After spending time doing all the things, it’s time to plan where to go after Wellington.

You’ll probably have a plan of sorts already, but it never hurts to check your options right?

This post will cover six places to consider. Two in the South Island and four in the north. For each place, I’ll tell you why you should visit the place, how to get there, and a few activities to do while you’re in the area.

6 PLACES TO GO AFTER WELLINGTON

1. Kapiti Coast

waikanae beach sunset

Why?

The Kapiti Coast is one of New Zealand’s hidden beauties. Here you’ll find sandy beaches, quiet suburbs, and epic sunsets. There are elements of old and new here, from trendy cafes to old school baches. This will give you a sample of the suburban life, where people say hello to one another on the streets and people often walk around in bare feet.

Three things to do there

Visit Kapiti Island, visit the olde bakery, and watch the sunset from the beach.

How to get there

You can reach the Kapiti Coast via train or make the 40-60 minute drive from Wellington. Intercity bus services also stop in Waikanae and Paraparaumu.

2. Wairarapa

cape palliser lighthouse

Why?

The Wellington weather regularly serves up all four seasons in one day. But less than two hours away is Martinborough, the place to go to for world-class pinot noir. But asides from the wine, the weather here is settled and comparatively warm which is nice.

Three things to do there

Wine tasting in Wairarapa, see the seals near Cape Palliser and visit the Putangirua Pinnacles, a LOTR filming location (more activities here).

How to get there

While you can do a full day tour of the Wairarapa region, it’s best to drive the one hour to the region. Alternatively, you can catch the train from Wellington Train Station to the Wairarapa.

3. Napier

napier garden

Why?

Personally, I’m not a massive fan of Napier but I know plenty of people who love it! The town itself is known for its art deco buildings and sits right on the east coast with epic sunrises there for you. As Napier is located in Hawkes Bay, you’re also in one of the most

Three things to do there

Explore the art deco buildings, visit some of the wineries in the region, and walk along Cape Kidnappers.

How to get there

You can fly from Wellington to Napier, catch the Intercity bus (5-6 hours), or drive yourself (4-5 hours).

4. National Park

tongariro cross is a place to go after wellington

Why

National Park is the name of a small town that is one of the gateways to the Tongariro Crossing and Mount Doom. It’s a small town thriving off tourism, but it’s got a couple of nice pubs and has managed to somehow keep its small-town feels thus far. Located on the central plateau, this environment is totally different

Three things to do there

Hiking Tongariro Crossing is a must (not great in winter), and in the winter you’ve got ski-fields galore. And for something with a twist, give paddle boarding a go in one of the lakes.

How to get there

You can catch the Intercity bus which is just under 6 hours. If you’re driving you’ll be there in less than 5 hours. Flying there from Wellington isn’t really practical.

5. Picton

start of the snout track

Why

Picton is the gateway to the South Island for the thousands of people who are travelling from the North to South down the country. Picton isn’t a large town, and honestly, if there’s a cruise ship there on the day you arrive, avoid the place. The town has some great cafes, and the journey on the ferry there will give you a nice little taste of what’s to come as you enter the sounds.

Three things to do there

Cycle a section (or the full) Queen Charlotte Track, go for a walk along the Snout or Tirohanga Track, or go straight to Blenheim which is the base for wine tasting in the Marlborough Sounds (there’s a lot of wine in this list).

How to get there

Your only option really is to catch the ferry which is 3-4 hours. You could swim if you really wanted? (don’t)

6. Nelson

nelson sunsets

Why

It’s one of the sunniest places in NZ and it’s a popular weekend destination for Wellingtonians too! That doesn’t guarantee you’ll get sunny when you’re there. When I was housesitting in Nelson, I saw a lot of rain in my 10 daysin the middle of Summer. It’s a mini Wellington to me, with some cool eateries trying new things (they have a vegetarian butcher), and craft beer spots in addition to being on the water and boarded by green hills. It’s also the gateway to one of NZ’s favourite National Parks, Abel Tasman.

Three things to do there

Spend the day at Tahunanui Beach, tour the Pic’s Peanut Butter Factory and head to the