Wellington Harbour and City

Hotels in Wellington City, New Zealand

New Zealand’s capital city may only rank second to Auckland in terms of population, but in terms of cinematic exposure, “Wellywood” certainly reigns in the box office. Internationally-renowned for being the home of acclaimed director Peter Jackson who brought to life JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Wellington has its fair share of natural charm and star-studded establishments that lend it authority as the “coolest little capital in the world.”

Where to Stay in Wellington

Wellington sits on a harbour that is in direct path of sea breeze coming from the Cook Strait. It has terraced hillsides which overlook the harbour and dotted with quaint colonial villas as well as choice accommodation in Wellington, New Zealand for the discerning holiday-maker. You can stay in one of the luxury B&Bs (bed and breakfasts), villas, hotels and lodges on Mount Victoria from where the capital city can be seen in all directions. The central business district is less than three kilometres downhill.

Central Wellington accommodation is more wide-ranging. Apart from your usual hotel in Wellington, there is the typical fare of serviced Wellington apartments accommodation, lodges, backpackers, hostels and B&Bs, and the occasional city cottage, suite, villa and even homestay give a great choice of options as to where to stay in Wellington.

On the Trail of LOTR Stars

Wellington has undoubtedly achieved celebrity status and that is clearly stamped on its forehead. The restaurant that Elijah Wood (Frodo) and other Lord of the Rings stars spent lunch times at are over at Cuba Street; Viggo Mortensen’s (Aragorn) favourite is at Te Aro, the same neighbourhood where Liv Tyler (Arwen) used to shop. Urban legend has it that she was turned away at a tucked-away bar down at Forresters Lane (because it was already full, and not because they were snooty), while Elijah Wood owned up to his drunken antics at the Bucket Fountain.

Where to go from hotel accommodation in Wellington

Beyond the glitter of celebrity once-removed, Wellington is the hub of Maori heritage, arts and culture set amidst native beauty that both inspires creative pursuits and outdoor exploration.

Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand’s national museum, is not only the keeper of Maori heritage, but also of LOTR memorabilia. If you want to take home one, the Weta Cave, co-founded by Peter Jackson, sells mementoes, handcrafts, sculptures, clothing and even jewellery apart from its staple of books, magazines, posters and DVDs from movies. It even lets you in on the behind-the-scenes of famous Jackson films.

If you are up for a different kind of action, pedal your calories away up Makara Track and take in the raw and rugged views from its peak. A less demanding way to see the city from above is to ride the cable car to Kelburn, and maybe enjoy some ice cream afterwards.

Find a cheap Wellington accommodation so you can take all these in for a few days while contemplating whether to go north or go south, since Wellington is at the foot of North Island, and therefore quite a distance from all other large cities of the northlands. Its location on the northern terminus of the InterIslander ferry service, however, would make planning easier as it puts you a stone’s throw from Picton, a small but picturesque port town that is gateway to postcard-worthy Marlborough Sounds, and the bigger but less crowded South Island.