Transport in Wellington
Located in the middle of New Zealand, getting to Wellington is easy. With a compact city centre and accessible transport options, navigating the capital is a breeze
The international airport has direct connectivity to the rest of New Zealand, Australia, and Fiji, across various airlines. Domestic air services are regular and fast. Flights leave for Auckland and Christchurch international airports hourly, and travel time is usually an hour. Queenstown is an hour and a half away, with multiple flights daily. Flights to Rotorua take just over an hour.
Ferry & Cruise
The capital is a coastal gateway between the North and South Islands. There are regular ferry services across the Cook Strait to and from Picton. The three-and-a-half-hour journey takes you through the picturesque Marlborough Sounds. You can sail with either Interislander or Bluebridge. Taking a vehicle is easy, just drive on and off.
Cruise ships often stop in the city. The port hosts over 120 ships every year and is a ten-minute drive from the central city.
If you are driving, Wellington is connected to two of the country's major state highways, SH1 and SH2. The drive time from Auckland is approximately nine and a half hours, and Rotorua is five and a half hours. Wellington is also part of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail. Keep an eye out for the brown road signs displaying grapes as you travel along the scenic driving route.
The train station is in the centre of the city. Great Journeys of New Zealand have a regular Northern Explorer train service, which connects Auckland and Wellington. The scenic 648km journey takes one day and includes multiple stops along the way. If you're heading to the South Island via ferry, jump on a Coastal Pacific train from Picton to Christchurch.
Once you're here
You've arrived! Here's how you can get around once you're in the capital.
Wellington has an extensive public transport system that is well-used by locals. If you've arrived by plane, one of the easiest ways to access the city is via the airport bus. The Airport Express (AX) runs every 10-20 minutes, seven days a week. The trip takes approximately 30 minutes, and airport buses have Wi-Fi, USB charging, and luggage racks.
Buses and trains can get you around the city, suburbs, and wider region. There is also a ferry that takes you across Wellington Harbour, from the city's Queen's Wharf across to Lower Hutt's Eastbourne. Metlink has an easy-to-use journey planner, getting you from A to B using all of the city's transport options.
Paying for your journey is easier and more convenient with a Snapper card. They can be purchased from the Wellington iSite Visitor Information Centre or various convenience stores. Top up and tap your card on and off each mode of transport.
As well as being a tourist attraction, the Cable Car is predominately a mode of transport. The red cars take passengers from the hills of leafy Kelburn to the heart of bustling Lambton Quay. A number of attractions are located at or near the top of the Cable Car (including the Wellington Botanic Garden, Space Place, Zealandia, and Cable Car Museum). It's a great way to bundle a number of activities together.
One of the best ways to explore Wellington is by foot. The central city is only two kilometres across, meaning you can walk from one side to the other in around 30 minutes (not accounting for any coffee stops along the way). Grab a downtown map from the Wellington isite, and get to know the capital on your own two feet.
Wellington has an abundance of cycle lanes, so pedalling around the city is another great transport option. There are many bike hire businesses. Switched On Bikes operates from Queens Wharf and has both regular and e-bikes for hire. Fergs Kayaks also offers bikes on the waterfront. For an on-the-go option, Beam and Flamingo have electric bike and scooter share services. These are easily hired via mobile apps.
Taxis and rideshare
Taxis are plentiful in the city, with multiple companies operating. They can be booked in advance or found in taxi ranks. Ride-share services like Uber also operate around Wellington and have a designated area at the airport.
If you have a private or hire vehicle, parking is available around the city. Alongside private parking buildings, on-street parking is available and is metred with time limits.
Car shares are available on demand for daily or hourly hire. Mevo and Cityhop have designated parking spaces and easy-to-use apps for hiring vehicles.