Welcome to Wellington, your gateway to New Zealand. Wellington International Airport is New Zealand’s central travel hub, serving nearly six million travellers every year, but it’s also enjoying its own epic journey.
Before Wellington Airport as we know it opened, there was Rongotai Airport: a simple grass runway and makeshift airport, whose first flight was back in 1929. It wasn’t until the 1950s that Wellington International Airport opened, welcomed by thousands of spectators who turned up to celebrate the launch of its ‘tin shed’ (the affectionate nickname for its temporary terminal). Turns out this terminal wasn’t so temporary after all; it stuck around until 1999, when it was replaced by the airport’s swish new terminal.
The airport continued on a steady ascent – and is still reaching new heights. Nowadays, Wellington International Airport offers direct flights to more than 25 destinations, with a choice of more than 70 weekly flights to Australia and beyond – but over the past five years, passenger numbers have soared, boosted by new Jetstar and Fiji Airways routes, increases in capacity from both Air New Zealand and Qantas, and new services from Sounds Air. A recent partnership with Singapore Airlines resulted in a 26 per cent increase in Asian visitors in the first six months of the alliance.
There are more exciting things on Wellington International Airport’s horizon. Construction of the four-star Rydges Hotel commenced in May 2017, with work expecting to be completed by 2018. This hotel will be accessed from within the terminal, offering 134 stylish rooms, conference facilities, a restaurant and bar. An enhanced transport hub is also in the works for 2018; this eight-storey expanse will offer more than a thousand additional parking spaces, plus an expanded pickup and drop-off area, undercover bus area, bicycle parking, real-time display of available spaces, charging ports for electric cars and more.
The airport’s international terminal is also on the up: the main terminal was boosted in 2016, with improvements including an extra 6,000 square metres of space, new seating, more food and shopping choices, twice as many toilets and a convenient centralised screening point. The middle of the terminal is currently being opened up to provide a hub of natural light. Once this is completed, there will be lots more food and retail choices, showcasing the best of Wellington and beyond.
Travelling on from the airport is super easy: Wellington International Airport is just six kilometres from the Central Business District, so you can quickly hop to the city centre. Pick from 11 rental-car and campervan operators, sign up for a tour bus or get to the city centre by public transport or taxi. The Airport Flyer Bus is an express service from within the airport campus to Wellington CBD, which leaves every 20 mins.
Get your New Zealand adventures off to a flying start with Wellington International Airport.