Sitting at the southern end of New Zealand’s North Island, Wellington, has recently been crowned “the coolest little capital in the world” by Lonely Planet. Surrounded by nature and fueled by quirky, creative energy, ‘Windy Wellington’ is a compact city with an eclectic mix of cuisine, culture, history and nature. So whether you are on a budget, or ready to break open the piggy bank, here are my top 6 fun things to do in Wellington, New Zealand.
1: Visit the Te Papa Museum
Cost: FREE | Booking Required: NO | Kid Friendly: YES |
The Te Papa Museum has multiple different exhibitions all available for free. When I was there in January 2022, there was a fantastic war exhibition with enormous, very lifelike models of soldiers. Each soldier had their story told via archives and artefacts discovered and preserved from actual war sites. The exhibit was a really great layout, it flowed well and contained easy to digest information with enough interactive parts to keep things interesting and unexpected.
There was also a fantastic wildlife exhibition where you could learn about native fish, birds, insects and other wildlife that’s right on your doorstep. Perfect for kids, with lots of interactive and creative ways to make information fun for little ones as well as adults.
2: Go Vintage Shopping On Cuba Street
Why not explore the many vintage shops that cuddle the Cuba Street pavement? Cuba Street is the vibrant, bubbling, beating heart of the Wellington shopping scene. The hustle and bustle of locals, tourists and passers-by alike are seen exploring its bars, eateries, vintage shops and op shops.
3: Visit the WETA Workshop
Cost: From $45pp | Booking Required: YES | Kid Friendly: YES |
Home to the experts behind the models, costumes, scenery, props + more from masterpieces like Lord of The Rings, Elysium, Thor, Thunderbirds, Lucy and many more blockbusters – The WETA Workshop is a feast for movie buffs! Original props and costumes from HUGE movies and franchises are made and displayed in this very workshop. Take a tour and learn about how these fabulous items are made before hitting the big screen.
It isn’t just for movies either, the WETA Workshop creates models for the Te Papa Museum, including the ones from the War exhibit we saw. As well as installations for the airport and other landmarks all around New Zealand. Got deep pockets? They will even create custom pieces for you via commission, but be prepared to pay a pretty penny for them!
4: Hike To The Victoria Lookout
Cost: FREE | Booking Required: NO | Kid Friendly: MAYBE |
Enjoy the panoramic views over wellington from The Victoria Lookout. A moderate hike up to the top, the views are well worth the climb. Some of the walk is through urban areas, some is on dirt paths so I would recommend decent trainers – you won’t need hiking boots and all the gear for this one. On a clear and beautiful day, you can even see over to the South Island!
5: Sample 1 (or 3) Of The Many Restaurants & Bars
There are a whole range of places to eat in Wellington. Whether you want fresh locally caught seafood, fantastic Asian fusion, perfectly prepared pasta, fluffy scrummy pancakes, or even a late-night tipple in a hidden library… Wellington has it all!
My Personal favourites included: Neo Café, 1154, Dragonfly and The Library.
6: Walk Along The Oriental Bay Waterfront
A short walk out of the main town, Oriental Bay feels like a slice of paradise. Walk along its promenade and take in the sea air, sample its eateries, or simply sit on the beach with an ice cream… it’s a fun, free and beautiful way to unwind in Wellington after a day of shopping and exploring!
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