Sleeping in Airports

6 Things to do on a layover at Wellington Airport

If you have found yourself with a layover at Wellington International Airport, you may now be wondering what to do with your time….besides sleep! While options are limited, you should be fine for a short daytime visit. An overnight stay will not be so pleasant, and nothing is open. Here are six things to do on a layover at Wellington Airport.

1. Enjoy a meal

Airport DiningEnjoy a meal during your layover, though don’t expect many options. What this airport lacks in quantity, though, they make up for with decent variety: you’ll find several cafes selling the beloved local coffee, healthier options at Fresh Bites and Wishbone, Kiwi cuisine at the Bean Hive, fancy baked goods and desserts at Louis Sergeant, and a couple Asian spots slinging Indian, Thai, Malaysian, and Singaporean curries and other traditional dishes. Of course, you can grab a quick sandwich at Subway if you’re in a rush or post up at the bars for a more prolonged spell.

2. Hit the shops

ShoppingOne way to pass any layover is to browse the shops. The key here might be to do so very slowly, as there aren’t many shops. Check out the Duty-Free, browse the bookstore, sample MAC’s makeup and skincare lines, or pick up a local souvenir at Simply New Zealand. Icebreaker Touch Lab and 3 Wise Men offer products perfect for the wild New Zealand climate.

3. Freshen up – for free

Perk up between flights with a shower – in free shower facilities, no less! These may not be the most luxurious facilities you’ve stepped foot in, but you’ll feel much better for that layover and next flight. Free showers are located in Level 1, pre-security, to the left and the right of the main entrance.

4. Check out Wellington

Layover SightseeingBetween flights, the last thing you may want to do is hang out in an airport. If you’re more of an explorer type, use your layover as a reason to check out Wellington!

If you have at least 5 hours before your next flight, you can check your bags in the pre-security area and hop on the Airport Flyer bus service to the city center. The bus leaves every 10-20 minutes and has you downtown in about 30 minutes. Note the one-way fare is NZD 9, and it’s cash only, so be prepared. Otherwise, you can opt for a taxi or shuttle service, but these run closer to NZD 40 one way.

Once downtown, what should you check out? Along the waterfront is the Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa), which covers the history, art, and culture of the island’s indigenous peoples. Ride the Wellington Cable Car – or walk – to the top of the hill for great views and pop into the Wellington Botanic Garden. For more views, head to the peak of Mount Victoria. Kids will have a blast at the Wellington Zoo.

However you pass your layover, don’t forget to leave plenty of time to bus back to the airport, pick up your luggage, and process through Security before that next flight!

5. Use the WiFi

Stay connected to friends and family, update your social media accounts or surf the internet using the airport’s free WiFi.

6. Sleep

Airport SleeperYou won’t have much of a problem catching some daytime ZZZs here. Still, if you’re looking to camp out overnight, you’ll likely be asked to leave because the airport officially closes between 1:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. unless you’re stuck on a significant flight delay or cancellation. Outside those hours, travellers report napping on comfortable couches near the Cook Strait Bar and under the statue of Gollum (this is Lord of the Rings territory, after all!). The airport is loud and brightly lit, so pack earplugs and an eye mask to block distractions. If you need a more traditional sleeping situation, there are hotels within a few minutes’ walk or drive of the airport – and most offer complimentary shuttle service. See our Wellington Airport Guide for locations and amenities.

These are just a few things to do on a layover at Wellington Airport. Visit our Wellington Airport Guide for more information about services and facilities, such as food, WiFi, mobile charging, luggage storage, nearby airport hotels, and much more.