Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, yet is is much less frequently visited than its northern neighbor, the thriving metropolis of Auckland. Still, Wellington is worth the visit, not only for the sights within the city, but for it prime position as a jumping-off point to explore some of the more remote areas of New Zealand. From there, you can easily travel to the areas of Martinborough and Cape Palliser, or join in on a Lord of the Rings-themed tour.

Seal pups at Cape Palliser. Photo courtesy of Rolf Hicker.

Cape Palliser is a gorgeous spot not far from Wellington, at the very southern tip of the island. It boasts a lovely lighthouse (the climb is steep and tiring, but worth it) and a large population of fur seals that sun themselves on the coast. Visit in summer to see seal pups—they’re insanely adorable, and playful, too. The drive out to Cape Palliser itself is worth the trip, as the approximately hour’s journey takes you along some sheer, but stunning, rock cliffs. For nature lovers, the cape is not to be missed.

The Hobbit holes at Hobbiton are a permanent attraction, easily reached from Wellington. Photo courtesy of the New Zealand tourism board.

Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films have captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of people world-wide, from hardcore fans of the book to blockbuster-obsessed moviegoers. While the films introduced audiences to some now household-name actors, the true star was the setting of New Zealand as Middle Earth. Many scenes from the movies were filmed in and around Wellington, and tours frequently visit areas that are known in the hearts of tourists as Rivendell, Isengard and Minas Tirith. 

A charming winery in Martinborough. Photo courtesy of AbsoluteNewZealand.com.

For a more leisurely sojourn, explore the town of Martinborough, just a short car drive from Wellington; it’s situated in the heart of New Zealand’s wine country, and a dozen wineries are easily accessed from the center of town. This is a great place to walk or bike in, with a small-town charm and some fantastic restaurants. Martinborough is a great place to escape the (admittedly mild) hustle and bustle of Wellington. With more than twenty vineyards in the area, it’s a must for oenophiles; the drive there itself is also a thing of great beauty.

For a different side of New Zealand, skip Auckland, and learn the charms of the south, with Wellington as your depature point. 

Contact Your Vacation Guru’s Travel Planners/Advisors for more information.