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15 ultimate things to do in Wellington, NZ

15 Awesome Things to do in Wellington, New Zealand

Here’s your ultimate list of the best things to do in Wellington!

We stayed in Wellington on our way to crossing from New Zealand’s North Island to South Island. We stayed for 2 nights and explore this list of awesome activities in Wellington.

So, Wellington is the coastal area for catching the ferry from North to South Island in New Zealand (We did this with our campervan, although it’s not cheap). If you’re big into your movies, you need to visit Wellington to see the awesome Weta cave. Here you can see how famous movies such as Lord Of The Rings is created.

Wellington is a quirky place with plenty of coffee shops and businesses. The weather in Wellington can also be very choppy hence the nickname ‘windy Wellington’. It lived up to that name when we visited Wellington, the wind can get crazy. There is also plenty of other places to visit near Wellington such as Kapiti Coast to Palmerston North,  Manawatu Gorge (which is very scenic) and return to Wellington through the Wairarapa. Or you can check out Lindale, just past Paraparaumu and visit the Mt Bruce wildlife centre, near Eketahu

The list of 15 top things to do in Wellington on your visit

After visiting Auckland (check out this handy guide of things to do in Auckland on Your visit), we carried on our road trip through New Zeland to this awesome destination – Wellington.

There are free and paid activities, things to do for kids in Wellington and things to do when it’s raining. We didn’t have the best of weather in Wellington but still managed to get through all the best things and create this blog post for you.

Okay so let’s get to the best part of this blog post with the 9 awesome things to do in Wellington.

#1 The weta cave 

You will most likely know that the epic trilogy ‘Lord of the Rings’ was filmed in the stunning landscapes of New Zealand. However, a lot of the filming for Lord of the rings was done at the weta cave in Christchurch. The Weta cave is a cool movie production studio that still creates movies to this day. You can come and enjoy a guided tour through Wellington’s weta cave and discover how they create amazing movies such as Lord of the rings.

The weta cave also has a unique shop that sells classic movie memorabilia. You can buy things such as Gandolf’s white staff, Harry Potter figures and books containing the lord of rings photos from around New Zealand. Even if you don’t want to take part in the tour, the weta cave is still worth a visit to see all the cool stuff for sale in the shop. 

Free thing to do in Christchurch top tip – The weta cave offers a free 45 movie displaying how movies are made. So it’s worth going checking that out.

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Want another amazing place to visit in New Zealand? Check out the 7 awesome things to do in Christchurch

#2 Zealandia 

Wellington’s Zealandia is a locally protected area in Wellington. It is a completely fenced off the urban eco-sanctuary. You may have heard that Zealandia was once known as the Karori wildlife sanctuary and the protected area is now completely focused on the regrowth of the forest.

The Zealandia cafe is also a cool place to visit for some food and drinks. Also, if you’re looking for things to do with kids in Wellington, then you can bring them here for a hike and get them on the fitness game early 🙂

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If you’re travelling around New Zealand. You need to see the amazing whale watching tour in Kaikoura, it’s unbelievable.

#3 Te Papa Museum of New Zealand 

Wellington Te Papa Museum shares the fascinating stories of the Wellington region. All housed within the beautiful 1892 heritage building designed by leading architect Frederick de Jersey Clere.

What a great place to spend at least half a day doing this free activity in Wellington.

There are so much to see and to learn from the Maori arts, the foundation of NZ, the first settlers and the ones who arrive later until now. You can check out the amazing pieces from the history in New Zealand and be wowed about the crazy history of the stunning country.

A very educational spot in a stunning and heritage building with large windows to the sea. This really is a top and unique thing to do in Wellington on your visit. the best thing about it is that it is all completely free! This is also in a quiet location to check out the local shops, bars and restaurants in Wellington.

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You should definitely try to visit this amazing museum in Wellington

#4 Wellington zoo

You should come and check out Wellington’s epic zoo which is now over 100 years old. If you’re looking for stuff to do in Wellington for the day, then you should definitely check out the first-ever zoo to be opened in New Zealand. The zoo is enormous and you can have lots of fun checking out all the animals. This is something of things to do in Wellington for families. 

I love checking out the zoos when I visit countries, town or cities. It’s a great way just to pass by hours of enjoyment. You can either take your own food to Wellington’s zoo or grab some food at the restaurant. Either way, you’re sure in for an epic day. Don’t forget to take your camera. If you are on a backpackers budget then you will have to work out if you really want to visit here. I know zoos can leave a little hole in the wallet or purse sometimes.

