Should I spend 1, 2, or 3 days in Wellington?

Should you spend 1, 2, or 3 days in Wellington?

Most people spend two to three days in Wellington during their visit. The funky city offers amazing highlights such as the beaches, the cuisine, the nightlife scene, and the many shops.

Wellington is the small and vibrant capital city of New Zealand. It's located on the southern end of the North Island, and many visitors pass through it on their way from one island to the other. The city is surrounded by rolling hills and there are many beaches in the area.

Do you have one or two days to visit Wellington? Here's our comprehensive breakdown of how much time you might need for your trip along with some suggestions for things to do.

Is one day enough time in Wellington?

With its wealth of sights and attractions, Wellington is a top choice for tourists. Given only one day, you will likely find yourself hurrying to experience the key highlights such as the beaches, the cuisine, and the nightlife scene. To truly savor all that the city boasts, a more generous amount of time is probably needed even though it's not a huge city. Many travelers opt for two to three days to thoroughly relish the wonders of the city. However, if your schedule is tight, we have a handful of recommendations for making the most of your visit.

How to spend a day in Wellington

The beautiful beaches await you in Wellington, so spend the day (or several, if you can) relaxing on the sand or swimming in the water. There are nice beaches within walking distance of the city center. There are also beaches that are well worth the drive if you're looking to get a bit out of town. In the summer months, there are swimming beaches, and year around they have nice views and a good atmosphere.

A few tour suggestions include:

  • Private Transfer from Wellington Cruise Port to Wellington Hotels ($26)
  • Private Transfer from Wellington hotels to Wellington Cruise Port ($26)

The restaurant and food scene here is top notch, so make sure you spend time at one of the local restaurants where you can taste the delicious cuisine. There are waterfront restaurants and a vibrant cafe scene around town. You'll also find local markets and many diverse eateries that you can explore.

A few tour suggestions include:

  • Martinborough Full Day Wine Tour ($175)
  • 1/2 day Martinborough Chefs Wine Tour with lunch from Wellington ($156)
  • Walking Food Tour Of Wellington ($156)

Wellington is a walkable city and easy to explore on foot. With only a day in the city, you'll have no trouble seeing the local sights. This is one of New Zealand's most walkable cities and it has a compact city center.

Is a weekend (two to three days) enough time in Wellington?

A weekend trip is usually not enough time to experience the funky city of Wellington, so you may find yourself somewhat rushed. Or, perhaps you'll want to return another time experience everything that this medium sized city has to offer. You don't want to miss the main attractions such as the beaches, the cuisine, the nightlife scene, and the many shops. Many tourists set aside two to three days for their visit. However, if your schedule only gives you a couple of days, we have a handful of recommendations to make the most of your weekend adventure in Wellington below.

Wellington, New Zealand Wellington, New Zealand

How to spend 2 days in Wellington

Having a weekend (two to three days) in Wellington will provide you with more time to take in the best activities in the city.

Shopping in Wellington is very popular, and it's easy to see why. Spend time exploring the many shops and boutiques to find the perfect gift, souvenir, or outfit. For the city's best shopping, head to the "Golden Mile". This is the area defined by Lambton Quay, Willis Street, Manners Street and Courtenay Place. There are boutique designers and high end fashion outlets throughout the area. The city also has many great markets and local shopping areas.

A few tour suggestions include:

  • Ladies Wellington to Greytown Gin Shopping & Lunch Expedition ($250)

The nightlife scene is very popular here. After dark, head out to one of the many venues around town. The best nightlife scene is found along Courtenay Place. There you'll find nightclubs, pubs, and cocktail bars. Cuba Street is another fun area with a bit more of a local vibe, and the waterfront is another great nightlife district in the city.

The public transit in Wellington is fast and efficient. Over the course of a few days, you should be able to explore the city quite easily and affordably. There are city buses, trains, and ferries that are popular with tourists and locals alike.

More Info

If you're looking for more information about Wellington, we have even more advice to help you plan your journey.

Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.

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