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Wellington & Wairarapa

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From rare wildlife to bustling shopping centres and eateries, the Wellington and Wairarapa regions make for an excellent North Island road trip. With a treasure trove of Kiwi experiences for all ages, tastes, and budgets, the regions are particularly popular for campervan holidays.

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Wellington and Wairarapa sit at the bottom of the North Island, with loads of adventure-filled attractions within a short driving distance of each other.

To make the most of everything on offer, there’s no better way to travel this beautiful part of the country than with a Britz campervan. Enjoy breakfast within Wellington’s lively café scene, see the sights throughout the day, and relax with a beachside dinner of fish and chips as the sun sets over coastal Castlepoint.

Campervan travel allows you the freedom to stop where you please, take your time, and discover all the hidden gems of this diverse region. Travel by Britz campervan is also a great way to keep expenses down, especially if you enjoy freedom camping.

Wellington has loads of fun and free attractions to explore such as Te Papa Museum, Mount Victoria Lookout, or just strolling alongside the beautiful waterfront. It’s also the starting point for some amazing New Zealand road trips. And When you’re ready to explore further afield, Wairarapa is just an hour’s drive north. Plan to visit the wild coastline, bike a cycle trail, or explore the welcoming townships including Carterton, Greytown, and Martinborough.

Highlights

  • Vibrant arts and culture
  • Sophisticated dining and bar scenes
  • Gardens, parks and scenic reserves
  • Wairarapa wineries
  • Sandy, sunset beaches
  • Wildlife, particularly birds and seals

Popular Wellington Road Trips & Itineraries

Because it’s situated at the bottom of the North Island, just a short ferry ride across the Cook Strait, the Wellington and Wairarapa region is an ideal mid-way stopping point if you’re heading south to Christchurch for a South Island road trip – you can drive your Britz campervan directly onto the Interislander ferry and sail across to Picton. We’ve put together a great Wellington to Christchurch itinerary to help you plan your trip.


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Things To Do in Wellington

Get up close with some of New Zealand’s precious native wildlife. Located just minutes from central Wellington, Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne is the world’s first fully fenced, predator-proof ecosanctuary. This special spot is a haven for some of the world’s most extraordinary nature and is a must-see destination for people visiting New Zealand’s capital city.

Take a ride on the historic Wellington Cable Car for panoramic views over the city and harbour. Relax and enjoy the scenery as you’re whisked from the heart of the city centre, up through the hillside terraced houses of Kelburn to the lookout perched high above the city. Enjoy easy access to the Wellington Botanic Gardens, Cable Car Museum, Space Place, and Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne (via free shuttle).

The best way to get your bearings of the city is by checking out the views from the top of Mount Victoria. Enjoy stunning panoramic views of Wellington city, harbour, and hills. You can drive to the top of Mt Vic or walk there via one of the many trails in the Town Belt. Take a picture, settle in on the hillside, and relax while watching ferries sail into the harbour, and planes fly in and out of the airport. Mt Vic is also one of the best spots in the city for taking in a sunrise or sunset.

Wellington’s little foodie haven, Hannahs Laneway, is home to bakers, roasters, grinders, brewers, chocolatiers, and pizza slingers who work collaboratively to bring life to a former industrial quarter. Enjoy a peanut butter tasting at Fix & Fogg, a chocolate treat at the Wellington Chocolate Factory, or evening cocktails at Hanging Ditch.

Check out our world-famous movie-making magic. Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how Wētā Workshop helps craft some of the world’s biggest films. See props and costumes crafted for The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, District 9, The Chronicles of Narnia and more.

Unlike any other museum you’ve ever visited before, Te Papa Museum tells the stories of Aotearoa New Zealand through innovative and interactive exhibitions that are fascinating and fun for curious minds of any age. The engaging and informative tours on offer are the perfect way to get an overview of Te Papa’s highlights, Māori treasures, and New Zealand history.

Things to do in Wairarapa

Martinborough produces some of New Zealand’s best pinot noir and has over 30 wineries, all within walking distance to the village square. Enjoy the highlights with a guided wine tour or take in some fresh air with a self-guided walk or cycle tour. If you fancy lunch with your pinot or rosé, plan a stop at Poppies Martinborough or Luna Estate.

Established in 1854, the Victorian country village of Greytown is home to a mix of independent boutiques, art galleries, and antique stores. Explore the tasty array on offer at the stylish cafes and restaurants including Chocolate Studio, Schoc Chocolate, and The French Baker, before enjoying the sights by exploring the countryside on a tandem bike. For a look back at Greytown’s history, stop in at Wairarapa's early settlers museum, Cobblestones.

