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Looking for all the top things to do in New Zealand including tours, activities, attractions, and more? Find top day trips from Wellington with the Travelling Souk, with our list of standout destinations and adventures within easy reach of the city.
Once you’ve explored Wellington and taken in all the highlights of the northern island, you might be thinking of venturing further afield. New Zealand is a once in a lifetime trip for many, and while Wellington is certainly the perfect homebase, there are plenty of things to see and do outside the city centre. Whether you want to check out the country’s incredible scenery, unwind in nature, sign up for adventure activities, or discover some of the fascinating Maori cultural sites, you have it all at your fingertips. Here are five epic day trips from Wellington that you can tick off your list one by one.
Easily reachable by train, bus, or car, the Kapiti Coast District stretches from Paekākāriki in the south through Ōtaki in the north, including the towns of Te Horo, Waikanae, Paraparaumu, Raumati Beach, Ōtaki, Paekākāriki and Raumati South, not to mention nearly 40 kilometres of unspoilt beaches. You can soak up the all-round chilled-out atmosphere and the unspoilt coastal landscapes at Kapiti, try your hand at golf at the Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, or visit the nearby Kapiti Island for an overnight Kiwi Spotting Tour.
If you’d like to catch a glimpse of the Little Spotted Kiwi in its natural habitat, you can organise a tour package with Kapiti Island Nature Tours. The island is a protected conservation site, so advanced bookings are essential.
Join Zozo Travel through the Kaitoke Regional Park, the Remutaka Ranges, and the rugged south Wairarapa coast and Cape Palliser for spectacular scenic views, stopping along the way at Featherston for a cheese tasting at C’est Cheese, at Greytown for a chocolate tasting at Schoc Chocs, and the town of Martinborough to visit award winning New Zealand wineries. The Wine & Wild Coast Tour follows the edges of the North Island’s unforgettable coastline, providing breathtaking views of the rugged south Wairarapa coast and Cape Palliser, and one of the largest permanent fur seal colonies in the country.
The ten hour tour departs from Wellington i-SITE, cruise ships, and selected Wellington hotels, and includes local guide, transportation, lunch, dinner and all entry/tasting fees. Secure your spot here, on the Zozo Travel website.
Popular with walkers and with mountain bikers, the Remutaka Forest Park emcompasses the Catchpool Valley and the Orongorongo Valley, at the southern end of the Remutaka Range. The park covers 220 square kilometres, and contains several short walks and six huts that can be booked in advance and accessed by longer bush treks. The Remutaka Forest Park is home to a wealth of local birdlife, including bellbirds ruru and tui, kaka kereru, as well as the more common red deer, bush pigs, goats, and possums.
Catchpool Valley, 30 kilometres or so from Wellington, is the most popular entrance to Remutaka Forest Park. There are additional entry points along the Western Lake Road in Wairarapa, the Waiorongamai Track, the Battery Stream/Papatahi Crossing, and from Ocean Beach. Find out more at the Remutaka Forest Park website.
Discover the ‘Outer Shire’, the Weta Cave, and other major filming locations, to learn more about how the Lord of the Rings movies were made. Embark on a full day tour from Wellington, to visit the filming locations for the Gardens of Isengard, Helms Deep, River Anduin, Rivendell, Minas Tirith, Helms Deep, Orcs Chant, the Legolas tree, and where Aragorn Washed Ashore. You’ll have access to exclusive movie videos so you can visualize the stories and scenes in the films, alongside props so that you can take photos to show family and friends on your return home.
The ideal Wellington day trip for LOTR fans, Lord of the Rings Movie Tours can be booked via the New Zealand tourism website, with prices starting at $275.00 per person. If you only have a few hours to spare before heading on to your next destination, there are mini packages available, such as the Wellington Movie Tour with Weta Cave Workshop.
Take the opportunity to share in the rich cultural history of Wellington by taking a Waka (Māori Canoe) or Walking Tour. Although you won’t travel too far from the city’s shoreline, you’ll have the opportunity to hear stories that relate to the indiginous Māori people, from a Te Atiawa/Taranaki Whanui tribe perspective on a Hidden Treasures Walking Tour, and visit the uncovered remains of two whare ponga buildings. Or, you can take the Waka Tour in a working waka on the water with kaihoe paddlers, and learn a combination of traditional paddling techniques, waka calls, the haka, and salutes.
For an unforgettable interactive experience, showcasing Māori culture and stories, contact Te Wharewaka o Pōneke for more information about their tours. You can find their website here.
And there you have it, our top five day suggestions for day trips from Wellington. Is there a must see or must-do Wellington day trip, tour, or excursion that we missed? Get in touch with us to let us know!
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We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest.