Hiring a car from Wellington airport

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Hiring a car from Wellington airport

Pick up your hire car at Wellington airport and explore New Zealand's capital, a boho treat surrounded by dramatic mountains and a perfect destination for hitting the open road.

60-second guide to Wellington airport

In its own head...

"We're the capital of New Zealand for a reason - Welly is the political, cultural and sporting epicentre of the country!"

...but more realistically

Yes, Wellington is a political and cultural hub, but it's also one of the world's most picturesque cities, flanked by green hills and set around a majestic harbour.

The vibe

It has a friendly, laid-back atmosphere.

The natives

With such a thriving arts scene, expect to see plenty of poets, musicians, writers and actors hanging out in the city's many cafes and bars.

The weather

Because of its position on the edge of the Cook Strait, Wellington is a gusty city. But while you might need to batten down the hatches in 'Windy Welly', the breezy nature of the place means there's virtually no air pollution.

The local speciality

There's a shoal of good fish and chip shops and Malaysian food is also popular. Expect to find superb but reasonably priced restaurants everywhere.

The celebrity

The actor Russell Crowe, the director of the Lord Of The Rings films Peter Jackson, and Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie from The Flight Of The Conchords are some of Wellington's most famous exports.

Did you know?

It has more cafes per head than New York.

They say...

"Locked in an age-old struggle for hip supremacy with Auckland, Welly prides itself on its cultural and artistic wealth." - Lonely Planet

5 to see in town...

1. Botanic Garden

Take a trip on the cable car and check out this lovely spot, which lays claim to more than 100 rose species and provides spectacular views of the city.

Where to park:

There's a public car park next to the Lady Norwood Rose Garden through the Centennial Entrance on Tinakori Road. Parking is also available along Glenmore Street.

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2. Wellington Zoo

Malayan sun bears, white-cheeked gibbons, red pandas and many more can be found at Wellington's fabulous zoo.

Where to park:

There's free on-site parking.

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3. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

This national museum on the waterfront runs excellent exhibitions about local art, nature and history.

Where to park:

There's an on-site car park.

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4. Karori Sanctuary

This area of forest and wetland just outside the city is home to more than 30 native bird species and can be explored on guided tours.

Where to park:

Use the on-site car park.

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5. New Zealand Film Archive

If the Lord Of The Rings films got you interested in kiwi cinema, visit the New Zealand Film Archive, which has a vast treasure trove of movies, videos and TV programmes from 1895 onwards.

Where to park:

There's parking on Taranaki Street.

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and 4 to drive to...

1. Kaitoke Regional Park

If you fancy taking a dip in a tranquil river pool, hiking down a bush trail or checking out the setting for the elven outpost of Rivendell in the Lord Of The Rings movies, this is the place to visit.

How to get there:

It's 45 minutes north of Wellington. Head to the Wellington Urban Motorway and after two-and-a-half miles take Hutt Road for three miles.

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2. Aorangi Forest Park

Two hours from Wellington, this lovely national reserve is home to spectacular natural attractions such as the Putangirua Pinnacles, an ancient and bizarre rock formation.

How to get there:

It's roughly an hour's drive. Head east on the Wellington Urban Motorway for three-and-a-half miles, then take Hutt Road for three miles and Western Hutt Road for nine miles. Follow River Road for six miles, State Highway 2 for 16 miles and State Highway 53 for six miles.

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3. Lake Wairarapa wetlands

If fishing, hunting or bird-watching are your thing, get yourself to these scenic wetlands on the banks of Lake Wairarapa.

How to get there:

Head east on the Wellington Urban Motorway. It's roughly an hour-and-a-quarter's drive.

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4. The Rimutaka Range

This rugged mountain range boasts some of the most dramatic views you'll ever see.

How to get there:

Head east on the Wellington Urban Motorway for two-and-a-half miles, take Hutt Road for three miles and the Esplanade for one mile, then drive in the direction of Wainuiomata and follow Coast Road for five-and-a-half miles.

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