Wellington Airport – the main entry point to New Zealand’s capital city and second most-populated urban area – is not like any other air transit hub out there, in that it doesn’t simply exist to process passengers from plane to city. Instead, Wellington Airport wants to be remembered as part of the diverse tapestry that makes Wellington, Wellington. This is an airport whose terminal is named ‘The Rock’, whose audacious design stirred controversy and made waves in the architectural world. This is the airport whose other name is the ‘Middle of Middle-Earth’, the only place in the world you can see an almost-life sized, fearsome statue of Smaug the Magnificent – the fire-breathing dragon of the Hobbit movies – the largest Gollum statue in the world, and even an installation of Gandalf riding the Great Eagles.
Not just a pretty face, Wellington Airport is as efficient as it is aesthetically pleasing – the 3rd busiest airport in New Zealand (as of May 2015), it has the capabilities to process 1,000 travellers an hour and handles more than 5 million passengers annually.
Wellington Airport is located less than 10 kilometres from the heart of Wellington City, making the commute from airport to city extremely easy. Tourists can hop on the Airport Flyer for a quick and comfortable ride into town – the bus runs every 20 minutes from the southern end of the airport terminal, and connects to Wellington City and Lower Hutt for an affordable fare.
What to see and do
The world’s southernmost capital city, Wellington has been called the ‘coolest capital of the world’ by Lonely Planet, and been included in its list of Top 10 cities to visit in 2011. It is often considered New Zealand’s cultural capital, and has also been rated by Mercer as one of the best in the world when it comes to Quality of Life.
If in this quirky little city, don’t miss a visit to one of its most popular tourist attractions: The Weta Cave, owned by Oscar-winning special effects and movie props production company The Weta Workshop. The production company behind global blockbusters like the Lord of the Rings, King Kong and the Hobbit, the Weta Cave is where tourists can come face-to-face with magical creatures of the silver screen – for free! Go on a guided tour and have an intimate glimpse at Hollywood’s offscreen secrets, oooh and aah at actual movie props and pick up a collectible or two before leaving.
After the Weta Cave be sure to visit the Museum of New Zealand – Te Papa Tongarewa, for an in-depth understanding of New Zealand’s history, heritage and culture, before heading to the Mount Victoria lookout for stunning panoramic views of the whole city.
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