If you are travelling to New Zealand, a visit to Wellington is a must. It is not only the countryʼs capital, but due to its unique location, it also forms the link between the North Island and the South Island. To visit this city in New Zealand, you must first apply for a NZeTA.
A cosmopolitan and alternative metropolis
Wellington, New Zealandʼs capital, is located at the southernmost tip of the North Island and is the third most populous city in the country. Like the rest of New Zealand, the city has a rich history that reflects the mixture of Moorish and European cultures, something that can be clearly seen in the Te Papa National Museum. The city has been inhabited by Maori since the 12th century, well before European colonisation in 1839.
Apart from its culture, Wellington is famous as the culinary capital of New Zealand. Cuba Street is the ideal area to enjoy good food and the lively character of the city. Iconic to Wellington is the historic red cable car, which runs from Lambton Quay to the Kelburn Hills, at an altitude of 600 metres. This cable car was opened in 1902 and was a milestone in the technology of the time. Today it offers one of the most emblematic views of the city. The route leads to the Botanical Garden, a green area where you can see flowers and plants from all over the world. In this part of the city, you will also find other interesting places, such as a historical cemetery or a Victorian-style greenhouse.
Another place where you can enjoy an exceptional view of the capital is Mount Victoria. It can be reached by car or bus in about fifteen minutes from the centre. Those who prefer to be sporty and enjoy a brisk walk can reach the top in about an hour.
Nature and wildlife on your doorstep
Before the arrival of the first settlers from Polynesia by canoe around 1280 B.C., New Zealand was an isolated land without mammals, allowing native plants and birds to thrive. The arrival of humans was accompanied by plagues and predators, which led to the extinction of many of these wild animals, such as the moas. Other species were also threatened with extinction.
Wellington has two centres dedicated to the preservation of flora and fauna. Zealandia, the worldʼs first fully enclosed eco-reserve, is just a few minutes by car or public transport from the city centre. Here you can see tuataras (Sphenodon punctatus) - prehistoric reptiles with a third eye - or wetas (Deinacrida) - giant insects related to crickets. Another place where you can enjoy the fauna is the Wellington Zoo, which is dedicated to the preservation of endangered species. It is also recognised worldwide for its sustainability initiatives and practices.
Respect for the environment is not just reserved for these places. In New Zealand, a tourist tax called IVL (“International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy”) is added to the price of the NZeTA visa. This tax benefits sustainable tourism projects in the country, such as the rescue plan for the kākāpō parrot, a nearly extinct species..
A wide cultural offer
Wellington has a wide variety of cultural activities and attractions. One of the capitalʼs main attractions is the Te Papa Museum. This national museum has six floors with the most modern interactive exhibitions. It is the ideal place to learn about the history and culture of New Zealandʼs indigenous people. Unlike other museums, admission is free (except for special exhibitions) and it is open every day of the year (except Christmas).
Film lovers should definitely visit Weta Workshop. Located within walking distance from the centre of Wellington, this studio is famous for its work on the films Avatar, The Chronicles of Narnia, and the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Weta Workshop creates special effects and supplies props and costumes for films and TV shows. The company also opens its doors to fans with tours ranging from 45 minutes to full day tours.
Applying for a New Zealand visa (NZeTA)
To visit Wellington, you need an NZeTA. The NZeTA (“New Zealand electronic Travel Authority”) can be easily applied for online. After filling in the digital application form, you need to upload a passport photo. Once the application is approved, the visa is granted and sent by email within an average of 5 working days.