Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, yet it doesn’t give off that big vibe due to its relatively small size which boasts a compact downtown area that is easy to explore on foot.
Wellington is a feel-good place, with charm and style, the city is packed with busy restaurants and cool bars and is the undisputable café capital of New Zealand, it also has a thriving arts and music scene.
Make sure you stop for at least a day or two to explore this cute and vibrant city, there is more to it that the ferry terminal that takes you to the South Island. As it is small, it means it is easy to fit a lot in a short space of time.
There is an abundance of things to see and do in Windy Wellie (as it’s affectionately known, due to how much wind the city receives) here are our top 10 cool things to do in and around this cool little capital.
9. KAITOKE NATIONAL PARK
(I was being Legolas, pahaha)
Get out of the city and explore the suburbs, a 50-minute drive north east will take you to Kaitoke National Park which is better known as Rivendell in Lord Of The Rings, still a gorgeous park to explore, even if you aren't into LOTR
Admission- $ Free
Location- Akatarawa Valley, Upper Hutt 5372
8. RETRO CINEMA
A gorgeous old fashioned, retro cinema in Courtenay Place, showing all the latest films, it’s too cute to miss
Admission- from $10
Take a 60 minute ‘Introducing Parliament’ tour. Learn about the parliamentary process and NZ history whilst walking around the iconic buildings the biggest being ‘The Beehive’ name so as it looks like a giant…beehive. See the parliamentary chambers and go underground to see the ‘Base Isolator’ which are the buildings foundations which were rebuilt away from the ground, meaning it will only move a little, if any during an earthquake.
Admission- $ Free, book at least 2 days in advance, tours depart on the hour from 10am to 4pm
Location- Pipitea, Wellington 6160
6. THE GREAT WAR EXHIBITION
Interesting museum all about World War 1 ,and outside visit the War memorial
Open- 9am- 6pm
Location- Pukeahu National War Memorial Park
5. WELLINGTON CABLE CAR & BOTANICAL GARDENS
A tourist magnet as well as a mean of transport for the locals, is to take a spin on the historic Wellington Cable Car. First opened to the public in 1902, the cable car is still running strong and has become something of a city icon. The track climbs 102metres over the city bringing passengers to the beautiful landscaped botanical gardens which overlook the city. Also, at the top there is a small museum that gives a great overview of the history of cable car use in Wellington.
Admission- $7.50 return / $4 one way
Open- The cable car departs every ten minutes seven days a week.
Location- 280 Lambton Quay, Wellington, 6011
4. CUBA STREET / COURTENAY PLACE
Cuba Street is the hip and happening place to hang out in Wellington. Located along a pedestrianised street you will find some of the city’s best restaurants and cafes as well as vintage shops. Head there for brunch or a night of partying. A total must is having an AMAZING milkshake in Fidel’s (the best Pam has ever, ever had!) Nearby you will find Courtenay Place and here you will find some top recommended restaurants courtesy of Lonely Planet guide books, these include Sweet Mothers Kitchen and Little Penang.
Location- Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington 6011 / Courtenay Pl, Te Aro, Wellington 6011
3. MT VICTORIA
Drive or walk up Mt Victoria where you are treated to an impressive lookout point. From the top of the peak you can see the city below and all the surrounding area, if you like planes then watch the planes take off and land at the city’s airport. If you are a Lord Of The Rings fan (who isn’t?) then you will love the chance to explore the woodlands on Mt Victoria that were used as filming locations
Location- Mt Victoria
Located in the suburb of Miramar, 20 mins out of city you will find WETA Workshops which is home to world-leading design and effects facility, producing special effects and props for a staggering amount of productions since being founded in 1987. The most well-known movies include I Robot, King Kong, Peter Pan and not forgetting LOTR and The Hobbit. There are several tours you can join; the best value is a rare opportunity to get behind the scenes and look at some of the work that goes into creating the special effects are on the ‘WETA Cave Workshop Tour’
Admission- Free to visit Weta Cave. Tours start at $28 +
1. TE PAPA MUSEUM
Te Papa means “our place” in Maori, which is a very apt name for the country’s national museum and art gallery. The sheer size of the place is overwhelming, with a huge variety of exhibits crammed into the floors. You will find everything here from
Fossils, stuffed animals and mammals, including the largest colossal squid specimen in the world which measures a staggering 4.2 metres in length and weighs in at 495kg, you can experience a real-life earthquake simulator and get tossed around in the proceed. The museum has also teamed up with WETA Workshop for ‘Gallipoli: The Scale Of Our War’ which has a collection of human sculptures 2 and half times the normal size that tell the story of the Gallipoli Campaign in World War.
Location- 55 Cable St, Te Aro, Wellington 6011
We personally love Wellington, for being a small city, it is certainly packed with many things to see and do.
Have you been to Wellington before and loved it as much as us?