Capital 150th: traffic & travel advice

23 July 2015

Wellington is celebrating 150 years as the Capital City this weekend – and the celebrations may cause some traffic disruption – especially for the ‘Open House: Treasures of Wellington’ open days on Saturday and Sunday.

Motorists may encounter heavy traffic – and heavy pedestrian traffic - at some ‘hotspots’ around the CBD on both days as some 42 ‘Treasures of Wellington’ are opened free for public visits between 10am and 5pm.

Areas to avoid, if you’re driving, include:

  • Tinakori Road – where Premier House and Katherine Mansfield House will be open
  • the Basin Reserve – where Government House will be open
  • upper Tory Street – where Te Papa’s off-site storage facility will be open.

Motorists heading across town, including to the airport, should leave 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual in case traffic becomes heavy. Motorists may also encounter traffic queues southbound at the Terrace Tunnel.

Visitors to the various open sites should avoid trying to park nearby. It’s best to walk or take public transport – because parking in the city will be at a premium – and parking wardens will be on enforcement duty.

See our map of all the sites that will be open over the weekend: The Treasures of Wellington - Pocket Guide and Map (1.8MB PDF)

Free hop-on, hop-off shuttle buses will be operated by Go Wellington between 10am and 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday. The buses will run a circuit of the CBD and drop passengers outside, or as near as possible, to the venues. Look for the Open House Shuttle sign in bus windows.

Please note that buses running scheduled and ‘normal’ routes through town will not offer free rides.

Saturday night

The Big Birthday Party at Parliament is likely to cause traffic congestion in Molesworth Street and surrounding streets from around 5pm to 7pm so make sure you arrive early and use public transport if you can. There could also be queues to get onto State Highway 1 from Molesworth St, via the May Street onramp, around 7-8pm after the Big Birthday Party.

A spectacular light and sound show will be accompanied by performances by Dave Dobbyn and the Orpheus Choir. There will also be giant candles surrounding the Beehive that the crowd will be asked to blow out. Molesworth Street will be reduced to one lane in front of Parliament to make room for a number of food trucks.

Find out more about how Wellington became the capital and our 150th anniversary events at Events - Capital 150 #Capital150.