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. Wellington is well-known for its emerging culinary scene. It’s also famous for 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 places to start your search.
Looking for a more relaxed experience for your Wellington itinerary? There are plenty of other great areas to stay in Wellington spread throughout its hilly seaside landscape.
Ready to get your Wellington accommodation search started? Discover the top hotels, areas, and neighbourhoods with this complete guide to the best places to stay in Wellington, New Zealand…
Best places to stay in Wellington
Wellington is home to a variety of diverse areas & neighbourhoods. Within them, the Kiwi capital surge forth an interesting blend of modern & historical.
Roaming around Wellington, you’ll discover an array of world-class museums and art galleries. Mixed in among the city’s colonial architecture, you’ll also sniff out a melange of hip & trendy restaurants, bars & cafés.
The most popular neighbourhoods to stay in Wellington emanate from the central business district (CBD). Short-term visitors should start their Wellington accommodation search here.
Within the areas in & around Wellington CBD, lies the city’s best hotels, guesthouses, and hostels. You’ll also find plenty of “non-traditional” places to stay including apartments & homestays.
The best areas to stay in Wellington include:
Wellington CBD✔ Best area to stay in Wellington for first-time visitors
Want to spend your days enjoying everything the Wellington city centre offers? Stay in Wellington CBD.
Wellington’s Central Business District is the heart of the city. It’s home to many of the top tourist attractions in Wellington and the best hotels in Wellington.
Wandering around Wellington CBD, you’ll never get bored. 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. The exhibits teach through the lens of its indigenous Maori people.
Not far from here, you can ride the Wellington Cable Car. On a top, you’ll be able to catch views over the city and explore Wellington Botanic Gardens. To get in even better touch with nature, head to the Zealandia Ecosanctuary. It’s located in the neighbourhood of Kelburn, minutes from the city centre.
Elsewhere in the Wellington city centre, an array of interesting things to do await. Enjoy culinary delights, nightlife, shopping experiences, and even wildlife adventures.
As you’d expect, accommodation prices in the area are higher than in areas outside of the centre. There’s a wide selection, however. It ranges between lower mid-range hotels to the best luxury hotels in Wellington. For budget hotels & hostels, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
- Wellesley Boutique Hotel: This lovely 4-star boutique hotel is among the most budget-friendly options in the CBD’s mid-range. It’s located less than a block from Queen’s Wharf and the Lambton Quay shopping area. The lodgings here are unique. Rooms showcase Georgian furnishings and radiate a rustic historic vibe.
- Novotel Wellington: Rooms at this modern hotel fall towards the upper end of the mid-range. Reserve well ahead though and you should have no problem getting a great deal. You’ll love the bright & spacious rooms. Excellent city views through wide picture windows come standard.
- Park Hotel Lambton Quay: This mid-range hotel is built for relaxation and comfort. It charms guests with wood-grain feature walls and clean design lines. The location is great, too. It’s 200 metres from the cable car station. Plenty of excellent restaurants & boutique shops also await nearby.
- Rydges Wellington Hotel: This 4-star hotel is a favourite for first-time visitors to Wellington. It features spacious rooms with sweeping harbour & city views. If you reserve a room here, pop into the hotel’s award-winning grill-house, The Portlander Bar & Grill. The restaurant serves up prime local New Zealand culinary delights.
- Sofitel Wellington: This 5-star is the most elegant luxury hotel in Wellington. It 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: Stare 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. They include a fitness centre and spa pool. You’ll also get to enjoy an in-house restaurant serving local New Zealand favourites.
Lambton Quay✔ Best area to stay in Wellington for historical sightseeing & business travellers
Lambton Quay runs through the heart of Wellington’s financial district. It’s located at the northern end of the CBD. Lambton Quay has long been one of the city’s most important commercial avenues.
The area around Lambton Quay dates back to the city’s founding in 1840. Visitors can enjoy a ton of historical sightseeing opportunities in the neighbourhood.
Nearby, you can scoot up the good-ol’ Wellington Cable Car. At the top, you’ll marvel at the superb Wellington city views. Continue your day with a relaxing stroll though the lovely Wellington Botanic Gardens. Astronomy geeks can marvel at the sky at Space Place at Carter Observatory.
Back down below, Old St. Paul’s, Wellington Museum, and the New Zealand Parliament Buildings are within walking distance.
The best hotels around Lambton Quay fall within the mid-range and luxury end of the Wellington accommodation market.
For business travellers, Lambton Quay is the perfect place to stay in Wellington. It’s also a fantastic choice for visitors willing to spend more for a great hotel close to the best the city offers.
For travelling on a budget, however, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Move your search to areas outside the city centre for more budget-friendly choices.
- Quest Wellington Serviced Apartments: There’s little in the way of true budget accommodations 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: This mid-range hotel is located across the street from the lower cable car station. It’s also less than half a kilometre from the waterfront. The hotel is perfectly situated to make your Wellington adventure legendary. You’ll love the super stylish rooms here. The modern bathrooms equipped with rain shower heads are especially beguiling.
- CityLife Wellington: This 4-star hotel offers trendy studios & 1- to 2-bedrooms apartments on Lambton Quay. It delights guests with both its location and its spacious, stylish accommodations. The Wellington Cable Car is a 1-minute walk from the hotel. Wellington’s best shopping is also steps away.
