Wellington Region of New Zealand

The Wellington region is in the southernmost part of the North Island of New Zealand, and is home to the country’s capital city – Wellington! It is a diverse and interesting region to explore, from the thriving metropolis of Wellington, with its thriving arts scene and nightlife, to the charming towns and remote beaches of the East Coast.

An infographic showing the best places to visit in the Wellington Region of New Zealand

An Overview of the Wellington Region of New Zealand

Wellington Location:The Wellington region is located in the southernmost part of the North Island of New Zealand
Bordering Regions:The Wellington region borders the Manawatū-Whanganui region to the north, and the Marlborough and Nelson Tasman regions to the south across the Cook Strait.
Region Size (km2):8,049 km2 – the smallest region in New Zealand!
Population:550,500 (June 2023)
Main Cities and Towns:Wellington, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, Porirua, Paraparaumu, Masterton, and Martinborough
Most Popular Tourist Destinations:Te Papa Tongarewa Museum
Kapiti Island Nature Reserve
Remutaka Rail Trail
Putangirua Pinnacles
Cape Palliser Lighthouse

Highlights of the Wellington Region of New Zealand

Wellington City

Wellington Region of New Zealand

Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand, and an awesome place to explore! It is a cultural hub, filled with museums, galleries, boutique shops, and fantastic cafes and restaurants. Wellington is located on the harbour and surrounded by hills covered in native bush, which you can explore with the iconic Wellington Cable Car! It also has a vibrant nightlife, craft beer scene, and a bustling centre city.

Best Things to Do in Wellington


Porirua Wellington Region of New Zealand

Porirua is a city just north of Wellington, nestled on the southern shores of the stunning Porirua Harbour. It has a charming centre to explore, with the Pataka Art + Museum and the Ngati Toa Domain located right on the waterfront. It is surrounded by natural beauty, with several walkways and hiking tracks offering incredible views of the surrounding scenery!


Paraparaumu, Wellington Region of New Zealand

Paraparaumu is a coastal town on the Kapiti Coast, and is famous for its award-winning golf course and proximity to Kapiti Island! It is is a popular summer holiday destination, with long stretches of golden sand facing the beautiful Tasman Sea. Paraparaumu is filled with this to do for the whole family, including visiting the animals at the Lindale Farm Park, admiring the classic cars at the Southward Car Museum, or soaking up the sun at one of the charming cafes and restaurants that line the waterfront! It is also close to the stunning Escarpment Track, which follows the coastline from Paekakariki to Pukerua and offers spectacular views over the ocean and Kapiti Island!

Kapiti Island

Kapiti Island Wellington Region of New Zealand

Just off the stunning Kapiti Coast is Kapiti Island – one of New Zealand‘s most important native reserves, which acts as a sanctuary for native birds and plants. It makes for a memorable day trip from Paraparaumu – however, you can only access the island through approved tour operators! It has several guided walks, fantastic birdwatching, and you can even stay in this native wonderland overnight!

Lower Hutt

Lower Hutt, Wellington Region of New Zealand

Lower Hutt is the second-largest city in the Wellington region, and a centre for science, technology, and innovation. It is only a short drive away from the bustling centre of Wellington, making it a great budget place to stay while exploring the capital city! It is surrounded by nature, with some great walking and biking trails – including the scenic Hutt River Trail.

Upper Hutt

Upper Hutt, Wellington Region of New Zealand

Upper Hutt is a city nestled in the Hutt Valley, and is surrounded by rolling hills and native forests. It is an outdoor haven with many walking and cycling trails, including the Remutaka Rail Trail, the Akatarawa Forest, and through the stunning Pakuratahi Forest.


Masterton, Wellington Region of New Zealand

Masterton is the largest town in the Wairarapa district, and is a rural service centre steeped with history and local culture. You can learn about the sheep and wool industry at The Wool Shed – the National Museum of Sheep and Shearing, or watch the thrilling Golden Shears Shearing Contest, which runs over three days and attracts competitors from around the world!


Martinborough, Wellington Region of New Zealand

Martinborough is a small yet charming village in the Wellington Region, known for its incredible wineries and vineyards that are within walking or biking distance from the village square! The town is lovely to explore, with cosy cafes, local art galleries, and boutique shopping.  If you are looking for adventure, you can go white water rafting on the Ruamahanga River, or visit the Patuna Chasm, a natural limestone gorge with stunning waterfalls!

East Coast

Tora, East Coast, Wellington Region of New Zealand

The East Coast of the Wellington region is often overlooked by travellers, as it is rugged and remote – often even without cell-phone reception! Tora, the coastal area in the south-east of the Wairarapa region, is known for its stunning beaches, golden hills, and great surf! Tora is a short drive from Martinborough, and makes for an incredible day-trip to see the Pacific Ocean. You can also explore this area along the Tora Coastal Walk, a stunning 3-day walk through some of the most magnificent scenery!

Tararua Ranges

Tararua Forest Park, Wellington Region of New Zealand

Tararua Forest Park is the largest conservation park on the North Island, and covers over 116,000 hectares of remote, mountainous terrain! It is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with many opportunities for hiking, hunting, fishing, and camping. The park has over 300 kilometres of tracks, ranging from easy walks to challenging alpine routes – including a section of the incredible Te Araroa Trail.

Lake Wairarapa

Lake Wairarapa, Wellington Region of New Zealand

Lake Wairarapa is the third-largest lake in the North Island, and part of the Wairarapa Moana Wetlands Park. This is a popular spot for Bird and Wildlife watching, as the lake and the surrounding wetlands are home to several rare and endangered species!

Cape Palliser

Cape Palliser, Wellington Region of New Zealand

Cape Palliser is the southernmost point of the North Island, and a very remote and stunning destination to visit along your Wellington road-trip! It takes around 2-hours to drive from the heart of Wellington, but feels like you are in a whole other world! The drive takes you along the stunning coastline, where you can look out across the stunning Cook Strait, and spot the fur seals that call this place home. You can also visit Ngawi, which is a small fishing village with a gorgeous (and rustic) campground, as well as some of the best fish and chips New Zealand has to offer!

Cape Palliser Lighthouse

Cape Palliser Lighthouse, Wellington Region of New Zealand

Cape Palliser Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse that stands on the headland, marking the entrance to the Cook Strait! While visiting Cape Palliser, one of the most memorable things to do is climb the 253 steps up to the lighthouse. Trust me – the incredible views are worth it!

Putangirua Pinnacles

Putangirua Pinnacles, Wellington Region of New Zealand

The Putangirua Pinnacles are an incredible hidden gem in the Wellington region, and are popular with hikers, photographers, and Lord of the Rings fans – being a filming location for the ‘Paths of the Dead’ in the Return of the King movie! These incredible rock formations are eroded pillars of gravel and sandstone, which have been formed over millions of years to create the dramatic landscape you can explore today!

Wellington Weather

The Wellington region has a temperate climate, with mild winters and warm summers. It is known for its strong winds – hence the nickname ‘Windy Wellington’!

Wellington region Weather

Airports in the Wellington Region

Wellington International Airport

Wellington International Airport is the main airport in the capital city and the third busiest airport in New Zealand! It offers direct flights to many domestic and international destinations, such as Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Fiji.

Kapiti Coast Airport

Kapiti Coast Airport is a small airport in the small town of Paraparaumu, about 50 km north of Wellington. It provides scheduled air services between Kapiti and Auckland, Blenheim, and Nelson. This airport is a convenient and scenic alternative to Wellington Airport for visitors who are looking to explore the Kapiti Coast!