Have you ever thought about starting a travel blog to see the world?

#5 Cuba street 

Wellington’s Cuba street is probably the quirkiest place to visit in Wellington. It has a cool vibe and you can definitely come here to spend a few hours. If you looking for places to drink in Wellington, then I would recommend coming to Cuba street. You can find Wellington’s most awarded bar here. 

There is some history with Cuba street from the earthquakes that hit New Zealand. Strangely the older building architecture on the streets suffered very little damage in the events of the earthquakes.

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The quirky Cuba street in wellington.

#6 Wellington cable car 

Take a ride on Wellington’s famous cable car and discover the city from a high. This is not a free thing to do in Wellington however it’s worth the money. You can take the cable car from Wellington’s shopping are Lambton quay up into the Wellington suburb hills at Kelburn. You will ride the cable car up to around 125 metres. The ride only lasts for around 5 minutes but it’s great to see the points of interest in Wellington.

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The Wellington Cable Car runs from Lambton Quay to the top of the Botanic Garden.

#7 Lambton Quay 

Wellington’s Lambton Quay was once known as “Beach Street”) is at the centre of Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand.

Simply New Zealand (Lambton Quay) offers a cool range of New Zealand gifts and mementoes, catering to local, international and corporate customers. The range includes;

  • handcrafted ceramics and woodware
  • jewellery
  • New Zealand made knitwear & accessories
  • casual garments including their exclusive range of T-Shirts to gift items that will fulfil all your requirements.

If you are looking for things to do in Wellington when it’s raining then this is the place for you to visit. You can even grab a coffee and just watch the world go by for an hour or two before making your way to the other activities to do in Wellington

#8 Hikes in Wellington 

There are plenty of hikes in Wellington for you to get out and spend a few hours exploring the views of Wellington. You can walk up to the best viewpoint in Wellington. From here you will get an epic 360-degree panoramic view of Wellington. Also, from here you can take a walk through one of the scenes where the Lord of the Rings movie was filmed. This is all a free thing to do in Wellington. You can drive up to the viewpoint and take some mini hikes if you don’t feel like doing the full walk from the centre of Wellington.

We made our way from the Wellington viewpoint into the city centre and then back up the hill. This is a great hike and you can reward yourself with a coffee and cake at one of Wellington’s many coffee shops. Want to know Wellington’s best cafes and coffee shops?

#9 Wellington botanic gardens 

You can enjoy strolling around Wellington’s botanic gardens and taking a breath of fresh area from the local grown plant collection. The botanic gardens is a massive area of land and it’s definitively one of the best things to do in Wellington for those who love being outdoors. You will have the chance to see seasonal displays of plants, forestry and conifers.

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 Things to know the Wellington botanic gardens;

  • I love going for hikes and this is one of the best things to do in Wellington for free
  • Take a raincoat as you might get caught up in the weather.
  • Take some food along with you and take advantage of hopefully the nice weather. You can have your own picnic on the grass.
  • Take a camera and take some great photos of the colourful scenery. You may even have the chance to get a new Instagram photo. Remember to hashtag #wellingtonbotanicgardens 

#10 Visit Mount Victoria

This awesome hike in Wellington will take you up to over 190 metres high and gives you some spectacular views of Wellington. This is a must if you enjoy outdoor activities and embarking on fun treks.

This is one of the activities that you have just got to take a camera and take some amazing snaps of the landscape. You won’t get any better views than this in Wellington.

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#11 Visit the cinema in Wellington

If you’re looking for things to do on a rainy day in Wellington, the cinema could be one of your best options. The merlin cinema shows all the latest films and it’s a great place to take the kids.

You can even spend a romantic date night here and watch an awesome film whilst eating popcorn 😀

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Are you planning on doing the dolphin encounter in Kaikoura?

#12 Otari-Wilton’s bush

I have already given you some awesome walks in Wellington, but this is another great one to check out on your visit to Wellington.

This is the only botanic garden you will find in New Zealand that is only focused on native plants. If you’re into photography, then this is the place to visit to take some happy snaps of the flowers.

Where is the Otari-Wilton’s bush?

It is located in Wilton which is a suburb in Wellington.

Have fun 😀

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#13 Watch the Wellington Phoenix play

Are you into sports?

Do you enjoy football?

Why not go and watch the Wellington Phoenix play a game of football at their stadium.

This epic football in New Zealand is growing and becoming more popular for the people of New Zealand.

Their increasing crowds have seen the likes of David Beckham play against them.

