Wellington is New Zealand’s capital city and is situated at the very scenic bottom tip of the North Island. The city is centred around Wellington Harbour and surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful ocean views.
New Zealand’s self-proclaimed “Culture Capital”, Wellington is full of fun things to do and has a fantastic inner city vibe. Looking for the best things to do while on holiday in Wellington? Here are our top 10.
1. Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum Of New Zealand
Featuring an exciting range permanent and temporary exhibitions, Te Papa is renowned for its interactive and visitor-focused experiences. Explore the vast array of artefacts, tribal treasures, artworks and items of interest across five main Collections including Art, History, Taonga Māori, Pacific Cultures and Natural History.
- The Museum is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm and entry is free. Some charges may apply to short-term exhibitions.
- Te Papa is located at 55 Cable Street, Wellington. Parking is available on site, fees apply.
2. Wellington Botanic Gardens
Nestled in central Wellington, the Botanic Gardens cover an expansive area of over more than 25 hectares of gardens including native bush, exotic forests, an award-winning rose garden and much more. Wander the grounds at your own pace or Garden Tours are available and run every third Sunday and fourth Monday of the month. These guided walking tours cost $5 each, see the Wellington City Council Botanic Gardens Events Calendar for more information.
- Entry to the Wellington Botanic Gardens is free, or add to the days excitement by taking the Wellington Cable Car to the top to enter the Gardens.
- The official Wellington Botanic Gardens entrance is located at 101 Glenmore Street, Kelburn, Wellington but there are many other entrances to the Garden including from Glenmore Street, Salamanca Road, Upland Road and using the Cable Car as previously mentioned.
3. Space Place – Carter Observatory
Explore and discover the secrets of our Universe at Space Place – Carter Observatory and planetarium. Featuring a world-class interactive multimedia space experience, the Thomas Cooke telescope and astronomical artifacts, the Carter Observatory is a chance for the whole family to learn about planets, stars, constellations, galaxies and much more.
- Entry to the Carter Observatory is free for children under 4 years old and costs $12.50 for adults and $8 for Children aged 4-16 years.
- The Space Place Carter Observatory is located at 40 Salamanca Road, Kelburn, Wellington. Opening times do vary, the facility is only open Tuesday, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
4. Parliament Buildings
A trip to Wellington wouldn’t be complete without visiting the New Zealand Parliament Buildings. Located in Thorndon, just on the edge of the CBD, Parliament grounds are home to four distinct buildings, including the unique Beehive building, Parliament House, the Parliamentary Library, and Bowen House.
- There are a range of free daily Parliament tours available to the public, but booking ahead is required. You can also enter the Public Gallery and see the government ministers in action.
- Entry to Parliament House is through the public entrance located between the Beehive and the steps of Parliament House. The Parliament Buildings are located Molesworth Street, Thorndon, Wellington.
Just a couple of kilometres from the central city you will find the Zealandia urban eco-sanctuary. Making your way around the sprawling 225 hectare site you can discover rare and interesting birdlife, flora and fauna and other wildlife living in their natural habitats. All pests have been eradicated from the fully fenced sanctuary leaving the wildlife and plant life free from predication.
- Entry to Zealandia costs $19.50 for adults and $10 for children aged 5 to 17, under 5’s are free. Guided tours are available for an extra fee.
- Open from 9 am to 5 pm every day, Zealandia is located at 53 Waiapu Road, Karori, Wellington.
6. Weta Workshops Weta Cave
A visit to the Weta Workshop Studios is a must for movie enthusiasts of all ages. This multi-award winning film making design studio has worked with some of the world’s best in the entertainment and creative industries. Wander through the movie museum or take a tour and see sculptures, prop replicas, art prints and apparel from movies such as The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, King Kong, Avatar, The Adventures of Tintin, and much more.
- Entry to the Weta Cave is free, and it is open from 9 am to 5.30 pm daily. Guided tours vary and cost from $28 for adults and $15 for children aged 6 to 12.
- Weta Workshops The Weta Cave is located on 1 Weka Street, Miramar, Wellington.
7. Roxy Cinema
Taking in a film at the iconic Roxy Cinema in Miramar is the perfect way to soak up a bit of Wellington’s art culture. Stick around for a bite to eat at the Coco bar and restaurant in the cinema’s foyer and enjoy the atmosphere at this multi-award winning establishment. Themed menus and a selection of fun cocktails will not disappoint!
- Find The Roxy and Coco at 5 Park Road, Miramar Wellington, check the website for opening hours and movie times.
- Head down on a Tuesday for discounted tickets or expect to pay $17 for adults and $10 for children under the age of 10 years for general admission.
8. Wellington Zoo
Enjoy a day at the Wellington Zoo and learn about the wide array of animals on display. You will find playgrounds for the kids, keeper talks and the opportunity for close encounters with some of the animals. It is advised to book ahead if you wish to take part in a close encounter experience as numbers are limited. Don’t miss the Goliath Stick Insect for something unusual or the gorgeous herd of African Nyala.
- Open every day from 9.30 am to 5 pm, the Wellington Zoo is located at 200 Daniell Street, Newtown, Wellington.
- Entry prices are set at $25 per adult and $12 per child aged 3 to 14 years. Family concessions are available.
9. City Gallery Wellington
Located in the heart of Wellington City, the City Gallery offers contemporary New Zealand and international art, as well as world-class exhibitions. The team at the City Gallery work collaboratively with a wide range of artists, galleries and collectors to present an interesting and engaging range of exhibitions and events throughout the year.
- The City Gallery is open daily 10 am to 5 pm, and entry is free.
- Entry is via the main entrance from Civic Square accessed from Victoria and Harris Streets, Customhouse Quay or via the City to Sea Bridge.
10. Cable Car
Taking the Wellington Cable Car up to the Botanic Gardens is one of the most iconic things to do in Wellington. Cable Cars run every 10 minutes Monday to Friday between 7am and 10 pm with slightly shorter hours during the weekend. At the top of the Cable Car you can explore the Botanic Gardens or take a look around the Cable Car Museum and discover the history behind the famous Wellington Cable Car.
- Find the Cable Car departure point at Cable Car Lane, 280 Lambton Quay, Wellington.
- Adult tickets one way are $5 or both ways at a discounted $9, children one way $2.50 and $4.50 both ways.
Enjoy the best Wellington has to offer, explore, learn and be inspired with a holiday in New Zealand’s capital city – Wellington. Need more inspiration on things to do in Wellington? Check out our top 3 day trips from Wellington here.