DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2017 host city: Wellington

Wellington, New Zealand's capital, will welcome The British & Irish Lions for two matches during their 2017 series.

Fresh off the back of a busy 2016 international rugby season, including hosting Wales versus the All Blacks, Westpac Stadium Wellington will welcome The British & Irish Lions for two matches during their 2017 tour.

Colloquially known as the ‘Cake Tin’ due to its circular shape and silver external walls, Westpac Stadium will be the venue for British & Irish Lions matches against Super Rugby franchise the Hurricanes on 27 June and the second test of the tour versus the All Blacks on 1 July.

The Stadium, which is home to the Wellington Lions rugby team, is within easy reach of the inner city where visitors can enjoy a vibrant mix of lively cafés and restaurants, boutique shopping, heritage buildings, museums and galleries, and entertainment venues. 

Wellington, New Zealand's capital city, is a small-but-perfectly-formed city - built on the edge of a deep harbour juxtaposed by the steep hills that surround it. 

Creative culture

Just a short walk from the downtown stadium and visitors can find themselves immersed in New Zealand’s colourful and cultural history at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. 

Te Papa is a bold, creative and world leading, free entry national museum that explores and celebrates New Zealand’s natural environment, Māori culture, and the arts, and often plays host to spectacular international exhibitions.

Craft Beer Capital

New Zealand might be best known for its award-winning wines, but the Kiwi love of beer has prompted a boutique brewery boom.

There are 16 pubs, most within walking distance of each other, that cater for the boutique beer lover. The region is New Zealand’s self-styled ‘Craft Beer Capital’ and visitors can follow a pub-crawl outlined on the ‘craft beer capital map’ courtesy of the Beer Tourist website, which highlights all the best spots.

Foodie-heaven

Wellington is also foodie-heaven. With supposedly more bars and restaurants per capita than New York City, taste-buds will be spoilt for choice.

One of the hippest places for visitors to enjoy flavours of Wellington is Cuba Street. This quirky inner city creative hub is brought to life with its range of restaurants, bars, cafés and street art, while the Cuban-inspired Fidel’s Café is known for exquisite coffee.

Ticket to ride

Visitors wanting to experience the capital city from a different vantage point can ride on Wellington’s historic cable car - one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.

The route of the cable car takes in various sites, including the Lookout, Carter Observatory, Planetarium and Cable Car Museum. Visitors can also choose to walk back down through the Botanic Gardens and the historic Bolton Street cemetery, before ending up at another iconic Wellington landmark - New Zealand Parliament.

Wild in Wellington 

A slice of native paradise is not what you expect to find in a capital's inner city, but Wellington's Zealandia is exactly that. Just a 10-minute drive from downtown Wellington, nestled in a forested valley between city suburbs,

Zealandia is an outdoor haven for some of New Zealand’s rarest native birds, like the kiwi, and wildlife inhabiting a living monument to world-leading conservation efforts.

Movie magic

While Wellington is a food and culture lover’s paradise, it is perhaps the magic of the movies - most notable the Sir Peter Jackson directed The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies - that put Wellington or ‘Wellywood’, as it is affectionately known, firmly on the map. Visitors to the city don’t have to go far to experience a little movie magic. Just a short drive from the city centre to the suburb of Miramar is Weta Cave.

Here visitors can enjoy a behind-the-scenes glimpse into Weta Workshop and the stunning work that has been created there. There is also a mini museum, gift shop, behind-the-scenes and interactive experiences.

Great outdoors 

Wellington has some great outdoor spaces for visitors to explore and enjoy. The long walk or drive up Mt Victoria Lookout offers 360-degree panoramic views of the city and the harbour.

The Wellington waterfront is the spot to relax and soak up the atmosphere with plenty of cafés, parks and public artwork to enjoy. Oriental Bay beach is known locally as Wellington’s own ‘little slice of the Riviera’ and is a top spot to enjoy the sunshine.

Further afield

Visitors who are looking to go further afield have plenty of destinations and activities to choose from. The newly opened Rimutaka Cycle Trail - the only New Zealand Great Ride that starts on the doorstep of a major city - offers visitors the chance to experience natural New Zealand on two wheels.

This trail can be undertaken in various lengths and sections and connects the capital city via the coast and hills with the Wairarapa - an award-winning boutique wine-growing region that offers travellers a wide range of experiences.

Fast facts

  • Wellington is the world's southernmost capital
  • Wellington city is on an active earthquake fault, and the modern business centre is mostly built on reclaimed land
  • Lambton Quay - the main shopping street - follows the original 1840 shoreline
  • Wellington’s distinctive Beehive building - in the Parliamentary precinct - was reputedly designed during dinner on the back of a napkin
  • New York city temporarily sprang up in Seaview, on Wellington’s harbour fringe, for the King Kong film set
  • Most Wellington residents live within 3km of the sea

Travel Tips

Known as one of the most creative cities in New Zealand, visitors don’t have to travel far from the centre of Wellington to experience the magic. Wellington International Airport welcomes regular flights from Australia, Auckland and domestic airports around New Zealand.