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You know a country as amazing as New Zealand is going to have a wicked capital city, and Wellington certainly delivers on that assumption. With an immense amount of culture, an inspiring creative flair, and bunches of awesome cafes, microbreweries, restaurants, and cafes, it’s no wonder that Wellington has been rated one of the most liveable cities in the world.
Wellington has also been called the world’s windiest city. While that might sound a bit off-putting, you’d be crazy to eliminate it from your holiday list because of a few strong gusts. However, something that might also blow you away is the incredible options for quality car hire in Wellington from DriveNow. Our stable of rental cars from top suppliers from around the world makes exploring the North Island a piece of cake, whether you’re motoring around the city of Wellington, the region as a whole, or even further afield in your own campervan.
It doesn’t have the extreme adventure of adrenaline-drenched Queenstown and its bungee jumping and skiing. And it doesn’t have the population of Auckland or the Gothic architecture and European leanings of Christchurch. But what Wellington does have is an amazing vibe all its own, one that you can take full advantage of with your own set of wheels.
Stewart Duff Drive, Rongotai, Wellington 6022
Telephone: +64 4 385 5100
Wellington Airport is about 7.3km southeast of Wellington
No. of Terminals: 1
Timezone: GMT/UTC +12:00
Much like the city itself, Wellington Airport is easy to traverse and won’t require you to spend valuable holiday time on internal buses or trains to get to where you need to be. Even with the large extension of the main terminal, the airport will end up being much easier to move around in compared to some of the other behemoths around the world.
There is only one terminal at Wellington Airport, making your entry into town a comfortable, accessible experience. You’ll arrive on the ground level of the building. International travellers will arrive at the east end of the building, where they’ll find baggage claim. From there, you’ll head to the west side of the building, toward domestic baggage claim, to find hire car desks.
Getting through is a breeze, and car rental from Wellington Airport can take you from the arrivals hall to your accommodation in next to no time. With the help of DriveNow’s convenient, quick comparison system, you can check out amazing offerings from huge brands such as Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Firefly and Thrifty, all with onsite branches and Alamo Enterprise serviced by a quick and regular offsite shuttle bus. That gives you a chance to get the keys to a car well-suited to your holiday aims without having to burn precious preparation time before your departure date.
If you’re headed into Wellington, you’ll be happy to know you won’t have to spend too long in the driver’s seat. The drive only takes about 15 minutes, most of which you’ll spend on State Highway 1. Just a few turns off that will have you into downtown near Lambton Harbour, from which much of the city’s activity radiates.
For over 14 years DriveNow has been helping travellers get the best deal on car hire at Wellington Airport and elsewhere in New Zealand. Our booking service is free. There are no booking or administration fees, no hidden costs and if your travel plans change and you need to cancel there's no cost. Furthermore when making your booking no credit card details are required. This means booking in advance comes with absolutely no risk and plenty to gain with lower advanced booking rental rates.
So why choose DriveNow to book car hire in Wellington?
Thank you for considering DriveNow in your New Zealand travel plans. We hope that you find our services of help when it comes to pricing and booking your car hire for Wellington.
As you would expect from a capital city, there’s plenty of accommodation to go around in Wellington. There’s an abundance of convenient, reasonably priced hotels for those nipping in for a business trip, but equally plenty of options for those looking for something a little bit more special. And with car hire in Wellington from DriveNow, you can stay wherever you’d like and be just a short cruise away from your next activity. If you have some time to kick back and enjoy Wellington, dig a little deeper and explore some of these unique hotels and houses that are as colourful and full of life as the city itself.
You may be confused by the inclusion of a museum in an accommodation list, but the QT Museum Wellington is not your average hotel. Previously known as the Museum Art Hotel, this eclectic cultural hub is literally filled with works of art, collected over many years by former councillor and devoted art collector Chris Parkin. Every inch of the building is extravagant and unusual, from the award-winning restaurant to the emergency bow ties given out to guests! The hotel also has an unusual back story to match its quirky interiors. Back in 1993 it looked like the Museum Art Hotel was set to be demolished, but Parkin famously saved it by uprooting the entire building and setting it on rails to be relocated! Now one of Wellington’s most notable places to stay, it’s the ideal spot for a completely original experience.
