If you’re serious about exploring New Zealand’s North Island, at one point or another, you’ll need to figure out where to stay in Wellington. The capital of New Zealand is one of the country’s most diverse & exciting cities, well-known for its emerging culinary scene and its burgeoning film industry—as its nickname of “Wellywood” hints.
Many of the best hotels in Wellington are located in the Wellington CBD and near Lambton Quay. They’re the perfect place to start your search. If you’re looking for a more relaxed experience for your Wellington itinerary though, there’s a wide variety of other great areas to stay in Wellington spread throughout its sprawling hilly seaside landscape.
Ready to get your Wellington accommodation search started? Check out this complete guide to the best places to stay in Wellington, New Zealand, including the top hotels, areas, and neighbourhoods for travellers…
Best places to stay in Wellington
Throughout its diverse areas & neighbourhoods, Wellington offers an interesting blend of the modern & historical. Roaming around Wellington, you’ll discover an array of world-class museums, art galleries, impressive colonial architecture, and a melange of hip & trendy restaurants, bars & cafés.
The most popular neighbourhoods to stay in Wellington for short-term visitors emanate from the central business district (CBD). Within the areas in & around Wellington CBD, you’ll find the city’s best selection of hotels, guesthouses, hostels, and other places to stay including apartments and homestays.
The best areas to stay in Wellington include:
Wellington CBD✔ Best area to stay in Wellington for first-time visitors
If you’re looking to spend your days enjoying everything the Wellington city centre has to offer, stay in Wellington CBD.
Wellington’s Central Business District is the heart of the city. It’s home, not just to many of the top tourist attractions in Wellington, but to some of the best hotels in Wellington.
Wandering around Wellington CBD, you’ll never get bored. If you’re looking to learn more about New Zealand, pop into the six-storey Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. It offers an intimate look at the history of Aotearoa, the Maori name for New Zealand, through the lens of its indigenous Maori people.
Not far from the Wellington CBD, ride the Wellington Cable Car to catch a view over the city and explore the Wellington Botanic Gardens. To get in even better touch with nature, head from the city centre through the neighbourhood of Kelburn to the Zealandia Ecosanctuary.
Elsewhere in the Wellington city centre, you’ll find a wide selection of culinary delights, nightlife, shopping experiences, and even wildlife adventures.
As you’d expect, accommodation prices in Wellington CBD are higher than in other areas outside of the centre. There’s a wide selection, however, that sprawls everything from lower mid-range hotels to some of the best luxury hotels in Wellington. For true budget hotels & hostels, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
- Wellesley Boutique Hotel: Among the more budget-friendly options in the CBD’s mid-range, this lovely 4-star boutique hotel is located less than a block from Queen’s Wharf and the Lambton Quay shopping area. The lodgings here are quite unique, showcasing Georgian furnishings for a rustic historic vibe.
- Novotel Wellington: While many of its rooms fall towards the upper end of the mid-range, reserve well ahead and you should have no problem getting a great deal at this modern hotel. You’ll love the bright & spacious rooms here, featuring excellent city views through wide picture windows.
- Park Hotel Lambton Quay: With its wood-grain feature walls and clean design lines, this mid-range hotel is built for relaxation & comfort. The location, 200 metres from the cable car station and close to excellent restaurants & boutique shops, is fantastic, too.
- Rydges Wellington Hotel: Featuring spacious rooms with sweeping harbour & city views, this 4-star hotel is favourite for first-time visitors. If you reserve a room here, be sure to pop into the hotel’s award-winning grill-house, Portlander Bar & Grill, for some prime local New Zealand culinary delights.
- Sofitel Wellington: The most elegant luxury hotel in Wellington, this 5-star sizzles with hip vintage style and dramatic views over the surrounding hillside. Luxurious in-room extras like BOSE sound systems and rain shower heads add to the sophistication.
- Bolton Hotel: Looking out your window at the relaxing hillside greenery at this boutique 5-star hotel you’d never guess that you’re staying in the heart of New Zealand’s capital. The spacious suites & studios here are cultured, classy, and comfortable. There’s a great set of amenities, too, including a fitness centre, spa pool, and in-house restaurant serving local New Zealand favourites.
Lambton Quay✔ Best area to stay in Wellington for historical sightseeing & business travellers
Running through the heart of Wellington’s financial district in the northern end of the CBD, Lambton Quay has long been one of the city’s most important commercial thoroughfares.
