Things to Do in Wellington: An Insider's Guide

Things to Do in Wellington

blog authorBy Johanna Hansen shield verification Verified Expert

    Welcome to Wellington, the cultural and creative heart of New Zealand. Affectionately known as "Windy Welly," this charming capital is brimming with art, gastronomy, nature, and adventure.

    Whether you're seeking fun things to do in Wellington for the whole family or want to discover the city's hidden gems, our guide covers everything you need to make your visit memorable. Get ready to hire a campervan in Wellington and explore the coolest little capital in the world.

    Wellington's Cultural Gems

    Te Papa Tongarewa

    Start your cultural journey at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, where stories of New Zealand's land, culture, and people come alive through innovative and interactive exhibits. It's not just an essential destination for any first-time visitor; it's also one of the best free things to do in Wellington.

    Te Papa Tongarewa

    Wellington Museum

    Delve deeper into the city's history at the Wellington Museum. Situated in a beautiful heritage building on the waterfront, the museum offers a fascinating journey through Wellington's past and present.

    City Gallery Wellington

    Art enthusiasts won't want to miss City Gallery Wellington, the city’s main contemporary visual arts venue. With a dynamic programme of exhibitions and events, it's an ideal destination for a dose of creativity.

    Weta Workshop

    Step into the world of film at Weta Workshop, the award-winning design studio behind special effects for blockbusters like "The Lord of the Rings." A tour of the Weta Cave is a must for any movie fan, and a fantastic thing to do in Wellington with kids.

    Exploring Wellington’s Scenic Spots

    Wellington Botanic Garden

    Escape to the lush, tranquil settings of Wellington Botanic Garden. Explore 25 hectares of unique landscapes, from native forests to colourful floral displays, and let the kids run wild at the playground. It's a picture-perfect spot for a picnic and a great free thing to do in Wellington.

    Mount Victoria Lookout

    For the best panoramic views of the city, make your way to the Mount Victoria Lookout. The 196-metre summit offers 360-degree vistas of Wellington's cityscape, harbour, and surrounding hills. And if you're up for it, walking up is a fun, free activity.

    Zealandia Ecosanctuary

    A visit to Zealandia is a leap back in time to a world before human arrival in New Zealand. This groundbreaking ecosanctuary houses some of New Zealand's rarest wildlife, including kiwi, kākā, and tuatara. A must-visit for nature lovers.

    Wellington Waterfront

    Stroll along the vibrant Wellington Waterfront, home to some of the city's best restaurants, bars, and shops. Along the way, discover public art installations, relax in waterfront parks, and enjoy street performances.


    Food and Drink in Wellington

    Famous Cafés

    Wellington is renowned as New Zealand's coffee capital. Sample the city's coffee culture at popular spots like Mojo Coffee Central, Fidel's Café, and Memphis Belle Coffee House. Each offers a unique take on the perfect brew.

    Top Restaurants

    From casual food markets to fine dining establishments, Wellington's diverse food scene caters to all taste buds. Check out the culinary delights on Cuba Street, or treat yourself to an exceptional dining experience at Logan Brown or Whitebait.

    Vibrant Nightlife

    Experience Wellington's lively night scene with a range of bars, clubs, and live music venues. Swing by The Library for creative cocktails, or enjoy craft beers at Garage Project Taproom.

    Wellington at night

    Outdoor Adventures in and around Wellington

    Hiking and Walking Tracks

    Wellington boasts numerous walking and hiking tracks with breathtaking views. Take the scenic City to Sea Walkway, trek the Southern Walkway, or challenge yourself with the Red Rocks Walkway. And for an easy family stroll, check out the Wellington Waterfront Walk.

    Water Sports in Wellington Harbour

    For water sports enthusiasts, Wellington Harbour offers plenty of options. Enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding, or even diving – hire equipment locally or join an organised excursion.

    Island Escapes: Matiu/Somes Island and Kapiti Island

    For a dose of tranquility and wildlife, take a ferry trip to Matiu/Somes Island or Kapiti Island. These conservation havens offer unique opportunities to see rare bird species, making them ideal for things to do near Wellington.

    Wellington for Shopaholics

    Lambton Quay

    Shop till you drop at Lambton Quay, the heart of Wellington's retail scene. Discover high-end New Zealand designers, international brands, and local artisans.

    Cuba Street

    Cuba Street, Wellington

    Cuba Street is a haven for vintage finds, unique fashion, music, and art. Don't miss the bustling Cuba Street Night Market on Friday evenings for food, craft stalls, and live music.

    Unforgettable Events and Festivals

    Wellington on a Plate

    Food lovers should time their visit for Wellington on a Plate. This annual food festival celebrates the region's culinary delights with pop-ups, food trucks, and events across the city.

    World of WearableArt™

    For a taste of Wellington's creative spirit, check out the World of WearableArt™. This international design competition attracts entries from artists across the globe, culminating in a spectacular show.

    Planning Your Visit


    When to Visit

    While Wellington is a year-round destination, the warmer months from December to March are particularly pleasant for outdoor activities. However, if you're keen on events like the World of WearableArt™ or Wellington on a Plate, you may want to plan your visit around these happenings.

    Getting Around

    Navigating Wellington is a breeze thanks to its compact size and efficient public transport. The city is also perfect for cycling or, even better, exploring by foot. If you're venturing beyond the city, hiring a campervan from Campervan New Zealand offers the freedom to explore at your own pace.

    Start Your Trip to Wellington

    Wellington, with its bustling arts scene, culinary delights, outdoor adventures, and captivating history, is a city that certainly punches above its weight. From free things to do in Wellington to memorable splurges, there's something for everyone in this vibrant city.

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