If you’re in Wellington to kick back and enjoy life in the slow lane, then the Booklovers B&B could be just for you. In contrast to the many convenient but corporate hotels in the city, this quirky guesthouse in downtown Wellington is completely unique, having changed very little since it was built in 1894. Filled with the china, linen, and hundreds of books of the author/owner Jane Tolerton, there’s plenty to look at and enough reading to keep you occupied for years. After a full cooked breakfast prepared by Jane, you’ll be in an awesome spot to head out and explore the area. The summit of nearby Mount Victoria is accessible via the bush forest path just outside the house, and there is a great variety of interesting bars, cafés, and restaurants just 10 minutes away. For a memorable stay in what is a work of art in itself, make sure to check out this little gem.
Sophisticated and stylish, the trendy Ohtel boutique hotel is a great spot to treat yourself and impress your fellow travellers. The hotel is relatively new on the scene, having opened its doors in 2008, but has certainly made an impression. This is partly down to its distinctive modern architecture standing out on the Wellington seafront, and also due to the impressive reputation it has earned itself. Inside you’ll find 10 rooms of varying sizes, each decked out with mid-century furnishings collected by designer Alan Blundell. The building was also created with the environment and community in mind, with impressive energy-saving features and a mission to use locally sourced products. Ohtel is right at the heart of the action in Wellington, just next to the main entertainment area, and a stone’s throw away from the most popular bars and restaurants in the city.
If walls covered in art or an author cooking you breakfast among her books still isn’t unusual enough for you, the Wellington Container House will surely do the trick. Made of vertically stacked, aluminium insulated shipping containers, this accommodation has gained recognition around the world for its innovative design and outstanding interior. The house sleeps eight people and comes with a range of remarkable features like a Jacuzzi, waterfall, and cinema room. Your Wellington car rental will be put to good use here, as the house is 9km (5 miles) away from the airport and around 5km (3 miles) to the centre of town. The more rural location is perfect for exploring the nearby Tawatawa Reserve, walking tracks, or heading to the beach.
What Wellington might lack in terms of sunshine it certainly makes up for with things to see and do. The capital has developed some fascinating attractions over the last few decades that have well and truly put it on the map. A fabulously kiwi mix of old and new, these highlights of Wellington show off some of the best bits of living in this part of the world.
For a brilliant view of the city and a fun adventure, jump on the famous red cable car. This popular funicular train snakes uphill from the central business district in the city to the main viewpoint and gate to the Botanic Gardens in the Kelburn suburb. The trip only takes five minutes, but that’s plenty of time to snap some great photos and to transport you conveniently next to some of the other most visited tourist attractions in the city.
One of these attractions at the top of the cable car is Zelandia, which you can access via a 20 minute walking track or the free shuttle bus service. Zelandia is a remarkable 225 hectares (556 acres) of urban eco sanctuary, created to conserve and reintroduce some of New Zealand’s lost or dwindling species. The idea behind it was to return the forests and ecosystems of the area to how they were before humans came along, and a huge amount of effort and investment has been put into making this a reality. The area is protected by a strong, high fence to allow safeguarding of the species from humans or other mammals. The plan has worked, as there’s already been a number of species have been successfully reintroduced. You can visit Zelandia for both day and night time tours to learn more about the project and encounter some of the wildlife.
With so much fascinating history and unique character, New Zealand needed somewhere to showcase it all. Te Papa Tongarewa translates to ‘the treasures of this land,’ and that’s exactly what is housed inside the museum. With exhibits and art highlighting native and colonial history from the beginning of time, the museum is a fascinating experience for visitors of all ages. The contents of Te Papa aren’t the only things that draw visitors in their droves, as the innovative and interactive technology used in the exhibits and displays are said to have set the bar for other museums around the world. Te Papa is easily situated on the seafront, meaning you can catch some dazzling harbour views while you browse some exhibits. And to top it off, it’s all completely free!
