Wellington International Airport (www.wellingtonairport.co.nz) is 8km (5 miles) southeast of the city. The quickest route to the city from here passes through Mount Victoria via a two-lane tunnel. A more circuitous, but more scenic, route travels via Oriental Parade. The trip usually takes 15 to 20 minutes, although it can exceed 30 minutes at peak traffic times.
Wellington Airport operates both international and domestic business from the same building. It is served by the following international airlines: Air New Zealand (tel. 0800/737-000 in NZ, or 04/336-2400; www.airnewzealand.co.nz), British Airways (tel. 09/966-9777; www.ba.com), Lufthansa (tel. 0800/945-220 in NZ; www.lufthansa.com), Qantas Airways (tel. 0800/808-767; www.qantas.com), Singapore Airlines (tel. 0800/808-909; www.singaporeair.com), and Pacific Blue (tel. 0800/670-000; www.flypacificblue.com).
The leading domestic airlines that fly into Wellington are Air New Zealand (tel. 0800/737-000; www.airnz.com), Jetstar (tel. 0800/800-995; www.jetstar.com), and Soundsair Ltd. (tel. 0800/505-505; www.soundsair.com). For arrival and departure information, call tel. 04/388-9900.
The Wellington Airport Visitor Information Centre (tel. 04/385-5123; fax 04/385-5137; www.wellingtonairport.co.nz) is on level one of the main terminal building. Staff members can assist with booking accommodations, TranzRail, Interislander ferries, and long-distance coaches. It’s open daily from 7am to 8pm.
The terminal has nine cafes and restaurants in a large food hall that offer everything from pizza and pasta to wine and tapas. There are also car-rental desks, duty-free stores, gift shops, a Travelex Foreign Exchange service open during all international flight times, Internet stations, and ATMs. Coin-operated lockers can be found on the ground floor. Most retail outlets are open 6:30am to 8pm, some later. Duty-free stores are open for every international flight.
Super Shuttle (tel. 0800/748-885 in NZ, or 04/472-9552; www.supershuttle.co.nz) operates between the airport, the city, and the railway station Monday through Friday. It costs NZ$25 per person. Several shuttle operators provide door-to-door service at higher fares.
The Airport Flyer, the GO Wellington airport express bus Metlink (tel. 04/569-2933; www.airportflyer.co.nz), goes right into the inner city and then on to Waterloo Interchange in Lower Hutt. It operates every 15 minutes, 365 days a year from 6:30am to 9:30pm. A Metrolink Explorer Pass costs NZ$20 per person and gives unlimited all-day travel (after 9am), on all Flyer, GO Wellington, and Valley Flyer services. It’s available from bus drivers. Single-ride tickets are also available. The trip from the airport to central-city stops takes about 45 minutes and costs around NZ$10 for adults and NZ$6 for children. A new fleet of buses complies with the latest European emission standard, Euro 5, which means exhaust emissions are up to 90% lower than the older buses. The buses also have air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and lowered floors for wheelchair access. The Airport Flyer departs from the southern end of the terminal on Level 0; exit the baggage claim area and turn right.
A taxi between the city center and the airport costs around NZ$35, depending on the destination. The fare to Lower Hutt is approximately NZ$65 to NZ$80. Taxi stands are directly outside the main terminal. Eco Taxis (tel. 04/387-4000; www.ecotaxis.co.nz) have a fixed fare of NZ$20 into the city (for cash). If you use a credit card it will cost NZ$25.If you have any problems with your taxi driver, call Wellington Airport Operation (tel. 04/385-5124).
By Train & Coach (Bus)
Most long-distance trains depart from the Wellington Railway Station, on Waterloo Quay. For long-distance rail information, call tel. 0800/802-802 in New Zealand or 04/495-0775, or visit www.tranzscenic.co.nz. Most major hostels and hotels are within a short taxi ride of the station.
For coach information, call InterCity (tel. 09/623-1503; www.intercity.co.nz) or Newmans (tel. 09/623-1504; www.newmanscoach.co.nz). Both lines operate out of the railway station. Kiwi Experience (tel. 09/366-1665) and the Magic Travellers Network (tel. 09/358-5600) also stop in Wellington.
Wellington is reached via highways 1 and 2. It’s 195km (121 miles) from Wanganui (approx. 2 hr.); 460km (285 miles) from Rotorua (approx. 5 hr.); and 655km (406 miles) from Auckland (approx. 8 hr.). The motorway terminates right in the city.
For information on the Interislander Wellington-Picton ferry, call tel. 0800/802-802 or check www.interislander.co.nz. Be aware that there are two ferry operators working between Wellington and Picton. The three Interislander ferries operate all year and take 3 hours to cross the strait. Strait Shipping Ltd., Waterloo Quay (tel. 0800/844-844 in NZ; www.bluebridge.co.nz), operates Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferry, traveling between Picton and Wellington three times daily.. The Bluebridge trip is cheapest but it takes 3 hours 20 minutes. If you book either online you get the best fares—especially if you book well ahead. Cook Strait can be notoriously rough in bad weather, so if you get seasick, take your medication.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.