WellingtonSee & Do
Two bicyclists ride together in front of the colourful boat sheds located in Oriental Bay in Wellington.

Switched on Bikes

Wellington’s central city is compact walkable and easily explored on foot. If you want to venture further out to see the many picturesque bays and hills, you’ll need something else. A bike — either push, electric, or mountain bike — allows you the freedom to climb hills without the hard graft. It’s also easy to stop and drink in the views whenever you want to. Centrally located on Queen’s Wharf, Switched on Bikes hires out a range of bikes to explore the city on two wheels.

Found by Shed One on the waterfront, Switched on Bikes’ HQ is a great starting point. You can choose to head off on your own, take advice on specific routes, or take a guided tour.

The Switched on Bikes staff have inside knowledge and are happy to share it. You can find out about cycle lanes, the safest routes to take, negotiating traffic, and tips on where to go and what to do.

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If you opt for an e-bike, you don’t need to be an experienced rider. It does much of the hard work for you. They allow you to change speed and gears at the touch of a button. These handy additions help you spend less time on the pedals and more time enjoying the view. Of course, you can still choose to pedal if you want to exercise. But when faced with a steep hill, there’s nothing like switching a switch and letting the bike climb for you.

Among the more popular trips is a ride out to Shelly Bay. From Oriental Bay on Wellington’s waterfront, you skirt all the bays around to the eastern suburbs. The 20km journey is entirely flat and takes three to four hours return. An extension of that ride includes the Miramar hills, making it around 30km.

For magnificent views, take a ride up to the Mount Victoria lookout. Rising 196m above sea level, the lookout offers 360-degree views. You can see the South Island and the ferries plying the Cook Strait, north to the Hutt Valley, and east to the Orongorongo Range.

Two electric bikes from Switched On Bikes sitting on the Wellington waterfront, with two people sitting nearby enjoying the view of the city.

Don’t forget to get familiar with the New Zealand rode code and keep left. Wellington streets can have very tight corners and sharp bends.  It’s also useful to keep your finger close to the bell on your handlebar. On the busy parts of the waterfront, cycleways are dual use with pedestrians, so you will have to navigate through lots of people so a friendly ring helps avoid collisions.