Beauty is a sliding scale in the context of New Zealand. Arguably the South Island has more breathtaking views, however for the North Island, Wellington is one of the more scenic spots. This might have something to do with Peter Jackson’s decision to film parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy here.
A LOTR tour in Wellington is an excellent way to see the city from above. If you’re spending time here I’d also recommend hiking to the top of Mt Victoria. The top of Mt Vic was a LOTR filming location, however the peekaboo views of this coastal city as you ascend are spectacular. The Te Papa museum is completely amazing if you are looking for the history of New Zealand and the Maori. If you only have a few hours, squeeze in the cable car ride from Lambton Quay to Kelburn; the city views are striking and there’s a tunnel light show reminding me of the now-defunct I-Beam’s rave days (long-time San Francisco residents know what I mean).
Above: Views from various elevations while hiking up Mt. Vic
Below: Light show in the Wellington Cable Car
Below: Te Papa Museum