COMPETITION | Wellington’s First XV Must-dos

Getty Images     05 Aug 2018     Getty Images

From the thriving pubs and eateries to the bouncing waterfront and enchanted walk along the concourse to Westpac Stadium, Wellington comes alive when the All Blacks are in town.

While the rugby might be the main attraction on a Test match weekend, Wellington is a perfect-sized city to fit in a lot of activities on a short stay. Here is the First XV of sights to take in during your time in the Capital. 


1: All Blacks v South Africa
One of the All Blacks oldest and fiercest rivalries will ignite at Westpac Stadium on Saturday 15 September when the All Blacks face the Springboks. The All Blacks winning percentage of 60% against South Africa is the lowest of any nation they play against. From the rampaging Malcolm Marx to the searing speed of Aphiwe Dyantyi and the blockbusting running of Jesse Kriel, the Springboks will provide the ultimate test to the All Black as they hunt for a third straight Investec Rugby Championship title. Get your tickets here.
2: Zealandia
Take a step back in time with the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary, Zealandia. With an extraordinary 500-year vision to restore a Wellington valley’s forest and freshwater ecosystems as closely as possible to their pre-human state. The 225 hectare ecosanctuary is a groundbreaking conservation project that has reintroduced 18 species of native wildlife back into the area, six of which were previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years.

3: Courtenay Place
Courtenay Place is the hub of nightlife in Wellington with bars, live music and dancing aplenty. A perfect place to either celebrate or commiserate after a Test match. From fine dining and quick eats to funky bars and karaoke, there is something for everyone on Courtenay Place.

4: Embassy Theatre
For rugby fans who also love a good blockbuster film, the Embassy Theatre is the ultimate cinema experience in Wellington. Situated at the end of Courtenay Place, the Embassy has been immaculately restored to its 1920s glory and famously played host to the world premiere of the final instalment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in 2003.

5: Wellington Cable Car
The iconic suspension Cable Car will take you from Lambton Quay to Kelburn with stunning views of the harbour along the way. A highly affordable and unmissable journey that was enjoyed by All Blacks Jordan Taufua, Waisake Naholo and Luke Whitelock on their recent visit to Wellington.

6: Wonderful Waterfront
Wellington’s bustling waterfront has undertaken a renaissance over the past couple of decades. From the sun-drenched Oriental Bay all the way to the golden Queens Wharf, the waterfront is a world-class attraction full of fun activities and quality dining. Wellington Harbour has also been blessed by a rather large visitor recently - a Southern Right Whale. So while you are going for a stroll along the waterfront, make sure to keep an eye on the harbour to see if you spot a special guest.

7: The Beehive
Make sure to visit Wellington’s most famous piece of architecture - The Beehive. Situated close to Westpac Stadium, the Beehive is home to New Zealand’s Parliament. Tours of Parliament Buildings go hourly and provide a great insight into the history of Parliament and New Zealand.

8: Red Rocks Coastal Walk
Get your walking boots on and go for a trek around Wellington’s rugged south coast. With views all the way to the South Island on a good day, deserted bays to explore and a seal colony to observe, you will feel like you are an age away from the hustle and bustle of Wellington city.

9: Wellington Botanic Gardens
Wellington’s Botanic Gardens are close to the city and stunning all year round. Replete with a cafe, sculptures, and blooming flora and fauna, the gardens are a peaceful place to spend a few hours in the sun or enjoy a coffee to reflect on your time in the Capital.

10: Te Papa
No list of Wellington’s tourist attractions is complete without the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa. Te Papa is an unmissable attraction for visitors to Wellington. The stunning waterfront building is full of fascinating artefacts and history from Aotearoa’s past. Entry is also free of charge.

11: Cuba Street
At the heart of culture in Wellington, Cuba Street is a kilometre long strip of shopping, cafes and curiosity. You’ll struggle to find a bad cup of coffee here and there is no shortage of buskers and street entertainment to help you wile away an afternoon.

12: Harbourside Market
Get down to the Harbourside market on Sundays for food truck eats, fresh produce and live entertainment. Situated next to Te Papa on Wellington’s waterfront, the Harbourside Market is where Wellington society meets everySunday. From Cabinet Ministers to the Flight of the Conchords or Super Rugby players, you never know who you will spot picking up their fruit and vegetables. 

13: The Great War Exhibition
Oscar winning filmmaker Peter Jackson and the Wellington Museums Trust have combined to create one of the most powerful, fully interactive war exhibitions on the planet. A moving and informative experience for any visitor, the exhibition is open from 9am-6pm daily and housed within the beautiful Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.

14: Mount Victoria Lookout
As well as amazing views, the lookout at the top pf Mount Victoria has great information about Wellington’s Maori history and harbour. A fantastic vantage point from which to see the whole city, the lookout is one place where youdon’t want to forget your camera.

15: The Weta Cave
An ideal experience for film and visual effects fans. The Weta Cave in Miramar has props and souvenirs from iconic films like Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit and King Kong. Learn how the costumes, props and sets were made for some of the most successful movie franchises in movie history.


Win a Wellington’s First XV Must-Do Weekend Experience!

Purchase a ticket for the All Blacks vs South Africa match on 15 September using the code "WELLYXV" and go into the draw to win a Wellington’s First XV Must-Do Weekend Experience. 

The prize pack includes:

• Return domestic Air New Zealand flights for two to Wellington. 
• Twin share accommodation at DoubleTree by Hilton.
• A special All Blacks prize pack including two All Blacks jerseys.
• A two-course lunch for two at Bellamys by Logan Brown at the Beehive.
ZEALANDIA day tour double pass.
• Wellington Cable Car double return pass.
• Weta Cave Workshop Tour double pass.