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Big Savings On Car Hire At Wellington Ferry Terminal
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Renting a Car at the Wellington Ferry Terminal
Many visitors to New Zealand start their tour of the country in the beautiful South Island and progressively make their way northwards.
Most people choose to take the ferry because Cook Strait is one of the most spectacular ferry crossings in the world. The first part of the journey through the beautiful Marlborough Sounds is breath-taking.
If you have a car you can take it across to Wellington on the ferry. This is really convenient — on arrival in Wellington you simply drive off the ferry and head on your way.
But taking a car on the ferry can get quite expensive. The cost depends on the size of your vehicle. A one-way trip for a car, including the driver, is between $175-$255. Campervans can cost up to $405. Then there's the cost of tickets for passengers. Yikes!
There's an alternative option which will save you money. And that's not to take your rental car on the ferry. Instead, drop off your South Island rental car in Picton before boarding the ferry. Then on arrival at the Wellington Ferry Terminal collect a new rental car for your North Island travels.
Obviously, this is not as convenient because it involves unpacking and repacking your car — something that is a hassle if you're travelling with lots of gear or kids.
If this option does suit you then we have a range of different car rental brands you can rent from the Wellington Ferry Terminal. But be aware that these book out months in advance, so early bookings are absolutely essential.
Car Rental Brands
There's a range of car hire companies operating at the Wellington Ferry Terminal. You'll find them here and can easily compare their best deals in one place. This means you don't have waste time trawling the Internet looking for options. Or have to pay exorbitant walk-up prices at the rental counter.
To maximise your savings it's a good idea to book your car early, especially for travel during peak periods when rental vehicle availability can be extremely limited. Just put your travel details into the Search box at the top of the page to instantly compare a huge choice of vehicles at the very best prices.
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Attractions around Wellington
A rental car gives you the freedom and flexibility to make the most of your time exploring Wellington and surrounding areas. Here are a few of the many attractions around Wellington you might like to consider checking out. For more ideas, check out the official Wellington Tourism website....
Te Papa Museum
Te Papa is New Zealand’s national museum and it is hailed worldwide as a leader in its field. Given its visionary approach to preserving and displaying culture, art, history and science, it’s no surprise that Te Papa is the most visited museum in all of Australasia. It’s even had the Lonely Planet stamp of approval.
Its various galleries offer a glimpse through the city’s past, from classic Maori legends and tales, to the Cook Strait disaster.
New Zealand's geology and natural environment are explained in Blood Earth Fire, a journey through the years and the ever-shifting landscape.
Wellington is famed for its quakes and an underground space at Te Papa offers a look at how the building itself is shockproofed. Meanwhile, in Mountains to Sea, our flora and fauna are celebrated in more fine detail. Thousands of native animals (from the tiniest birds and insects through to giant sharks and whales) and plants, from all habitats — alpine, bush, freshwater, coastal, open ocean, and deep sea — are all represented here.
New Zealand’s diverse peoples are represented in exhibitions about Pacific peoples past and present, stories from young refugees, and all other types of migrants. A marae (Maori meeting house) offers another glimpse of our identity and emphasises contemporary Māori art and design.
Best of all it’s free to visit Te Papa, aside from certain special exhibitions. You can’t miss it, either — the museum enjoys a prime position on Wellington’s beautiful waterfront, just minutes from Wellington Ferry Terminal rental car depots.
Wellington Cable Car
The first stop on any Wellington itinerary should be a ride on the iconic red cable car. This historic carriage is one of the top tourist attractions in town, and for good reason! It travels from downtown Wellington up Kelburn Hill, past the buildings of the Terrace and Victoria University, up to the Wellington Botanic Garden — a magnificent site boasting epic views over both the cityscape and the harbour. Beyond the central business district, keep an eye out for Mt Victoria, or spot the Hutt Valley and Eastbourne further afield.
Within the garden’s lush grounds lie orchids and roses, waterfalls and shady trees. See the duck pond, sundial and award-winning rose garden (which has more than 3,000 blooms, and is at its best in November and December). Along with the bush, forest and floral displays, there’s a creative sculpture trail featuring works by top New Zealand artists.