Dating back to the city’s founding in 1840, the area around Lambton Quay offers a ton of great historical sightseeing opportunities for visitors.
Nearby, you can scoot up the good-ol’ Wellington Cable Car for superb city views and to check out the Wellington Botanic Gardens and Space Place at Carter Observatory. Old St. Paul’s, Wellington Museum, and the New Zealand Parliament Buildings are also within walking distance.
Many of the best hotels around Lambton Quay are within the mid-range and luxury segments of the Wellington accommodation market.
Lambton Quay is the perfect place to stay in Wellington for business travellers and visitors willing to spend a little more for a great hotel close to the best Wellington offers. For travelling on a budget, however, you’ll need to move your search to other areas further outside the city centre.
- Quest Wellington Serviced Apartments: While there’s little in the way of true budget in the Lambton Quay area, these apartments might do the trick. The units here are spacious and offer excellent value for the money.
- Doubletree by Hilton Wellington: Located across the street from the lower cable car station and less than half a kilometre from the waterfront, this mid-range hotel is perfectly situated to make your Wellington adventure legendary. You’ll love the super stylish rooms here, especially the modern bathrooms equipped with rain shower heads.
- CityLife Wellington: Offering trendy studios and 1- to 2-bedrooms apartments on Lambton Quay, this 4-star hotel delights guests will both its location and its spacious, stylish accommodations. The Wellington Cable Car is a 1-minute walk from the hotel and some of Wellington’s best shopping is just steps away.
- InterContinental Wellington: Perfectly betwixt Lambton Quay and Wellington Harbour, this blissful 5-star hotel is one of the best luxury hotels in Wellington. Aside from its delightful modern rooms, the hotel offers a swath of luxurious amenities for its guests including a heated indoor pool, spa, sauna, and massage treatments at Emerge Health Club. There’s also a few eating & drinking options including the award-winning Chamelon Restaurant and the Two Grey Bar & Brasserie.
Courtenay Place✔ Best area to stay in Wellington for foodies & nightlife
Located in the northern part of Te Aro two blocks from the waterfront, Courtenay Place is one of central Wellington’s most well-known stretches and a top destination in the city for eating, drinking, and entertainment.
The neighbourhood around Courtenay Place is home to a wide selection of restaurants, pubs, and bars. Many of the establishments stay open until the wee hours of the morning, making this district the perfect place to stay for experiencing the Wellington nightlife scene to its fullest.
Most of the accommodations around Courtenay Place fall straddle the budget and mid-range end of the market. For 5-star hotels, you’ll need to look to other areas of the CBD.
- YHA Wellington: For budget accommodation in Wellington, you can’t go wrong with this clean & central award-winning hostel. Both shared dorms and budget-friendly private rooms with private bathrooms are available to guests.
- The Marion Hostel: If staying within budget without sacrificing location is your main concern, look no further than this bargain hostel. You absolutely love relaxing to great city views on the rooftop terrace after a long day of sightseeing.
- Oaks Wellington Hotel: Offering everything from single rooms to two-bedroom apartments, this modern mid-range hotel is a superb pick for your Welly visit. Extras include a fitness centre, parking, on-site restaurant, and bar.
- Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel: Whether you’re in the mood for a budget-friendly studio or luxurious three-bedroom penthouse suite, this Courtenay Place favourite will have your needs covered. Upgrade to a superior suite for a private balcony with breathtaking views over the city.
- QT Wellington: Located along the waterfront two blocks from Courtenay Place, this mid-range luxury hotel is a fantastic choice for squeezing the most out of the area. Decorated in dark rich colours and featuring elegant decor, the rooms & suites are bound to turn some heads. There’s a whole menu of luxurious amenities, too, including an indoor swimming pool, spa pool, sauna, day spa, and fitness centre.
- U Residence Hotel: For a little more space on your stay in Wellington, lay your head down a suite or apartment at this lovely aparthotel. The suites here come equipped with a balcony, laundry facilities, and a kitchen (or kitchenette) for self-catering. Other amenities include free WiFi and a fitness centre.
Te Aro✔ Best neighbourhood to stay in Wellington for foodies
Stretching south of Wellington Harbour through to the edge of the city centre, the Te Aro district is among the city’s most interesting quarters. The area is home to Wellington’s most famous attraction, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, as well as Cuba Street, a popular food & drink and shopping hotspot.
