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Ways to get on and in the water in Wellington

Nestled beside a pretty special harbour and surrounded by a ruggedly beautiful coastline, you’ll find it’s easy to keep cool in Wellington in summer.

Life's a beach

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You’re never far from a great beach in Wellington. In fact, we’ve got a pretty neat one, just a five minute stroll from the city. Lucky us, eh. Oriental Bay is the perfect spot for picnics, people-watching and post-swim gelatos (try Kaffee Eis). Wellington’s eastern bays also offer sheltered beaches and swimming spots - be sure to visit local faves Scorching Bay and Seatoun. 

If you want to make a day of it and head across the harbour to Days Bay, where you’ll find a safe swimming beach and cute cafes.

Surf's up

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Keen to ride some waves? Head to Lyall Bay by Wellington Airport for some of Wellington’s best surfing, just a few minutes’ drive from the heart of the city. This local surf spot became a favourite of Viggo Mortenson and Billy Boyd during filming of The Lord of the Rings. If you need some gear or lessons, RealSurf Shop will sort you out. Be sure to stop by Maranui Café or Spruce Goose afterwards for a hearty feed. 

Dive in

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Sometimes Wellington’s ridiculously good-looking harbour looks so inviting, you just can’t fight the urge to jump in. In fact, such fun is encouraged courtesy of a waterfront diving board and diving platform on Taranaki Wharf.

If you’re more into the diving of the scuba kind, head to Houghton Bay where you can dive for the F69 shipwreck – an ex-Navy frigate that was sunk to create a diving site and artificial reef. You can hire gear and do dive trips with Dive Wellington

Set sail

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If staying on top of the water floats your boat, we’ve also got options aplenty! Jump on the East by West ferry at Queens Wharf and cruise the harbour to Eastbourne, Petone, Seatoun, or Matiu/Somes Island. Keen to give sailing a go? Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club offers weekend harbour sails - no experience necessary. For a fuller experience, check out Wellington Museum's Ship 'N' Chip tour.

Fancy dining on the water? Grab a bite at Boat Café, a converted tug boat that is permanently docked by Freyberg Beach.

Paddle and pedal

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Go for a peaceful paddle around Wellington’s inner harbour on a kayak or stand up paddle board from Fergs Kayaks, or hire a pedal boat and cruise around Frank Kitts lagoon. For a unique experience, round up a crew and jump on a Waka Tour. You’ll learn traditional techniques and mighty waka calls, while putting your paddling skills to good use.