- InterContinental Wellington: This blissful 5-star hotel sits betwixt Lambton Quay and Wellington Harbour. It’s one of the best luxury hotels in Wellington. Aside from its delightful modern rooms, the hotel offers a swath of luxurious amenities for guests. Extras include a heated indoor pool, spa, and sauna. You can also indulge in massage treatments at Emerge Health Club. For foodies, a couple excellent eating & drinking options await. Enjoy a meal at the award-winning Chamelon Restaurant. Or relax with a evening cocktail at the Two Grey Bar & Brasserie.
Courtenay Place✔ Best area to stay in Wellington for foodies & nightlife
Courtenay Place is one of central Wellington’s most well-known stretches. It’s located in the northern part of Te Aro, two blocks from the waterfront. Courtenay Place is a top destination in Wellington 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. The district is the perfect place to stay to experience Wellington nightlife to its fullest.
Most accommodations around Courtenay Place straddle the budget to mid-range. 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 & budget-friendly private rooms with private bathrooms are available to guests.
- The Marion Hostel: Want to stay within budget without sacrificing location? Look no further than this bargain hostel. You love relaxing to amazing city views on the rooftop terrace after a long day of sightseeing.
- Oaks Wellington Hotel: This modern mid-range hotel offers everything from single rooms to two-bedroom apartments. It’s a superb pick for your Welly visit. Extras include a fitness centre, parking, on-site restaurant, and bar.
- Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel: In the mood for a budget-friendly studio? Or maybe a luxurious three-bedroom penthouse suite? Either way, this Courtenay Place favourite has you covered. Upgrade to a superior suite for a private balcony with breathtaking views over the city.
- QT Wellington: This mid-range luxury hotel sits along the waterfront two blocks from Courtenay Place. It’s a fantastic choice for squeezing the most out of the area. The rooms & suites are decorated in dark rich colours and feature elegant decor. They’re bound to turn heads. There’s a whole menu of luxurious amenities, too. Relax at the indoor swimming pool, spa pool, sauna, or day spa. To stay active, there’s also a fitness centre here.
- U Residence Hotel: Need a little more space? Lay your head down in 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
Te Aro stretches south of Wellington Harbour to the edge of the city centre. The district is among the city’s most interesting quarters. The area is home to Wellington’s most famous attraction, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum. In Te Aro, you’ll also find Cuba Street, a popular food & drink and shopping hotspot.
Staying in Te Aro will suit most travellers visiting Wellington. It’s a particularly great destination for foodies. This lively area teems with amazing restaurants, bistros, and brasseries. Most are concentrated around Cuba Street, Dixon Street, Manners Street, and Courtenay Place. You’ll get to indugle in everything from craft beer & cocktails to delicious Mexican food or Southeast Asian delights.
Closer to the harbourfront, 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.
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. It features interactive exhibits on New Zealand’s colonial history and on Maori culture.
There are hotels to suit every travel budget in Te Aro. You may find a better selection of high-quality options at similar prices in the central business district though.
- U Boutique Hotel: This stylish boutique hotel is located five minutes from the lovely Wellington waterfront. It offers everything from budget accommodations with shared facilities to private suites & apartments.
- Capital View Motor Inn: These lodgings are perched on the edge of Te Aro. They’re a superb choice for enjoying a self-catering stay in New Zealand’s capital. All without breaking the bank. The restaurants & bars of Cuba Street are five minutes away by foot.
- Mercure Wellington Abel Tasman Hotel: This pleasant hotel helps you squeeze the most out of your Wellington visit. It sits near the midpoints between Lambton Quay, Courtenay Place, and Wellington Harbour. Most reservations include free breakfast.
- Mercure Wellington Central City Hotel & Apartments: Need a little extra space on your visit? Book yourself into one of the comfortable studios or apartments here. Select suites at this mid-range property have private balconies with beautiful harbour views.
- Grand Mercure Wellington: This beautiful property is the top luxury hotel in the Te Aro area. The Grand Mercure Wellington soothes with rich & earthy tones that fuse with the area’s greenery & urban scenery. You’ll love the luxurious extras here. They include an indoor heated lap pool, sauna and fitness centre. Grab a meal at the classy on-site restaurant for quiet night in.
Oriental Bay✔ Best neighbourhood to stay in Wellington for seaside pleasures
Want 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 roaming 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. At the summit, you’ll dazzle at spectacular vistas over the city and the water.
- B and B on Hay Street: This small budget-friendly bed and breakfast is a block from the beach. It’s perfectly situated to take full advantage of Wellington’s seaside delights. You’ll love spending time on the terrace relaxing to 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. They offer access to a balcony that unleashes beautiful vistas over Wellington Harbour.
- Ohtel: This boutique hotel is the most elegant of all the hotels near Oriental Bay. It 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: The Mount Victoria neighbourhood is a leafy residential area named after its namesake mountain. It’s steps away from the centre of the city. The Mount Victoria area is a fantastic destination for hikers. It’s most famous though for setting the backdrop to the Hobbiton Woods in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
- Kelburn: The green suburb of Kelburn is another great spot for hiking. Kelburn is 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. It’s surrounded by the beautiful coastline of the Miramar Peninsula. The neighbourhood is home to the Weta Workshop, Peter Jackson’s movie studio. The workshop is a must-visit destination for fans of The Lord of the Rings. The suburb is also a good choice for travellers with a quick stopover in New Zealand’s capital. Wellington International Airport is close by.
- Lower Hutt: A city unto its own, Lower Hutt sits on the northern end of Wellington Harbour. It’s about 15 minutes from the centre of the capital. Lower Hutt is a good option if you’re looking to save money on your accommodations and are less concerned about location.