Sightseeing Wellington in a Day: Famous Local Landmarks

Arguably the coolest city in New Zealand, Te Whanganui a Tara (Wellington) is full of cultural hotspots, landmark attractions and stunning natural landscapes. Home to the Beehive parliamentary complex, historical churches and famed filming locations, Wellington blends iconic sites with a trendy atmosphere. With so much to do in the country’s capital, we’ve handpicked some of the city’s top landmarks and paired them with exquisite dining options for a full day of sightseeing and a one-of-a-kind Wellington experience.  

Coffee With a View 

Once you’ve picked up your rental car, what better way to start your day trip around the coffee capital than with a flavourful brew? Not too far from the city centre, Peoples Coffee offers signature blends with interesting notes ranging from milk chocolate and caramel to red grape, peach and orange. Grab a cup to go or settle into the cosy setting with a fresh pastry. First up on your scenic trip is a short drive to the Mount Victoria (Tangi-te keo) lookout. Park at the summit to observe the city from above, or take the Mount Victoria Lookout Walkway for a morning hike. Aside from spectacular views of the city and harbour, you’ll also find historical monuments at the peak - including a bronze cannon. If you’re an early riser, Mount Victoria is the ideal spot to watch the sunrise in Wellington. 


Adventures Around Town 

After starting your morning with panoramic views and a caffeine hit, journey back through the city and prepare for an afternoon of sightseeing on the historic Wellington Cable Car. Board the car at Lambton Quay Terminal and choose to hop off along the way or stay on and enjoy the five-minute trip around the city. If you decide to disembark the Cable Car, take some time to admire the Rainbow and Cable Car Transition Murals and visit the Kelburn Park Fountain as well as the Te Pātaka Toi Adam Art Gallery. Upon arrival at Kelburn Terminal - the Cable Car’s last stop - you’ll find yourself outside the Wellington Botanic Garden ki Paekākā. Here, you can explore the Cable Car Museum for a fascinating look at the history of the cars in Wellington, wander the expansive gardens or watch a planetarium show at Space Place (Te Ara Whānui ki te Rangi). However you choose to discover the city, a ride on the Cable Car is not to be missed. 

Wellington Botanical Garden

Calling All History Buffs 

It’s time to get your cultural fix with a visit to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. With six floors to explore, a wealth of children’s educational areas and even an outdoor native bush to discover, a day spent here makes for an educational and exciting outing. At Te Taiao Nature Zone you’ll discover New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna and can even see the world’s largest colossal squid on display. Indigenous exhibitions include artefacts that tell the story of Māori life, featuring voyages across the sea, the Treaty of Waitangi, and a life-sized Marae at Rongomaraeroa. You’ll be amazed at what’s on offer at Te Papa - from the bones of New Zealand-born Phar Lap, the record-breaking Britten Bike as well as a combination of temporary and permanent exhibitions, there’s bound to be something to discover no matter when you visit. Before you leave, visit the outdoor Terrace on the sixth floor for impeccable views of the harbour and city. 

Te Papa Museum

Mouthwatering Moments 

With a day full of sightseeing and exploring under your belt, it’s time to wind down and indulge in an unforgettable meal. Make your way to Cuba Street - one of the must-see landmarks while you’re in Wellington. Blending creativity and culinary perfection, you’ll find graffiti-filled alleyways, art galleries and of course, fine dining experiences including the exquisite Logan Brown. Here, there is a focus on local, sustainable produce and deep care for the land coupled with authentic New Zealand hospitality. Book a table and savour their seasonal menu with the option of a three-course dinner or an a la carte lunch service. With an extensive beverage list comprising reds, whites and more from all across New Zealand, Australia and Europe, wine connoisseurs are well-catered for. If you sample a glass or two, ensure to appoint a designated driver for the trip home. Craving something sweet after your meal? You’ll find Duck Island Ice Cream only a few stores away. Scooping daily until late, choose from classic and experimental flavours for a post-dinner treat. 

With so much to explore in and around Wellington, a day spent here will leave you with an urge to return. Discover the windy city with ease and style in a Hertz rental car.