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Visitors welcome in Wellington

17 Nov 2016

Wellington is largely unaffected by the earthquakes in Kaikoura. The city is safe and we are continuing to welcome visitors to our city.

The city's hotels are fully operational, as are our tourist attractions, and the downtown hospitality sector is ready to host. A very small number of buildings in the CBD have had structural damage, and these are being managed, with minimal impact to normal business and leisure in the city.

The below information is a status report on Wellington's current situation. We will endeavour to keep this page up-to-date as more details come in from the city's businesses: 

Accommodation providers
Cruise season
Transport providers
Wellington iSITE Visitor Centre
Conference and event venues
Frequently asked questions

Accommodation providers

Wellington’s hotels are all open for business, says Steve Martin, the Wellington Hotel Chair for Tourism Industry Aotearoa.

Mr Martin, who is also the General Manager of the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, says the capital’s hotels coped admirably with the earthquakes.

“After some minor disruption it’s now business as usual. The open signs are out and we are welcoming visitors to the region.”

Museum Art Hotel
CQ Hotel
James Cook
Park Hotel
West Plaza
Bay Plaza
Thorndon Hotel By Rydges
Mercure Abel Tasman
Mercure Central City Apartments
Hotel Waterloo
Mercure Abel Tasman

Please note, some hotels may have superficial damage, but all of the above have had structural assessments and have been given the all clear.


Current advice is that Wellington attractions and tour operators are open and running as normal including:

Te Papa
Rover Rings Tours
Wellington Sight-seeing Tours
Zest Food Tours
Space Place 
City Gallery - Cindy Sherman Exhibition opening on Friday
Capital E
Cable Car and Cable Car Museum
Wellington Museum
Seal Coast Safari is making minor track repairs and will be operating as normal 21 November

Closed attractions
The Rimutaka Cycle Trail's riverside section, from Gemstone Drive Reserve to the Te Marua shops, is currently closed.  There is no alternate route and we do not recommend crossing State Highway 2.

Katherine Mansfield House is currently closed due to damage of an external fence  

Cruise season

Wellington will welcome the inaugural visit of the Pacific Aria on Monday 21 November 2016.

CentrePort Chief Executive Derek Nind says the cruise berth has been declared fit for operation. “We’re looking forward to welcoming passengers and crew of the 219-metre long Pacific Aria to our Harbourside Capital."

Read more

Transport providers

The region’s international and domestic airport, roads, infrastructure, trains and buses are all operational.

The Cook Strait ferries, which carry passengers, vehicles and freight from the North Island to the South Island, are also operating, however the timing of some sailings has changed. Please see Cook Strait ferry providers or for up to date information.

State Highway 1 and 2 in and out of Wellington are now open, with most coach services operating as normal. Some roads within the South Island have been impacted. Travellers are advised to check for the latest travel advice or visit the Wellington iSITE Visitor Centre.

Wellington iSITE Visitor Centre

The Wellington iSITE will be open from its new location, the Michael Fowler Centre, from 9am Thursday 17th November. The team are ready to help visitors with booking accommodation and activities while in Wellington along with their onward travel plans. 

Local tour operators will depart as usual from Wakefield Street, just along from the Michael Fowler Centre.

Conference and event venues

David Perks, GM Venues & Projects for WREDA says the city’s portfolio of conference and performance venues have all been inspected and assessed as safe to occupy, minor clean-up and cosmetic repairs undertaken and are once again fully in operation.

We're pleased that patrons and delegates attending events in all our venues are able to do just that. Wellington is open for business events, and we look forward to welcoming delegates from around New Zealand and the world. We have multiday conferences coming in this week at the Michael Fowler Centre, TSB Bank Arena & Shed 6, plus scheduled performance events at St James Theatre and The Opera House.”

See full press release

Westpac Stadium is structurally sound, and needs a couple of weeks to complete minor repairs.

Business Events Wellington contact: Claire Martin, +6421977130
Venues contact: Helen Glengarry, +64212278211

Schools and education institutes

All schools in Wellington are open today.

Most of our tertiary organisations are running their normal classes. There are some temporary closures for our tertiary organisations as engineers check their buildings for safety, which is our standard practice.

Frequently asked questions

I am flying to Wellington tomorrow, should I get on the plane?

Yes. Wellington Airport is open and operational for international and domestic flights. New Zealand remains a safe place to visit.

I am due to travel to NZ this week, should I cancel it now? Should I cancel my booking to NZ this summer?

New Zealand and Wellington remains a safe place to visit. Earthquakes are a part of life here. In most parts of the country, daily life is unaffected.

Will there be another earthquake or more aftershocks?

Further aftershocks are possible. 

Which parts of NZ are impacted by these earthquakes?

To date, it appears the most serious damage is concentrated around rural North Canterbury and the north of the south island.  

Will I still be able to visit the key attractions in Wellington like Te Papa?

Yes, key attractions are open and operating as normal, see above list.

What will I see when I land in Wellington?

A very beautiful city! You are unlikely to notice any damage relating to the earthquake.

I'm booked to travel on a ferry to Picton?  Are they still running?

Yes, for passengers with cars and freight but the timing of some sailings has changed.  Please see Cook Strait ferry providers or for up to date information.

Interislander is also able to take tour coach existing bookings on the Picton to Wellington services.

I want to get from the North to South Island.  How do I do that?

You can take a ferry (boat) via the Cook Straight, or fly from Wellington Airport. Check for roading updates as some roads in the South Island are closed and alternative routes may need to be taken.

Can I still drive to Wellington from Rotorua and Napier?

Yes, roads in the North Island are undamaged from the earthquake. Please check NZTA for additional information.

Are there still places to stay in Wellington? 

Yes, hotels are open and have rooms available. See or the i-SITE (temporarily located at the Michael Fowler Centre ticket office on Wakefield Street) for help with booking accommodation and onward travel.

I’m a travel seller or inbound tour operator.  Who can I talk too?

Our Tourism Trade team is ready to help.  Call Jo Heaton on +64 21 648416 or email if you need detailed information.


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