While staying in Te Aro will suit just about anyone visiting Wellington, it’s a particularly great destination for foodies. This lively area—particularly around Cuba Street, Dixon Street, Manners Street, and Courtenay Place—teems with amazing restaurants, bistros, and brasseries. You’ll find just about everything here from craft beer & cocktails to delicious Mexican food or Southeast Asian delights.
Closer to the harbourfront, you can enjoy yummy street eats from a food truck at the Harbourside Market or pack a lunch and grab a picnic with seaviews at the popular waterfront Waitangi Park.
If you’ve got even a passing interest in New Zealand’s history, be sure to carve out time for Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. This national museum is among the country’s most enlightening, featuring interactive exhibits on New Zealand’s colonial history and on Maori culture.
While there are hotels to suit every travel budget in Te Aro, you may find a better selection of high-quality options available at similar prices further north in the central business district.
- U Boutique Hotel: Located 5 minutes from the lovely Wellington waterfront, this stylish boutique hotel offers everything from budget accommodations with shared facilities to private suites & apartments.
- Capital View Motor Inn: Perched on the edge of Te Aro, these lodgings are a superb choice for enjoying a self-catering stay in New Zealand’s capital without breaking the bank. The restaurants & bars of Cuba Street are just 5 minutes away by foot.
- Mercure Wellington Abel Tasman Hotel: Sitting near the midpoint between Lambton Quay, Courtenay Place, and Wellington Harbour, this pleasant hotel is good choice for squeezing the most out of your visit. Most reservations include free breakfast.
- Mercure Wellington Central City Hotel & Apartments: For a little extra space on your visit, book yourself into one of the comfortable studios or apartments at this mid-range property. Select suites have private balconies with beautiful harbour views.
- Grand Mercure Wellington: The top luxury hotel in the Te Aro area, this beautiful property soothes with rich & earthy tones that fuse seamlessly with both the greenery and the urban scenery nearby. You’ll love the luxurious extras including a indoor heated lap pool, sauna, fitness centre, and classy on-site restaurant.
Oriental Bay✔ Best neighbourhood to stay in Wellington for seaside pleasures
If you’re looking to enjoy Wellington’s seaside location to its fullest, grab a room near Oriental Bay. There’s only a handful of accommodation options in the Oriental Bay area, but if hanging out along the harbour is high on your agenda, this is the neighbourhood to do it!
Aside from hanging out on its popular Freyberg Beach, Oriental Bay is a great place to stay for hikers. The area is hemmed into the harbourfront by Mount Victoria. Hop onto one of several popular Wellington hiking trails to the Mount Victoria Lookout from the bayfront to dazzle at spectacular vistas over the city and the water.
- B and B on Hay Street: Located a block from the beach, this small budget-friendly bed and breakfast is perfectly situated to take full advantage of Wellington’s seaside delights. You’ll absolute love spending time relaxing on the terrace with views over the harbour.
- Copthorne Hotel Oriental Bay: If staying close to the water is high on your wishlist, give this harbourfront mid-range hotel a try. The lodgings are modern & comfortable and offer access to the balcony for beautiful vistas over Wellington Harbour.
- Ohtel: The most elegant of all the hotels near Oriental Bay, this superb boutique hotel offers a chic urban style blended with earthy tones & decor reminiscent of New Zealand’s natural beauty. Freyberg Beach and Wellington’s entertainment district are both within quick walking distance.
Other areas to stay in Wellington
- Mount Victoria: Named after its namesake mountain, the Mount Victoria neighbourhood is leafy residential area just steps away from the centre of the city. The area is a fantastic destination for hikers and is most famous for setting the backdrop of the Hobbiton Woods in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
- Kelburn: Another great spot for hiking in Wellington, Kelburn is a green suburb hemmed in by the Zealandia Ecosanctuary and the Wellington Botanic Garden. The quiet & green neighbourhood is among Wellington’s most expensive and most coveted places to live.
- Miramar: Located southeast of central Wellington, Miramar offers a laid-back beach town vibe thanks to the beautiful coastline of the Miramar Peninsula surrounding it. The neighbourhood is home to the Weta Workshop, the movie studio that Peter Jackson used to bring us The Lord of the Rings. The suburb is also a good choice for travellers with a quick stopover as Wellington International Airport is close by.
- Lower Hutt: A city unto its own, Lower Hutt is located on the northern end of Wellington Harbour about 15 minutes from the centre of the capital. It’s a good option if you’re looking to save money on your accommodations and are less concerned about location.