Things to Do and See in Wellington, New Zealand

One of my favorite spots in the world is Wellington, New Zealand. Surrounded by rolling hills, the city sits on the edge of a stunning harbor. It is renowned for its compact size making it an ideal walking city. When I visited Wellington, I walked and walked and walked, thoroughly enjoying a city that has much to offer. Here is a list of some of my favorite things to do in Wellington, New Zealand:

Cable Cars – One of Wellington’s most famous attractions are the cable cars. The cars run from Lambton Quay in the commercial heart of the city to the top of Upland Road where the Lookout, Carter Observatory, Planetarium and Cable Car Museum are located. The view from the lookout and the walk back down through the gardens and historic Bolton Street cemetery are the highlights.

wellington new zealand cable car

Te Papa Museum – Te Papa is the innovative national museum of New Zealand recognized for interactive and visitor focused experiences. Open every day of the year and free of charge, Te Papa is a great way to learn about the history and culture of New Zealand. The natural environment and the stories of New Zealand’s indigenous people, the Maori, are celebrated in permanent exhibitions. Te Papa’s Marae is a vibrant contemporary meeting house and a living communal center which is quite unique in a museum.

wellington new zealand te papa museum

Cuba Street – One of my favorite areas in Wellington was the Cuba Street District. This is a cool neighborhood full of funky shops and trendy cafes. It has loads of up-and-coming designers and vintage clothing. You’ll see a range of leading retailers, tattoo parlors, cafes, clothing, record and book shops which attract people from all around the region for what only Wellington’s Cuba District can offer. The atmosphere vibrates with life and a fascinating mix of people. Foodies will love the Cuba District for its wide range of dining options. I remember having wonderful Indian, Thai and Moroccan dinners that were absolutely brilliant.

wellington new zealand cuba street

Walk Around – The waterfront walk begins at the Post Office Square opposite Queens Wharf and works its way along the waterfront to Te Papa. Here you’ll see some of the buildings used in early Wellington wharfing, monuments to special events in Wellington and Civic Square which is home to the City Library, City Gallery, Wellington i-SITE Visitor Center and the Town Hall Complex. The City to Sea Walkway starts in the heart of central Wellington near Parliament and ends at the South Coast. This is an enjoyable and relaxing way to take in spectacular views of central Wellington and beyond.

wellington new zealand civic square

Wellington Botanical Garden – The Wellington Botanical Garden was another favorite of mine with unsurpassed views, unique landscape, exotic forests, native bush, and colorful floral displays.

wellington new zealand botanical garden rose

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8 thoughts on “Things to Do and See in Wellington, New Zealand

  • Great ideas for enjoying Wellington. Lived there 10 years and on a sunny calm day it’s pretty hard to beat. For a different perspective, try the Petone forshore, or a bit further around the bay at Eastbourne.

  • A really good overview of Wellington – a wonderful city although not called Windy Wellington for nothing!
    I would really recommend a trip to the Kakori Sanctuary A piece of land in a Wellington Suburb which has been fenced off, cleared of all non-native species (no mean feat) and returned to its natural habitat. It is a real escape from urban life! A real and rare find.

  • A really great overview – these are all some of my favorite spots in Welly. Thought I would also recommend Oriental Parade and all of the greenway walkways. Oh! And Mount Victoria.

  • I had a very enjoyable few days with my daughter in Wellington in April 2010. The weather was perfect – blue skies and no rain. It wasn’t even cold, so I think we struck it lucky. What a I liked was that the city is compact so it easy to walks around. When we did take a bus, we found the drivers friendly and helpful. We took a tour of the Lord of the Rings film locations which was lots of fun. And we found a great pasta restaurant before going out to the theater one night. I do like the European feel of Wellington.
    I live in Auckland where the things to do are very different to Wellington.

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