New Zealand’s compact capital has more restaurants, cafes and bars per capita than New York, and a thriving arts and culture scene to boot. Pair this with a gleaming waterfront, Victorian and art-deco architecture and sandy bays, and you may be tempted to stay. Set up base at one of our favourite Wellington vacation rentals – and book your place with Culture Trip.
Close to Sky Stadium, just north of the capital, Quest on Thorndon features studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments with memory foam beds and rainfall showers. Many of the city’s top sights are within walking distance; wander southwest to reach Wellington Botanic Garden in less than 20 minutes, taking in a 19th-century cathedral and striking parliament buildings – including the aptly named Beehive – along the way.
Want to be in the heart of the action? This spacious, loft-like two-bedroom apartment sleeps up to four guests – but with Cuba Street’s clubs, bars and live music venues on your doorstep, you may not make it to bed until the wee hours. Shake off last night’s antics with a jerk chicken burger at local institution, Laundry, or blow away the cobwebs with a 20-minute hike up to Mount Victoria Lookout – the harbour views are outstanding on a clear day.
This cluster of peak-roofed apartments within a little low-rise shopping precinct are super central, and come with up to three bedrooms (with a maximum of two guests per room), featuring bold colour-block walls. The unmissable Te Papa Museum is a 10-minute walk away; swot up on Māori culture and New Zealand’s natural wonders before taking a walk along the pedestrian-friendly waterfront. Don’t miss sundowners of kiwi Sauvignon Blanc or pale ale at The Arborist rooftop bar, just around the corner from your digs.
The airport, beach and centre of Wellington are all just a few minutes’ drive away from U Suites Kilbirnie, a selection of modern, open-plan two-bedroom apartments – with capacity for five guests – overlooking a quiet high street. From here you can walk to Lyall Bay, Wellington’s most popular surf spot, and rent a board to catch a wave – or grab a coffee and a window seat to watch the pros from Maranui Cafe.
Just around the corner from the high street and designer stores of Lambton Quay, these compact monochrome-themed studios and apartments, which sleep up to four guests, are especially handy if you’re looking for a spot of retail therapy. However, if you catch windy Wellington on an unusually calm day, you might prefer to ditch the shopping in favour of a kayak tour of the harbour with Fergs Kayaks.
Travelling with friends or family? These light-filled four-bedroom suites in Central Wellington sleep up to eight guests and feature generous corner sofas, deep-soaking baths and balconies overlooking the city. Te Papa and the waterfront are moments away, while a 20-minute walk will take you to Freyberg Beach – a fine spot for a picnic, swim or game of beach soccer.
These simple but stylish studios and apartments, which sleep up to five, are convenient if you’re planning to explore further afield – the train station and ferry terminal are both 10 minutes away on foot (the latter is the gateway to the South Island). Staying put? Don’t miss the chance to ride the nearby Wellington Cable Car; the picturesque journey will land you in the Botanic Garden, where you’ll find a planetarium, play parks and swathes of indigenous plants and native forest.
Just a 15-minute drive from the city centre, this coastal house is right on the water of Karaka Bay and feels more like a remote beach getaway than a city break. There’s a tranquil terrace, and it sleeps up to eight in three bedrooms, making it the perfect base for a family or group of friends. The property also comes with two kayaks, which can be launched into the bay across the road, so you can see the city from a unique vantage point while getting your daily dose of exercise.
For a memorable experience that’s a little different from the rest, opt for a stay in this lighthouse. Set on the rocks just above Island Bay, it offers up incredible views thanks to the room that once allowed the harbour man to see any boats in distress. The scenery is delightful at any time of the day, whether you’re watching the sun go down with a glass of wine or admiring the early-morning rays bouncing off the water over your morning coffee. Sleeping just two people, this magical seaside bolthole makes for a romantic getaway.