Nestled between rolling green hills and glistening harbor, Wellington on the south side of the North Island is praised for its art, culture, and natural beauty. The beautiful scenery and coastline are the main reasons for tourists to visit this capital. For adventurers, Wellington has a long list of exciting activities to keep your adrenaline running through your veins. And for those looking for a relaxing time ahead, the hot pools, vineyards, and countless cultural attractions are the way to go.
Given the wide range of things to do in Wellington, here are my top picks of activities for visitors to this capital that Lonely Planet has named the ‘coolest little capital in the world’.
The National Museum of NZ – Te Papa on the water. It is an innovative museum and has made a name for itself as a world leader in the interactive museum, more aimed at visitors, to provide real museum experiences. Here visitors can discover the amazing stories of this country and the people who live here, the diverse art and visual culture through exhibitions. There are free events and entertainment, speaking engagements, lectures, and much more.
Wellington Zoo – With over 100 species and around 500 animals, including Sumatran tiger, Tuatara, brown kiwi, and red panda, the best small zoo in the world offers an opportunity to get an up-close look at all native treasures and endangered exotic animals.
Karori Wildlife Sanctuary – It is a haven for endangered native birds and wildlife. Visitors learn a lot about the unique nature of New Zealand. There are some of the rarest birds, reptiles, and insects found here that live in their natural habitat, including hihi, gable roof, tuatara, kaka, and small spotted kiwi. Exhibitions are held to show the natural history and the conservation movement.
Mount Victoria – Although there are larger mountains near Wellington, none of them offer such a panoramic view of the city as Mount Victoria. The venue was expertly used in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Wellington Cable Car – It is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions that runs from Lambton Quay, passes through The Terrace’s business towers, and eventually pops up in Kelburn. It goes past Kelburn Park, Victoria University to the top of Upland Road, to reach the Lookout, Carter Observatory, Planetarium, and Cable Car Museum.
Food and drink
Wellington is a foodie delight, famous for its tucked-away bars (with award-winning bartenders), restaurants, quirky cafes, and some excellent coffee. Visit Courtenay Place or Cuba Street to be among the good things.
The excellent wealth of wine producers in Wairarapa makes the place a must for everyone. The train service from central Wellington takes you to the vineyard in no time where you can sample some world-class Pinot Noir.
The options for accommodation in Wellington are diverse and there is something for every budget and need for visitors. A variety of accommodation options are available, from luxury lodges to nature-friendly camping facilities, in addition to regular 5-star boutique lodge accommodation, hotels, and motels.
If you’re going for a weekend or a long vacation and are looking for long term accommodation in Wellington, the luxury hotels or budget backpackers are the perfect places to lay your head.
Art and culture
The numerous museums and galleries in the heart of Wellington show the heartbeat and creativity of the capital. There are shows almost every night, from live music to local theater, underlining the city’s cultural base.
There are plenty of activities to do in Wellington, and probably not all of them can be done. This article aims to help you get a good foundation and make your routes a little easier and much more fun and informative before visiting Wellington.