There are a lot of good reasons to visit New Zealand’s capital, not least of which are the top things to do in Wellington, plus its clean air, friendly people, beautiful vistas, shopping, restaurants and internationally famous craft beers. It’s also the land of the Lord of the Rings, plus some of the world’s best sauvignon blanc. Get the most out of your visit with our pick of the best things to do in Wellington.
Te Papa Tongarewa - Museum of New Zealand
Discover the treasures and stories of New Zealand at Te Papa, our bold and innovative national museum. A recognised world-leader in interactive and visitor focused museum experiences, Te Papa lets you experience the nation's art, culture and science - all in one breathtaking waterfront location. Better still, general admission is free! New Zealand's geology and natural environment, and the stories of New Zealand's indigenous people, the Maori, are celebrated in Te Papa's permanent exhibitions. An exciting range of exhibitions display New Zealand's diverse art and visual culture and top-rating international exhibitions tour regularly.
Wellington Cable Car
Join locals and visitors alike in a historic trip on the Wellington Cable Car. For over a hundred years passengers have enjoyed the dramatic views of our growing cityscape and the surrounding hills that define Wellington's harbour. It offers a charming escape from the busy city streets to the tree lined walkways of the Botanic Gardens. There is simply no better way to experience the hidden charm that Wellington has to offer than to take this 5-minute ride from the heart of city center, up through the hillside terraced houses of Kelburn to the lookout perched high above the city. Enjoy easy access to the Botanic Garden, Cable Car Museum, Space Place (at Carter Observatory) and Zealandia (via free shuttle).
Weta Workshop is a multi-award winning design studio and physical manufacturing facility servicing the world's entertainment and creative industries. Weta Workshop is a 65,000 square foot multi–disciplinary facility. Housed under one roof is the equipment, infrastructure and capacity to create anything from hand-made weapons, costuming, make-up effects and creature suits through to full-scale tanks, aircraft, miniatures of any scale and vehicle construction.
Wellington Botanic Gardens
Over 26 hectares of unsurpassed views, unique landscape, exotic forests, native bush, colourful floral displays and gorgeous specialist gardens. Visit the Duck Pond, Begonia House, award-winning Lady Norwood Rose Garden, Treehouse Visitor Information Centre, Sundial of Human Involvement, Children's Play Area and the historic Bolton Street Memorial Park, where many of the city's pioneers are buried. Gardens open daily sunrise to sunset. Garden tours are available by prior booking or prior request.
Stunning Makara Peak Track
This family-friendly loop walk offers spectacular views, farmland, a beach and gun emplacements.
The track begins and ends at Makara Beach and climbs to vantage points with sweeping views. Clifftop gun eplacements mark the position of Fort Opau, which was garrisoned by a hundred soldiers during World War II. Return along the wild sea coast and explore a pa (Maori fortress) at the western end of Fisherman's Bay. The track starts at the beach at the end of Makara Road, 16km from Wellington. Part of track is closed for lambing season between August 1 and October 1. Carry food and drink as there is no drinkable water on the track.
THINGS TO DO IN WELLINGTON
Cuba Street Promenade
One of Wellington's best-loved and best-known streets, Cuba Street is one of those places where everyone is welcome and feels at home. Home to hipsters, artists and lovers of vintage, Cuba Street is a bohemian haven with some of the city’s most colourful shops, bars and cafes. Street entertainers might play percussive guitar, put on a marionette show, or play with fire. Don't forget to get your photo of the one and only Bucket Fountain.
Cruise Down Oriental Bay
Just a few minutes walk from the city, this golden sand beach is a top spot for a bit of walking, cycling or people watching. It's a safe swimming spot for families and plays host to beach sporting events during summer.. Walk Wellington makes this very easy by giving you a personal introduction to the city. Their enthusiastic and knowledgeable local guides will show you the key historical and cultural sigh ts, and give you insights about this vibrant city.
Also take a ride on the wild side with the famous Wellington Crocodile Bikes! Hire a two or four seater bike with your family or friends and cruise around the waterfront from Oriental Bay to Kumutoto. There's no better or fun way to experience the attractions of Wellington's sparkling waterfront.
Pick up your Crocodile Bike from the kiosk on Clyde Quay Wharf.
Experience Wellington on Bikes
Jump on a bike and enjoy a fun, light hearted and engaging tour of New Zealand's capital city, Wellington. Departing from the Waterfront, just a short walk from central Wellington, you will set out on a journey to enjoy picturesque panoramic views of Wellington's spectacular scenery and discover it's colourful history.
One of the most popular routes start by travelling along the Waterfront close to the city centre and then on toward Miramar Peninsula. If you have an extreme sense of adventure take road routes to special spots around Wellington and cruise up to the best panoramic lookouts such as Mt Victoria.
Another option is Pencarrow Lighthouse, a popular destination accessed by the East by West Ferry that goes to Days Bay. Here you can look out across the harbour toward Wellington City. If you're lucky you will see seals and other wildlife.
The Rimutaka Rail Trail can be explored by taking the bikes on a train then riding from Maymorn to Featherston, this is a world class track well away from the city. Pack your lunch, take your camera and ride the old railway line taking in the New Zealand forest and history.