Both domestic and international flights arrive in Wellington International Airport which lies about 8km southeast of the city centre. Getting to your accommodation is no problem. The Super Shuttle operates between the airport, the city centre and the main railway station from Monday to Friday and costs $5 per person. This runs between every thirty minutes and an hour between 7.15am and 5.45pm. There are also a number of private shuttle services in operation and while they are a little more expensive, they provide a door-to-door services which is usually really convenient. Alternatively, a taxi to the city centre will cost between $12 and $20 and you will find taxi stands outside the main terminal.
The main international airlines flying into Wellington are Air New Zealand, Qantas, British Airways, United Airlines, Polynesian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa. If you’re arriving on a domestic carrier, however, you will be flying with Air New Zealand, Ansett New Zealand, Air New Zealand Link or Soundsair Ltd. The main domestic carriers are the first two and both operate connections to numerous destinations throughout the country.
If you don’t fly directly to Wellington your other options are arrival by either bus or train. The main coach services serving the capital are InterCity or Newmans and both operate into and out of the railway station on Waterloo Quay which is only a short journey from all the city’s major hostels. Kiwi Experience and the Magic Travellers Network also stop in Wellington. Most long distance trains also arrive into this station and the main services to and from Wellington are between the capital and Auckland or Napier.
Once you arrive in Wellington, making your way around the city is extremely straightforward thanks to its excellent public transport system. Stagecoach, the local bus service, runs buses daily between 7.00am and 11.30pm and most leave from either beside the train station or from the main bus stop on Courtenay Place. For the best value when using this service it is recommended that you buy a Daytripper bus pass which gives you unlimited travel on both the Stagecoach and the City Circular for $5.
The City Circular is a new bus service which travels to the top ten spots every ten minutes. These include the Parliament buildings, Lambton Quay, the cable Car, Queen’s Wharf and Courtenay Place as well as several others. Costing $1 per circuit, this service operates between 7.30am and 6.00pm (9.00pm on Thursdays) from Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 6.00pm on Saturdays and between 9.50am and 6.00pm on Sundays and public holidays.
There is also an After Midnight Bus which operates three services from Courtenay Place and Dixon Street. These leave promptly at 1.00am, 2.00am and 3.00am and cost $3.
Tranz Metro is the electric suburban rail service which operates within the city as well as serving its outer suburbs. These trains run daily between 6.00am and 12.00am and leave from the Wellington train station serving four separate routes. If you do intend to use this service quite a bit during the day you should purchase a day pass for $15 which allows unlimited travel for two adults and two children.
Finally, you should also use the cable car at least once while you’re in Wellington although this probably won’t be for practical purposes. This travels between Lambton Quay and the Botanic Gardens and runs every ten minutes daily. A return ticket costs $2.50 and the views alone ensure that it’s money well spent.