Get up close to wild kaka, see kiwi forage in the native bush, and learn more about our amazing wildlife at Puhaka National Wildlife Centre. This special centre is where some of New Zealand's endangered species are bred before being returned to the wild. There are also several short walks through the forest where you can marvel at native giant rimu, rata, kahikatea, and tawa.

Castlepoint is one of New Zealand’s most loved beaches and home to the Castlepoint lighthouse, first lit in 1913. The rugged beach is often visited by New Zealand fur seals and dolphins. And if you’re in the mood to stretch your legs, climb the Deliverance Track to the top of the 162-metre Castle Rock.

Cape Palliser is the most southern point of the North Island. Here, you can walk through the forest to Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve, climb to the top of Cape Palliser Lighthouse, and see the North Island's largest resident breeding colony of fur seals from afar. Check out the charming fishing village of Ngawihi on your way to the lighthouse.

The family friendly town of Masterton is Wairarapa’s largest with something on offer for all ages. Kids will love a visit to Queen Elizabeth Park which includes the famous Kids Own playground and a miniature train. For some indoor water fun, make a splash at the Trust House Recreation Centre where you’ll find indoor heated pools, a hydroslide, and river ride. Masterton also has some great walking trails including picturesque Mount Holdsworth.

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Britz Campervan Branches

Christchurch

The drive from Britz Christchurch to Wellington takes you along the South Island’s scenic eastern coastline. Make a stop in Kaikoura for a whale watch cruise before continuing north through Blenheim and across the Cook Strait via the Interislander.

Queenstown

Britz Queenstown lies at the bottom half of the South Island and is about 14 hours drive from Wellington. To make the most of the stunning scenery on this West Coast drive, split the journey up over a couple of days or more – there is plenty to do on the way!

Auckland

The road trip from Britz Auckland down to Wellington takes around 8 hours, so you may like to plan a stop midway in Taupo for a spot of fishing, or a soak in the hot pools. Head straight down the island via SH1 for the fastest route, or take a little more time and see the sights in Napier and Hastings in the east, or New Plymouth and Taranaki to the west.

Helpful Tips For Visiting Wellington & Wairarapa

Climate and seasons in Wellington and Wairarapa

Wellington averages around 2055 sunshine hours per year. The region is known for being windy, thanks to the Cook Straight’s wind-funnelling effect.

Wind records show that Cape Palliser and Castlepoint in Wairarapa are among the windiest spots in New Zealand.

Temperatures usually sit between 19°C-21°C during summer, and around 6°C-12°C in winter. Spring and autumn are generally mild with temperatures in the vicinity of 14°C-19°C. The best weather in Wellington is between October and April, with temperatures between 17°C and 21°C.

The average annual rainfall is around 1249mm, with June and July being the wettest months.

Where to stay in Wellington & Wairarapa

Wellington

Wairarapa

What to pack

With so many great outdoor activities to enjoy, you’ll want to make the most of your time in Wellington and the Wairarapa with a well packed campervan and a backpack ready for adventure!

  • Outdoor gear. It can get windy in Wellington at any time of year, so don’t forget to pack a warm hat and thermals. With plenty of elevated vantage points to see the sights, it’s also worth packing a pair of binoculars.
  • Campervan add-ons.If you are bringing a bike, the Auckland, Christchurch, or Queenstown branches offer bike rack hire which you can add on to your campervan hire.
  • Sun protection. Be sure to pack a bottle of sunscreen and a sunhat, especially if you’re visiting in summer and planning on making the most of the region’s tracks and trails.

Nearby attractions and day trips

Kapiti Island

This internationally renowned sanctuary makes for a great day trip from Wellington. Plan a guided tour to make the most of your experience as you learn about the fascinating wildlife, flora, and fauna of this special island.

Kapiti Coast

Stretching 40km of coastline, the Kapiti Coast is a beach lovers paradise with one sandy, beautiful beach after another. The coast is packed with adventure filled attractions, great cafes and restaurants, and outstanding scenery.

Waikanae Beach

This family friendly destination is a popular spot for kite surfing, swimming, kayaking, fishing, and whitebaiting. Those keen on a spot of birdwatching can join a bird tour and see herons, oyster catchers, dotterels, and more.

Ready to explore Wellington and Wairarapa?

Discover the wild beauty, delicious tastes, and exciting adventures that await in Wellington and Wairarapa with a Britz campervan holiday. Contact your nearest Britz branch today and start planning your North Island road trip.