You may as well stop and see the Cable Car Museum while you're up here. It’s in the original winding house, complete with the old winding mechanism (still in working order, no less), for the classic grip car system. Part of the museum experience is sitting in one of the old ‘rattlers’ and watching films about the evolution of the cable car system.
The lookout also happens to be near Carter Observatory and its digital planetarium, Space Place. Learn about the southern skies, ancient Polynesian navigation methods, Matariki (the Maori new year) and the Maori story of creation, all through multimedia exhibitions. There are chances for kids (and big kids) to get hands-on, launching a rocket, travelling through a black hole, touching space rocks and seeing what it’s like to really live and work in outer space.
The restored Wellington cable car departs every 10 minutes from Lambton Quay — you can’t miss it! Return trips are an option, or otherwise you may like to stroll back down through the botanic gardens and via Bolton St Cemetery down towards Parliament.
Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, in terms of culture as well as civics, and it’s the heart of the government. For those interested in the machinations of democracy, visiting Parliament is a chance to see what happens when the House sits and see how the lawmaking process operates.
The parliamentary complex is located in the old suburb of Thorndon and it is made up of three buildings, each quite distinctive architecturally in its own right. There’s Parliament House, in a neo-classical Edwardian style; the gothic, Victorianesque Parliamentary Library, and then the stark 20th-century Beehive building.
Parliament's Visitor Centre is found on the ground floor of the Beehive (also referred to as the Executive Wing). There are images and screenings about Parliament here, as well as audio recordings of significant political speeches from history. Pick up a keepsake from the gift shop, or send a postcard that will arrive with a one-of-a-kind Parliamentary postmark!
Free daily tours depart here from the foyer; they run on the hour and last for an hour. Guides escort groups to key parts of interest in the buildings and explain parliamentary processes and activities. The history and restoration of the buildings are also covered, and you’ll discover fascinating cultural artworks in the parliamentary precinct relating. These tours do not, however, include a trip to the public galleries. The tours are mostly wheelchair friendly; large groups (10 or more) should be booked in advance. You will need to leave your belongings at the visitor centre, as these can’t be brought along on the tour.
The standard tours don’t, however, visit the public galleries at the debating chamber. You’ll need to organise that individually. If you were hoping to watch the House in session, it’s recommended to first check the programme online to ensure that the House will be sitting when you visit. A seat in the public galleries means you can watch MPs in action as they speak, debate, and vote, from above. There is a dress code that you will need to adhere to and two separate security screenings.
No other single road evokes such a feeling of recognition that’s uniquely Wellington as bohemian Cuba St does. A registered Historic Area since 1995, Cuba St was named for a settler ship of the same name. (That said, a few local favourite spots have gone as far as to play up on the Caribbean connection - such as tapas/cocktail bar Havana and Fidel’s Cafe.)
So what does one do, exactly, in the Cuba Quarter? That’s entirely up to you. Fashionistas will delight in the varied options. There’s no better place in the country for vintage shopping — there are practically more secondhand stores than you can count. Hunters and Collectors and Ziggurat are some of the most-loved boutiques around.
Wellington also prides itself on its cafes, bars and restaurants. Cuba St is no exception — there is no shortage of places for eating and drinking. Along this strip are the heralded San Francisco Bathhouse bar (San Fran) and upmarket Logan Brown restaurant. Dotted along the street are numerous other great spots including a smattering of ethnic eateries.
Buskers and skaters frequent the pedestrian friendly footpaths, and the revered Cuba Mall’s Bucket Fountain is a regular draw for tourists. This kinetic piece of art is somewhat hypnotic — you could stand and watch it in action for ages. Essentially, a series of buckets are filled up with water until they tip over and spill downwards, typically splashing the closest onlookers.
Quirky, colourful and always entertaining, Cuba St is a melting pot peppered with galleries, quirky shops, and watering holes. Don’t leave Wellington without at least wandering down a few blocks of Cuba St.