Being the second largest city in New Zealand, Wellington has many natural and cultural attractions that make it popular among tourists. It’s conveniently located between two islands and has the hippest restaurants, bars, and cafes.
With all these incredible sights, there are plenty of activities to do when visiting Wellington, no matter your budget or age. Read on to learn more about Wellington’s must-do activities.
1. Immerse Yourself in New Zealand Culture by Visiting Te Papa
Home to the biggest colossal squid specimen, Te Papa museum is a must-see site during your Wellington tour. The museum exhibits permanent and modern artworks that reflect New Zealand’s biodiversity, culture, and history.
Check out Te Marae to learn more about native Maori people, including their traditional and contemporary art and design. You can also check out unique displays commemorating World War 2.
2. Visit The Underground Market
Located in an underground parking spot in Wellington, touring the underground market is the perfect activity if you want to buy a souvenir or learn more about Newzealand culture. The market consists of 90 stalls that sell handmade crafts; there are plenty of options to suit your preferences, from vintage to upcycled goods.
3. Experience Wellington Wildlife at Zealandia
If you’d like to know more about New Zealand’s unique ecosystem, visiting Zealandia should be on your to-do list, as it’s home to various birds and reptiles. The park is easily accessible from Wellington, and you’re bound to see birds native to New Zealand, such as the North Island robin, tui, kaka, and Takahe.
The park preserves these birds in a predator-free environment allowing visitors to get up close with birds in their natural habitat.
4. Relax at Oriental Bay’s Beaches
If you’d like to kick back and soak in the sun, visiting Oriental Bay is a must. Its white sandy beaches and clear blue water are perfect for swimming or surfing. There are various beachfront ice cream spots and cafes where you can enjoy delicious treats.
If you’re not into sunbathing or swimming, oriental bay beach serves as an excellent cycling and jogging route.
5. Have a Picnic at the Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens is a 25-hectare land that serves as an excellent picnic site and gives you a chance to explore New Zealand’s unique fauna and flora. The park features seasonal flower displays, colourful plant collections, and native forests.
If you’re visiting this park during the summer, be on the lookout for concerts in the area. You can also visit the park at night for a chance to see glowworms.
6. Get Close to The Stars at the Carter Observatory
Also known as Space Place, the Carter observatory is an excellent place to see stars through the Thomas Cooke telescope. At Space place, you learn more about planets, galaxies, and stars and enjoy planetarium shows.
The best time to visit is on a clear night so that you can look through the telescope. The observatory is usually open on Fridays, Tuesdays, weekends, and daily when children are on holiday.
7. Drive or Hike to the Mount Victoria Lookout
Mt. Victoria is 196m above Wellington and is the ideal location for people who love selfies, as it offers a 360-degree view of the rolling hills, harbour and surrounding city. The best time to visit Mount Victoria is just before twilight so that you can catch the sunset. If you’re too tired to hike, you can opt for a car rental in Wellington or public transportation.
8. Use The Iconic Wellington Cable Car
The Wellington car cable is a city landmark that has been operational since 1902. It’s the only operational cable railway used by travellers and locals to go to the Wellington shopping centre and the botanical garden.
The ride offers more than a commute as you’ll get to see breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding hill. You’ll pass through two-hundred-meter tunnels with dazzling lights as you ride through.
9. Ferry to Somes or Matiu Island
This island has a fascinating history as it served as an early settlement for the Maori people before it was converted into a war camp and later a quarantine station. It’s also home to unique birdlife that contributes to its colourful history. You can explore the island for two to three hours before ferrying back to the city centre.
10. Sample the Cuisine
Visiting a new place isn’t worth it unless you sample some local delicacies. Wellington has some of the finest delicacies in Newzealand; visit Capital Market or Wellington Trawling market to try out street food. If you want to sample traditional New Zealand dishes, head to the Dockside restaurant.
From sampling the cuisine to experiencing wildlife, there are many activities you can do when you visit Wellington. The city’s relaxing gateways and outdoor adventures allow visitors to discover New Zealand’s geological and indigenous histories more than any other city. Try out the above ten activities when visiting Wellington to make your trip memorable.