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Moving to Wellington: The Best Ways to Get Around

Wellington is known for its compact size, and having access to a private vehicle can come with its pros and cons. In this guide, we’ll help you decide whether buying a car is right for you and explore other options for getting around the city.
By · May 25, 2024
Moving to Wellington: The Best Ways to Get Around

Moving to Wellington is an exciting prospect. Wellington is known for its livability and urban charm. Where else can you find beaches and mountains, coffee shops and thrift stores and some of the country’s best bars and restaurants all within walking distance of one another?

Wellington is known for its compact size, and having access to a private vehicle can come with its pros and cons. In this guide, we’ll help you decide whether buying a car is right for you and explore other options for getting around the city.

Do I need a car to get around Wellington?

No, owning a car is not a necessity for getting around Wellington. The entire CBD is only 1 square kilometre, making it easy to get around on foot. But, like most things, where you live and work will also impact your transportation needs. Here are some things to consider:

Where you live

Wellington has several fringe suburbs which are pedestrian-friendly and are easiest accessed by foot. Te Aro, Mt Cook, Mt Victoria, Thorndon, Pipitea and Oriental Bay are all city-fringe suburbs which are well connected by public transport (and not far on foot).

What parking is available

While living in a city fringe suburb is excellent when you are a pedestrian, it can make owning a car a bit of a headache. Most of these suburbs have on-street parking that is shared with other local car owners. Local residents pay for on-street parking privileges, but this doesn’t guarantee you will have somewhere to park.

Where you work

While Wellington’s public transport system is considered one of the best in New Zealand, it still has downsides. Travelling from suburb to suburb or from the city to the Hutt Valley or Kapiti Coast adds extra time to your journey each day. Owning a car makes travelling between the suburbs of Greater Wellington easier.

What do you enjoy doing

One of the best things about Wellington is that you’re never far from nature. If you enjoy spending time outdoors, a private vehicle can help you get the most out of Wellington’s natural amenities.

What are the best ways to get around Wellington if you don’t own a car?

Walking isn’t the only way of getting around the capital without owning a car. The city also has many affordable options for getting where you need to go. 

Public transport

Wellington has a well-developed public transport system that is affordable, clean and safe. The Metlink bus network connects most neighbourhoods, making it easy to commute from the suburbs to the city. Need to go further afield? Wellington Train Station has lines to Porirua, the Kapiti Coast, the Hutt Valley, and even the Wairarapa.


Despite its hills, Wellington is actually a very bike-friendly city. Expanding dedicated cycling lanes makes commuting safe, while its network of scenic bike trails makes it a fun hobby easily accessible from the city. E-bikes are also a popular option for commuters.

Ferry services

Wellington has a range of ferries leaving from Queens Wharf that service nearby destinations like Days Bay and Matiu/Somes Island. The East by West ferry connects the city with Days Bay and is a great option for commuting.

Rideshare services

Popular rideshare services like Uber, Ola and Lyft are available in Wellington. Given how close a lot of suburbs are, most people only rely on these services to get them to and from the airport or events and utilise public transport or walking for everyday trips.

Hire-by-the-hour services

Move and Cityhop are two car-hire services that make hiring a vehicle simple and cheap. Drivers will need to sign up for each service via the app. Once you’ve signed up and confirmed your driver details, you can then hire cars as and when you need them. Make sure you read the fine print before you hire a car, as charges can vary based on the time or distance you are travelling.

Airport Flyer

Wellington has a dedicated bus that makes getting to the airport simple and affordable. This bus connects Wellington Station with the Airport and makes stops at Lambton Quay, Willis St, Manners St, Courtenay Place, Hataitai and Kilbirnie along the way.


Flamingo Scooters is a New Zealand-based electric scooter-sharing service operating in several cities across the country, including Wellington. Scootering is a fast, easy and eco-friendly way of getting around the central city and city fringe suburbs.

Get around Wellington even easier with these apps

Mobile apps can enhance your experience of getting around the city. Here are 10 apps that can make navigating Wellington easier and ensure you’re always on time:


Metlink is the official app for Wellington’s buses and trains. It’s ideal for public transportation users as it provides real-time information on buses, trains, and ferries around the city. Check schedules, plan routes, and receive updates on service disruptions. It’s always a good idea to check Metlink before catching any type of public transport, as delays and cancellations can happen.


The most affordable way to take public transit in Wellington is with a Snapper card. These are available from selected stores around the city. This smart smart card system can be used to tap on and off buses and train services in Wellington. The Snapper app allows you to check your balance, top up your card, and pay for bus rides and trains from your phone.

Google Maps

Google Maps is especially handy for exploring Wellington's streets on foot, by bike, or using public transportation. It provides real-time directions, estimated travel times, and alternate routes to help you skip the traffic and arrive at your destination on time.

Radio New Zealand

Stay informed about traffic, weather, and local news with the Radio New Zealand app. It's a useful companion for your daily commute, keeping you updated on any events that may impact your travel.


Locate and book shared vehicles around Wellington, including cargo and passenger vans. This is a great option when you need a car for a short period of time or want to move items on your own.


Stay ahead of the weather with the MetService app. Offering up-to-date weather forecasts, radar images, and severe weather alerts, this app ensures that you are well-prepared for any changes in weather conditions - an essential part of being a Wellington commuter.


Another Wellington car-sharing service that focuses on eco-friendly, electric vehicles. The Mevo app allows users to locate and book available Mevo cars at any time of day or night.

Need help with your move to Wellington? With access to thousands of movers around the country, Wise Move makes moving to the capital easy. Book a moving service today.

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