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Cheap Car Hire Wellington
Compare our incredibly cheap car rental rates for Wellington and the Wellington Ferry Terminal. We bring together all the leading rental vehicle brands, as well as many of the independents - meaning you don't have waste time trawling the Internet for options or pay exorbitant prices at the rental counter.
Book now and save! Just put your travel details into the Quote box at the top of the page to instantly compare a huge choice of vehicles at the very best prices.
It's a good idea to book your car early, especially for travel during peak periods.
Booking your Wellington rental car with Discount Car Rental is quick and painless. And saves you money!
Wellington City Attractions
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 you might like to consider checking out. The letters on the map match those below, where you'll find information about each attraction. For more ideas, check out the Wellington Tourism website.
A. 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 city scape 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 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 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, near our rental depot - 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.
B. Te Papa Museum
Te Papa is New Zealand’s national museum and hailed world wide 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 to 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 shock proofed. 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 alpine, bush, freshwater, coastal, open ocean, and deep sea habitats, 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.
A current highlight is the exhibition devoted to the colossal squid (do you know what sets it apart from a mere giant squid?) and the latest installment of the Nga Toi exhibition is a showcase of rare photos of New Zealand, from portraits and snapshots, through to landscapes and cutting edge photography.
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.
C. Cuba Street
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 second hand 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 Matterhorn and San Francisco Bathhouse bars 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.
D. Matiu/Somes Island
In the middle of the Wellington Harbour lies a peaceful wildlife sanctuary. Originally named after Matiu - the daughter of the explorer Kupe - then Somes in later colonial times, it’s now known by the combined title of Matiu/Somes Island.
The island has a rich and varied history. Once upon a time it was used by Maori as a defensive fortress and was occupied by Maori for generations. A lighthouse was built in the 19th century to guide travellers heading inwards to the shore. It has also served as a quarantine station - for both people and animals - and, during both of the world wars, as a detention centre.
Today, though, it’s a vastly different story. Matiu/Somes Island has been rejuvenated and reforested with all manner of native plants, and native wildlife have been released into the wild to match. It is now a Department of Conservation scientific reserve, a pest-free island that’s open to the public to enjoy and appreciate. There are two old pa (village) sites remaining today, a relic of the past.
There’s a regular daily ferry service from central Wellington. Upon arrival you’ll check your bags in the quarantine shed (part of the ongoing effort to maintain a predator-free habitat since the 1980s).
Take your time to stroll about the island and take in the amazing surroundings. It takes about 40 minutes to walk the loop track.
The local population includes a healthy variety of reptiles, birds and even invertebrates, so keep a watchful eye and ear out as you make your way around. The 500 odd species of the latter include several types of weta, such as the Wellington tree weta and Cook Strait giant weta. In terms of reptiles, eight types endemic to New Zealand can be found on Matiu/Somes Island, including tuatara, skinks and geckos. And when it comes to birds, there’s a mighty variety to be sighted, from the rare kakariki to the fantail, kingfisher to silvereye, spotted shag and even the world’s smallest penguin. Even more native birds are yet to be introduced in the future, to boot.
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 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, Victorian-esque 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 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 is 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 ahead 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.
Great value - thanks! Definitely will recommend you to my friends.
Jack Webber (Australia)
Was the best deal we could find and we looked hard. Very happy.
Matt Boser (USA)
Excellent value, We got what you promised. No hidden costs like the rip off we had in Cairns!
Mike Smith (UK)
Great for backpackers like us on a tight budget. Got to do more of the amazing things NZ offers with the money we saved. Awesome!
Sue White (UK)