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Wellington in a Rental Car

New Zealand's capital city is particularly well known for its fantastic local cafes and restaurants, and wealth of film experiences. Movie fans will find plenty to see and do in the city, as Wellington is home to the Weta studio which was central to the filming of the Lord of the Rings. If you are planning to explore this exciting city with a rental car, here is a guide to help you.

A quick guide to Wellington

  • Te Aro: Located in the centre of the city, visitors will find plenty to do in Te Aro. The region is home to interesting museums and a number of theatres.
  • Thorndon: Just north of the city centre, Thorndon is an important historical suburb that is also home to the city's parliament buildings.
  • Miramar: If you are in Wellington because of its importance in the film industry, Miramar is the suburb for you. The region was crucial to the production of the Lord of the Rings.
  • Newtown: A diverse neighbourhood that is full of unique eateries, located close to the city centre.
  • Karori: This picturesque suburb features a wildlife sanctuary and great views of the city and its surrounds.

Driving tips in Wellington

  • Traffic can be busy in Wellington during peak times. If you can, avoid driving or allow extra time for your trip during these periods.
  • Driving to the airport may take longer during peak periods, so allow extra time if you have to make a flight.
  • If you come across a stop sign, you are required to bring your vehicle to a complete stop before you check for oncoming traffic.
  • If you are visiting from another country, take note that in New Zealand you must keep to the left side of the road.
  • If the lights are flashing amber, please give way to other traffic. 
  • The speed limit on major highways linking Wellington to other New Zealand locations is generally 100km for cars.

Parking in Wellington

During weekdays, parking fees will apply for on-street parking around the city centre. On weekends and public holidays parking is not charged, but time restrictions will still apply.

You can pay for parking at the parking metres provided with coins or credit or debit cards. If you are parked illegally your vehicle may be towed.

Are there toll roads in Wellington?

There are no toll roads around Wellington. You will only encounter toll roads if you are travelling north, where there are three toll roads located around Auckland.

Driving distances

  • Wellington to Auckland: 8hrs
  • Wellington to Palmerston North: 2hrs
  • Wellington to Hastings: 4hrs

Returning your rental car

You will need to fill your rental car with fuel before you return it to the depot. Here are a few conveniently located petrol stations in and around Wellington.

  • BP - 15 Taranaki St, Wellington
  • Z - 174 Vivian St, Te Aro
  • Caltex - 28 Adelaide Rd, Mount Cook

Unmissable attractions in Wellington

Take the cable car up to the popular Kelburn Lookout for a great view over the city. Spend some time exploring the Botanic Gardens, within easy reach of the city centre. The Museum of New Zealand is also worth a visit, and is a great way to learn more about the history of New Zealand. 

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