NAPIER – WELLINGTON (via Hastings & Masterton)
Travel distance is approximately 334kms (209 miles).
Allow at least 4.75 hours drive time (not including stops).
Spoilt for choice after two nights in Napier, it is now time to get back on the road and navigate towards the bottom of the North Island as you journey to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city.
Your journey today will take you via Hastings and Masterton, both popular North Island towns for New Zealand and international tourists to visit throughout the year, before travelling over the Rimutaka Range down into Wellington city.
Some notable stops along the route to Wellington include:
Hastings is the twin sister city to Napier and because it is only 20km’s to the South it also enjoys a refreshing Mediterranean climate. Hastings is renowned as the Home of Wine Country, therefore is a great place to plan a relaxing early lunch in one of the many pretty winery restaurants in the area.
This 20 hectare Domain is a great place to stop off when you are passing through as a ‘driver reviver’. Children love the Viking Ship playground while adults can wander around the gardens. Check out the deerpark and duck pond as well.
TARARUA WIND FARM
Located on 700 hectares of private land, this is New Zealand’s largest wind farm, both in terms of number of turbines and output, thanks to its 134 turbines. To view the wind farm follow the road to Ballance.
Located in Mangatainoka, his iconic building is home to the Tui Brewery, one of New Zealand’s top beers! Along with beer tasting, there is now a cafe on-site for good Kiwi tucker. Brewery tours are highly recommend and available by prior booking.
NATIONAL WILDLIFE CENTRE
Pukaha Mount Bruce is New Zealand’s National Wildlife Centre for conservation of some of NZ’s most endangered wildlife. Enjoy wildlife viewing, eco and nature tour experiences and get up close and personal with Kiwi, Tuatara, Kaka and more! A must visit on your journey; the centre is located 10kms south of Eketahuna on State Highway 2.
Located in the Wairarapa region and only 1 hour away from Wellington, this is a quaint place to enjoy a coffee and nibble at one of the great cafes.
Welcome to the Capital city of New Zealand. This city is full of culture and character and is home to movie making legends such as Lord of the Rings! Wellington is also the North Island base for the Cook Strait Ferries that cross between the North and South Island.
Set on the edge of a stunning habour and nestled into the hills, the city is a great place to explore, from walks and museums, to one of New Zealand’s best coffee cultures, there is a unique choice of restaurants and cafes to satisfy even the most discerning visitor in the Courtenay and Cuba quarters.
Accommodation is plentiful, you can choose from well known chains of hotels and motels in the CBD, to glorious boutique bed & breakfast lodges, backpackers, luxury apartments and much more.
Highly recommended Wellington tourist attractions include…
Wellington Movie Tours – Enjoy a short tour of New Zealand’s movie capital as you enjoy the scenery around the bays of Wellington while travelling to many movie-filming sights, including 10 scenes from Lord of the Rings!
Te Papa Museum – This is New Zealand’s national museum and offers an innovative and interactive visitor-focused museum experience. Make sure you view the Te Papa Marae! We suggest you take a Te Papa Tour, which lasts 45 minutes, and runs daily at specified times.
City Gallery Wellington – Check out the latest exhibition of New Zealand’s avant-garde artists as well as other international collections. Enjoy a free tour during weekends or a great espresso coffee in the popular Nikau cafe.
Wellington Cable Car – Make sure you check out Wellington’s most popular tourist attraction for yourself! Cable cars run from Lambton Quay in the commercial heart of the city via tunnels and hills as you pass Kelburn Park and Victoria University before reaching the Lookout, Carter Observatory, Planetarium and Cable Car Museum at the top!
Karori Sanctuary – View some of New Zealand’s rarest and most endangered wildlife in this Sanctuary, including the little spotted kiwi, tuatara, saddleback, stitchbird and kaka.
Parliament Building Tour – Free guided tours leave on the hour in the beautifully refurbished Parliament Buildings, which are located in the historic Thorndon suburb. View three architecturally distinctive buildings… the Edwardian neo-classical Parliament House, the Victorian Gothic Parliamentary Library and the unique 1970’s style Beehive building.
Shopping – Wellington is a shopping Mecca! Spend an afternoon enjoying the diverse shopping along Lambton Quay, Willis Street, Cuba Street and Courtenay Place. Check out the shops in the Old Bank Arcade for top Wellington designers for something unique and original!
New Zealand Itineraries: North Island Suggested Itineraries
Our modern self-drive travel Itineraries have routes specifically for the North Island as well as the South Island, ranging from 5 to 11 days, plus there are some travel routes that take in both the North and South Island’s. Our range of travel itineraries include information regarding travel distances and time to ensure that you can make the best of your time in New Zealand, no longer how short your visit!
- 5 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
- 6 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Coromandel, Coromandel – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua and Rotorua – Auckland
- 6 Day Itinerary (route 2): Auckland – Dargaville, Dargaville – Kaitaia, Kaitaia – Paihia, Paihia – Whangarei and Whangarei – Auckland
- 7 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Napier and Napier – Wellington
- 8 Day Itinerary: Wellington, Wellington – Masterton, Masterton – Wellington, Wellington – Nelson, Nelson – Blenheim and Blenheim – Christchurch
- 9 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Coromandel, Coromandel – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Gisborne, Gisborne – Napier, Napier – Taupo, Taupo – Rotorua, Rotorua – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
- 9 Day Itinerary (route 2): Auckland – Whangarei, Whangarei – Paihia, Paihia – Hokianga, Hokianga – Auckland, Auckland – Rotorua, Rotorua – Taupo, Taupo – Waitomo Caves and Waitomo Caves – Auckland
- 11 Day Itinerary: Auckland – Whitianga, Whitianga – Tauranga, Tauranga – Rotorua, Rotorua – Gisborne, Gisborne – Napier, Napier Taupo Napier, Napier – Wellington, Wellington – New Plymouth, New Plymouth – Waitomo and Waitomo Caves – Auckland