Wellington Travel Guide

Flights, Train & Cruise

By plane

Wellington International Airport is in Rongotai, about 5 km (3 mi) from the central city. It sits on an isthmus between the Miramar peninsula and Mount Victoria. The southerly approach is over Cook Strait, while the northerly approach is over the harbour.

Wellington airport is a major transit point for domestic travellers. There are frequent flights to Auckland, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Rotorua, Hamilton, Nelson, Blenheim and many other destinations. International flights from Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane) arrive about twice daily: the evening flights arrive after midnight when most facilities are closed. There are also seasonal flights between Wellington and Fiji.

Landing at Wellington Airport in a strong wind can be an adventure, and most pilots adopt a powered approach for approach, followed by a full reverse thrust and hard braked landing due to the shortness of the runway (a fraction under 2,000 metres long). This tends to create a roller-coaster ride, so make sure your seatbelt is securely fastened and your seat pocket has plenty of airsickness bags.

There is a regular airport bus known as the Flyer that departs from the south end of the domestic terminal until 21:00. Shuttle van services, taxis and covered car parking are directly outside the terminal.

When you get to the airport, call the Metlink hotline at 0800 801700. They answer very quickly and a friendly person will tell you what bus to take and even what special pass to buy (for example, if after the "Flyer" you are taking a train) if you say where you are going.

By boat

There are regular ferries between Wellington and Picton operated by Interislander and Bluebridge, connecting with buses and the train to Christchurch. Cruise ships from overseas often stop in Wellington. The Interislander ferry terminal is located about 2 km (1 mi) northeast of the railway station, and a $2 shuttle bus runs between it and the railway station (bus terminal next to Platform 9). The Bluebridge ferry terminal, meanwhile, is located next to the railway station.

By road

There are only two major roads into Wellington: State Highways 1 & 2. State Highway One follows the western coast to the north, and State Highway two heads north-east through the Hutt Valley, over the Rimutaka Ranges to the Wairarapa. Both roads are initially a motorway, but after approx 20 km (12 mi) turn into single lane highway as they negotiate difficult terrain. While local authorities are working on improvements, serious and fatal crashes are common on these roads: remember to keep left, maintain a reasonable speed, and use the passing bays to overtake slower traffic.

Drivers using the Rimutaka Hill road must be alert to extreme wind and weather, especially in winter. The road can close several times a year due to snowfall near the summit. Also drive carefully when descending as crashes have occurred where vehicles brakes have overheated and drivers have been unable to slow for sharp corners.

Hitchhiking from central Wellington is difficult as most traffic stays within the metropolitan area, and it is illegal to hitchhike on the motorway until the Hutt Valley (about 15 km or 9 mi northeast of Wellington) or Paremata (about 20 km or 12 mi north). If intending to hitchhike, you are best to catch a train to Waikanae or Upper Hutt and walk to the main highways to catch a lift from there (The best spot for Upper Hutt hitchikers is at the Caltex petrol station about a 3 km walk north from the railway station along Fergusson Drive). Using a sign will help in finding a willing driver going your way.

Be aware that a few hitchhikers, including tourists, have been attacked or murdered in New Zealand. While usually no problems occur, always be aware, and try to travel in pairs to reduce your risk.

By train

There is a train service between Wellington and Auckland. There are daily commuter services from Palmerston North and Masterton and a generally half-hourly suburban commuter service to Johnsonville, the Hutt Valley, Porirua, and Waikanae on the Kapiti Coast.

By bus

National bus carrier InterCity Coachlines operates bus services to Wellington from across the North Island. Daily services operate between Auckland, New Plymouth, Napier, Hastings and Palmerston North. All InterCity Wellington services depart and arrive at Platform 9 at the Wellington Railway Station.

Nakedbus offers a more limited national network and offers daily (and some overnight) services to most major destinations on the North Island. These depart from a bus stop opposite the Amora Hotel on Wakefield Street or outside the McDonalds on Bunny Street, right opposite the Railway Station.

source: Wikivoyage

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