If you fancy seeing Wellington Phoenix play, you can book tickets here.

Where do the Wellington Phoenix play?

Check out the Google map below for the exact location:

#14 Wellington Night Market

Do you enjoy awesome night markets?

You need to visit the Wellington night market on your visit to Wellington.

This is one of the best free things to do in Wellington and one that will save you some money. You will have the chance to watch free entertainment by street buskers. Also, you can try foods from around the world, such as awesome Indonesian food. Mmmmm tasty.

There is plenty of bargains to pick up such as;

  • Books and magazines
  • Electrical goods
  • Women’s clothes
  • Men’s clothes
  • Children’s clothes
  • Gifts

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#15 Climb Mount Kaukau

The Mount Kaukau is an awesome walk-in Wellington for you to do!

You can walk up to over 4oo metres about sea level and then be rewarded with awesome views of Wellington city. This is just one of the moments when you need your camera to take some memory shots of this amazing climb.

You can also see amazing views over the Wellington harbour.

This is probably up there as one of the best hikes in Wellington and it’s certainly one I enjoyed 😀

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Where to stay in Wellington on when visiting?

Nomad Capital Backpackers Wellington – Location is perfect, near the waterfront, shopping, bars and everything you need are in walking distance. The sleeping arrangement such as bed and pillows are great.

  • There is a free dinner included in a nearby pub that is sweet. Their cleanliness in the private rooms is brilliant. Also, the room’s ceilings at this place to stay in Wellington is really high making it feel extremely spacious.
  • One thing that might not be too great is the WiFi service. Even in the main areas, WiFi coverage is not the best. However, there was mention of the WiFi being updated.
  • If the WiFi gets sorted this will be a perfect hostel in Wellington.

Acorns Wellington bed and breakfast –  This great place to stay in Wellington is located in a very quiet neighbourhood on the east coast of Wellington and is also situated near the airport. The breakfast for you here is in self-serve style and it very tasty, a good breakfast makes it a good day.

  • When you arrive here there will be amazingly a tin with freshly baked biscuits (cookies) waiting for you to enjoy.
  • The owners of this Wellington guest house – Emily & Tim provide an information pack of Wellington for your arrival. This contains everything you need to know like the best things to do in Wellington.
  • There will be information such as how to get into the Wellington city centre, the best restaurants to visit in Wellington, best hikes in Wellington and the best things to do in Wellington at night.

Camp Wellington – This is one of the best campsites in New Zealand and is definitely the best place to stay in Wellington for backpackers and those in Campervans. The campsite is owned by a British guy and he is very welcoming. You will have amazing services such as free WiFi, free food and free tea/coffee. This is also one of the cheapest places to stay in Wellington. This campsite is also home to people who rent a room at this ex-airforce base.

  • The chill-out area is mega, it offers tv, heaters and games etc. The location of this best place to stay in Wellington is right on the coastline, making the views around it amazing. Make sure you check this place out on your visit to Wellington.
  • YouTube video of the awesome things to do in Wellington and summary 
  • So now you have a list of all the best things to do in Wellington on your visit to this quirky city in New Zealand. If you’re travelling New Zealand by vehicle, then you will pass through Wellington to take the ferry to the South Island or the other way round.
  • You can see everything to do in Wellington in a day or two, so I wouldn’t aim to stay here for much longer than that. But there is enough to see to enjoy a mega day out.
  • If you have found this post helpful then please share and let others discover how to have a great time visiting Wellington. You can also subscribe to my journey below. You will receive travel tips, my backpacking stories and updates on my latest posts from around the world. Enjoy your stay in Wellington 🙂


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Final Thoughts

You can probably now tell by this post, that I had a sweet time doing all these cool things to do in Wellington. There aren’t many great posts on stuff to do in Wellington, however, I reckon I have given you enough information to have a great time visiting this top city in New Zealand. Exploring New Zealand in a campervan is amazing and you definitely have to visit Wellington on your travels, even if it is for just a one-night stopover.

If you are still considering visiting Wellington, I would 100% recommend it to you. There is something to do for everyone in a quirky town. You could even just come for a day out and still see most of the things this epic city has to offer. Please if this post has been helpful share it on your social media channels 🙂 this helps others discover amazing places to visit in New Zealand.

Love great places in New Zealand? check out Milford Sound Cruise experience or please check out my the Kaikoura Dolphine experience, and the whale watching tour. I had a wicked time doing these!

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  1. Pingback: Want to swim with dolphins in Kaikoura? [READ THIS FULL GUIDE] - 2020

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