Top 5 Wellington Day Trips

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Our guide to the best one day trips from Wellington

For those that are visiting the capital City and not intending to tour the country by car or bus, a day tour from Wellington is a handy way to get out of the city and see some of the best nearby attractions

If you want to stick to seeing to a tour of the best attractions in Wellington itself, a good option is to take the ‘Hop On-Hop Off Tour that covers all of the city's main attractions from its stunning viewpoints to coastal scenery and iconic museums. 

However, our following five picks, are all tours that explore beyond the city.

1. Wairarapa Wineries

Wairarapa is famous for its vineyards, and lies at the heart of the New Zealand Classic Wine Trail.  Embark on a guided tour with an experienced local guide to the Martinborough, a small, rural community known for both its extensive network of wineries, and its charming colonial architecture.  Experience Martinborough winemaking with visits to some of the oldest vineyards in the region, before enjoying lunch overlooking the beautiful countryside. 

2. Palliser Bay

Southeast of Wellington, Palliser Bay runs 40 kilometres along the Cook Strait coast from Turakirae Head at the southern end of the Rimutaka Ranges to Cape Palliser, the southernmost point of New Zealand.  Tours will take you to see the largest fur seal colony on the North Island. There is also the opportunity to climb the stairs of the Cape Palliser Lighthouse for some great photos at the top.  Some tours will also include a visit to the wine growing region of Martinborough for a enjoyable wine tasting session.  

3. Kapiti Island

Just across the Rauoterangi Channel is Kapiti Island, a bird sanctuary and wildlife reserve, and a place where you can sometimes spot whales in the sea below.   After a 20 minute boat ride to the Island, you'll have the chance to explore the nature reserve.  The visitor centre provides a brief overview of the ecology, natural history and birds you are likely to see on the island.  It's also a chance to find out about the best walking tracks, how to best spot the birds, and where to swim. 

Trips to the Island include a guide that will be on the island for the day and available to answer any questions and help ensure you have the best day possible.  However, once you are the Island, it's down to you to explore the island before hopping back on the boat and returning to the mainland.

4. Lord of The Rings

Flat Earth Tours offer half and full day guided trips to Lord Of The Rings film locations.  Visit the real-life 'Rivendell', 'Gardens of Isengard' and 'Lothlorien'.  The tour also includes a visit to the world renowned Weta Cave to see interviews with the LOTR cast and crew, along with a tour of the workshop where many mythical monsters were brought to life.  The deluxe option includes a helicopter ride over some awesome LOTR scenery.

5. Wildlife Tour

Seal Coast Safari is a great way to experience Wellington’s rugged coastline and natural beauty.  This tour is all about spotting the local wildlife on a four-wheel drive safari.  The three hour tour takes visitors over quiet private land, beach and rocks to the home of New Zealand’s fur seal colony.

Along the way you’ll see the Brooklyn wind turbine, enjoy stunning views of the Wellington skyline, the Pacific and Tasman Oceans and the distant mountain ranges on the South Island.  On the trip there will also be opportunities to spot goats, red deer and ostriches and occasionally dolphins and Orca whales, but these are by no means guaranteed.

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