Adventure from Wellington to Wairarapa
When we think of things to do in Wellington, adventure isn’t always the first word that comes to mind. But if you take a second look, this cool and quirky city offers an abundance of activities beyond the typical tick offs. Whether you’re up for a cycle, a dive, a paddle or a walk, these hidden pockets of adventure are sure to thrill thrill-seekers and get go-getters going.
Below are a few attractions that’ll take your breath away both figuratively and literally. So, have a read, make a plan, then hit the road. Adventure awaits…
Up for the action in Wellington?
Paddle the Harbour
You may have walked along the stunning Wellington waterfront, but have you ever paddled it? Ferg’s Kayaks is a short six-minute drive from the Wellington Ferry Terminal. They specialise in all kinds of adventure sports from kayaking and rock climbing to stand up paddle boarding, cycling and skating. And if you’re really lucky you may see stingrays, penguins or even a dolphin or two out on the water.
Diving day trip
Taputeranga Marine Reserve is 25 minutes away from the city centre, offering dive and snorkel enthusiasts an easy to access adventure under the sea. Dive the famous F69 Frigate shipwreck or get down with the distinct marine life. The reserve is set at the junction of three oceanic water bodies and currents, cultivating a variety of warm, cold and sub-Antarctic fauna and flora unique to Wellington. Whether you’re an experienced diver or prefer snorkelling on the surface, the Taputeranga Marine Reserve offers an aquatic view of Wellington unlike any you’ve seen before. For tours, courses or more information, Dive Wellington are the experts.
This stunning event facility is situated just 25 minutes from the Interislander Wellington Ferry Terminal on a 3000-acre farm. With its sweeping coastal views and the sound of crashing waves echoing throughout the hills, Boomrock is an idyllic backdrop for getting a group together and trying something new. If you’re after an adrenaline kick, ‘Experience the track’ is the ticket for you. The package includes hot laps around the race track, an off-road 4WD adventure over the hills, clay bird shooting and a round of Extreme Golf where the holes are set into the side of a cliff. Once you’re adventured out, enjoy a three-course meal prepared by Resident Chef, Mark Hartstonge.
While it’s primarily a private function facility, Boomrock offers daytime experiences, perfect for couples or small groups. Just check the ‘Events’ section on the Boomrock website to see what open events are on offer.
Up for a cycle?
Easy exploring without exhausting
Keen to explore the city without exhausting yourself? Hire an electric bike and make cycling Wellington a walk in the park. Take the hard work out of the hills and enjoy the panoramic views of the harbour and beautiful beaches of Oriental Bay. Switched On Bikes even offer guided tours so you can soak in the scenery while learning a thing or two about our gorgeous capital.
Bike or drive to Palliser Lighthouse
The two-day cycle around Cape Palliser is not for the faint-hearted. The ride starts and ends in Martinborough, taking cyclists along the rugged and sublime coastline of the Wairarapa. Passing seal colonies and dramatic ‘end of the earth’ views along the way, this trail will challenge and amaze all riders. The region is isolated with no houses or cell phone reception in parts, making it a particularly self-sufficient but rewarding journey. This adventure involves a night camping out, so be sure to plan your trip before you go. If the 140KM ride is a bit much, the drive out there lets you soak in the stark beauty of the area from the comfort of your car.
Bike the Remutaka Cycle Trail
If you want a scenic adventure with a variety of views and picnic spots, Remutaka Cycle trail is sure to capture all hearts. You can choose your own adventure, depending on how much of the trail you want to ride. With a dynamic mixture of terrains, through bushlands, sacred wetlands, railroad tunnels, open countryside and weathered coastline, the Remutaka Cycle trail envelops cyclists in nature’s wonders throughout the whole journey. If you want to experience the allure of wider Wellington beyond the city, plan your two to four-day cycle here.
Up for a walk?
The Putangirua Pinnacles
The Putangirua Pinnacles provided an epic backdrop for the eerie Dimholt Road scenes in the Lord of the Rings films, but they appear even more epic in person. The beginning of the walk is just a 1 hour 40 drive from the Wellington Ferry Terminal, and at two-four hours return, this walk is an adventurer’s ideal day trip. Make sure you plan your journey before setting out, to make the most of this enchanting hike. This walk takes trekkers through the Aorangi Forest Park, showcasing New Zealand’s unique geology with the magnificent earth pillars looming like giants above the reserve.
As one of the highest vantage points in Wellington, the easy walk up Hawkins Hill offers your average walker an impressive view of the whole city. Starting at the Brooklyn Hill wind turbine and taking walkers past the iconic Wellington castle and the dome-shaped radar station, this gentle hill climb is perfect for taking the kids, with plenty to marvel at along the way. This is one of the best free things to do in Wellington, and it’s close to the city centre. So, if you’re up for a little adventure rather than a big one, then walking up Hawkins Hill is just the activity to make you feel like you’re out of the city— while towering above it.
This windy walkway is a remarkable and historical 6-kilometre loop located just 30 minutes from the city centre, clocking in at between 3-4 hours to complete. Take in the panoramic coast and the impressive wind turbine farm, before returning to the solitary yet dazzling Makara beach for a swim. From the Ngāti Ira pā site on the western bluff, to the gun placements marking Fort Opau built in WW2, the trail is steeped in history after being trekked by both soldiers and Maori. It may pay to learn a bit about the area before setting off.
Up for the scenery?
Tea with the Seals
Some of Wellington’s most lively locals are of the furry variety. Meet the seaside dwelling mammals who call the rugged coastline their home. The Seal Coast Safari takes trippers on a tour past Brooklyn Hill Wind Turbine and through farmland where you may encounter goats, deer and maybe even an ostrich. All followed by morning or afternoon tea on the coast with our slippery friends the seals from a gorgeous spot with a view of the famous Leaning Lighthouse.
A day at Days Bay
Just a 20-minute drive or ferry from Queens Wharf is the quaint and picturesque Days Bay. Perfect for day-trippers, this small community offers plenty for picnickers and water enthusiasts alike. The Boatshed has your gear hire sorted, from kayaks and stand-up paddleboards to E-bikes. And for the more leisurely adventurers, there’s the historic restaurant Days Bay Pavilion, built in 1897. Enjoy a wood-fired pizza or if it’s a hot day at the beach cool down with an ice-cream.
Adventure for all in Wellington
From diving and kayaking the waters of Wellington, to cycling, racing and trekking the rugged coast and countryside, there’s an activity to suit every adventurer's intrepid needs. Travelling with Interislander means you’ll be able to kick back and relax on the way to and from your adventure. With licenced cafes, plenty of food, private cabins and the option to upgrade to the plus lounge you'll be more relaxed than when you left.