airport but most of the lounges do have a shower (with towels and toiletries provided).
The only exception is the Air New Zealand Regional Lounge (servicing most domestic flights other than Auckland or Christchurch) which has no shower.
What food options are there at Wellington Airport?
Wellington has some really awesome food options for an airport, probably some of the best we’ve seen around the world, especially when it comes to reflecting the local food and drink offerings.
We like Three Quarter Society and Mojo for coffee, Best Ugly Bagels for breakfast or lunch and Fortune Favours for a beverage.
Two things to note though:
Even though the airport opens at 3 am, the first café doesn’t open il 5:30 am so if you have an early flight (like the 6 am international departures) you’ll need to BYO food.
The food options on the air side, after security, are pretty average. There’s a second Mojo after security for international which is decent but there’s nothing much for domestic (there is a kiosk but we’ve hardly ever seen it open).
What else can you do while you are waiting for your flight?
Wellington Airport doesn’t have anything all that exciting to make you want to hang out here much longer than you need to. There are a few shops in the terminal building and several restaurants, but no fun diversions like you find in Singapore Changi!
If you have a long layover and no lounge access with your ticket, you have a few options:
- Book a room at the Rydges Hotel
- Spend some time exploring the city using our One Day in Wellington Guide
- Head to the beach at Lyall Bay (you’ll want to store your bags first)
What lounges are available at Wellington Airport?
There are two lounges on the domestic side, and both are Air New Zealand, access is dependent on which gate you’re flying out of.
On the international side there are three lounges, Air New Zealand, Qantas and Virgin. The Virgin lounge remains closed since COVID as its unclear whether Virgin will resume flights to Wellington.
Transport from Wellington Airport to the city (CBD)
Buses, shuttles, rideshare and taxis operate from Wellington Airport. Our guide to the cheapest way to get from the airport to the city can help you choose the best transport option.