The famous Lord of The Rings books by J.R.R. Tolkien were set among fearsome mountain peaks, mysterious forests, and wild open plains. When the time came to choose a real-life location to shoot the movies of these books, picking New Zealand was really a no brainer. The films were shot in various parts of the country, showcasing the phenomenal beauty of the landscapes and causing a boom in tourism from all over the world. Fans of the film can now come and learn more about the intricate detail that went into the production and planning, all in the glorious setting of the New Zealand countryside. In Wellington, now known as “New Zealand’s Hollywood,” you can choose to go on a guided tour of some of the different filming locations, or visit the Weta Workshop in Miramar where the thousands of props, costumes, and sets were created.
With all the walking around sightseeing you’re going to do (particularly if you catch Wellington on an especially windy day) you’re going to need some serious sustenance. Luckily, this city has you covered. With more food and drink venues per capita than New York City, you could skip the sightseeing all together and get to work on sampling the goods and be just fine! There is something to suit a huge array of tastes and budgets, with menus inspired by cuisines from all over the globe as well as those showcasing typically Kiwi fare. The number of venues and consequent competition among restauranteurs in Wellington means that the standards never slip, and there is always something new and exciting to try. Let Wellington blow your socks off with some of these top picks.
Cuba Street is known as the happening part of Wellington, often compared to Newtown in Sydney or Fitzroy in Melbourne. It’s in this area that you’ll find some of the most exciting restaurants both old and new, one of which is the award-winning Matterhorn. As the name suggests, it was originally a Swiss café, but has since merged into a high end restaurant serving simple yet immaculate, delicious food. The moody, dark interior and excellent cocktail selection are exceptional ingredients for a special occasion or romantic meal, but it’s equally as appealing for those looking for something casual.
Another highlight of Cuba Street is Logan Brown, situated at the quieter top end of the street. Logan Brown has gained a reputation for interesting, innovative Kiwi cuisine since opening in 1996, setting the bar high for other upmarket restaurants to follow suit. The restaurant is set inside a restored 1920s bank, complete with high ceilings, elaborate embellishments, and attentive service. The chefs serve up a range of contemporary style New Zealand produce, with a focus on game and fish. Specials often include octopus, hare, and swordfish, but the ever changing menu will mean there is bound to be something new to keep you on your toes.
For something a little lighter or to share with a bunch of friends, head to Havana Bar on Wigan Street. Housed inside two colourful, old, wooden cottages, you’ll not find another venue quite like it. The bar serves up tapas and sharing dishes to accompany its extensive drinks list and live music. Havana is a pleasantly original oasis surrounded by modern buildings and a great place to soak up some of Wellington’s colourful character and atmosphere.
Although Wellington’s delicious foodie scene and impressive visitor attractions might tempt you to cancel all your other plans, you don’t come all the way to New Zealand just to stay in the city. If you’ve heard anything about the New Zealand landscape prior to your visit, you’ll probably know that the country boasts some of the most jaw dropping natural scenery in the world. To experience this properly, jump in your Wellington car rental with your best camera and hit the road.
Just 60km north of Wellington is the Kapiti Coast, a picturesque strip of coastline complete with untouched forests, nature reserves, and glorious sunsets. Even if you only have a short time to nip out of Wellington in your rental car, you’ll still feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Stop at the small town of Waikanae and wander around the Nga Manu Nature Reserve or have a dip at the popular swimming beach. For those with a bit more time to explore, a trip to Kapiti Island is a great way to spot some of the wildlife in the area. The whole island is a nature reserve, with hundreds of species of animals, plants and birds, including the elusive Kiwi!
No trip to New Zealand would be complete without sampling some of their delicious wines. While there are plenty available to buy in the city or sample in restaurants, nothing beats a vineyard visit to experience the real deal. The well-known Martinborough wine region is around an hour’s drive in your hire car from Wellington, and a great excuse to put your wheels to good use and explore outside the city. There are around 20 different boutique wineries in the region, with many serving lunch as well as operating tours. The region is best known for its Pinot Noir, but you’ll also find Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay among others. With a glass of wine in hand, relaxing in the New Zealand countryside, you’ll never want to leave!