Being Wellingtonians by heart and by trade, we thought we’d put together all of the wonderful places to see and things to do in Wellington – whether you are visiting or moving base to the capital city!
The Zealandia sanctuary in Wellington is home to New Zealand’s rare native wildlife and is the world’s first fully fenced urban ecosanctuary. Zealandia has tours through the day and night including private tours for those wanting an exclusive tour with a guide. The day tour takes about 2 hours to complete and the night tour 2.5 hours. There are also twilight tours and tours for children.
There is an entry fee to Zealandia – which is $22 for adults and $10 for children (ages 5 – 17).
Explore Wellington’s Zealandia
Mt Victoria Walkway & Lookout
You can walk, bike or drive up to the Mt Victoria lookout, which offers a beautiful panoramic view of Wellington city, the Cook Strait to the south and the harbour and Hutt Valley to the north. There are two walking loops – a full loop that takes 1.5 hours and a shorter loop that is 45 minutes.
Weta Cave Tour
For Lord of the Rings fans, or just movie buffs, the Weta Cave is brilliant. They have incredible artefacts from the world of movies with sculptures, prop replicas, art prints and apparel. Entry into the Weta Cave is free and includes a documentary and mini-museum. They also have a number of guided tours and workshops where you can learn about sculpting, special effects make up, costumes and more.
Visit the New Zealand Parliament
The New Zealand parliament in Wellington is open for people to explore. You can see the buildings, learn about parliament processes and also see artwork and objects that are in the Parliamentary collection.
Daily public tours are available from 10 am to 4 pm and booking is recommended prior to the tour as there is a limit to the number of people allowed in a tour group. This is a free guided tour where you can the Beehive Theatrette, Parliamentary House, Grand Hall, the Galleria and much more. There is also a twilight tour every Thursday from 6pm to 7 pm, a “Highlights of Parliament Tour” which is 30 minutes, a “Kids in the House Tour”, a “Self-Guided Outdoor Tour” and private group tours and trade tours options.
There are also exhibitions that take place at the designated exhibition space where artists can showcase their work.
Learn more about parliament tours
Conquer Mt Kaukau
Mt Kaukau is the highest visible point in Wellington. It has a beautiful viewpoint at the top with views of the city and harbour, Hutt Valley, the Tararua range, Poirua and the South Island.
The walk up the track begins at Woodmancote Road and Simla Crescent in Khandallah, Sirsi Terrace in Broadmeadows, and Truscott Avenue in Johnsonville. The entire loop about an hour or so to complete.
The walk is steep in places, but tracks are well formed and there are plenty of rest stops on the way.
Conquer Mt Kaukau
Go for A Walk Along the Kapiti Coast
The Kapiti Coast spans about 40km long and is absolutely breath-taking. You can walk along the coast, enjoy the views or head to Kapiti Island for a nature tour.
There are lots of beaches, cafés, breweries and picnic spots along the coast too. The Kapiti coast is about an hour’s drive from Wellington city and is a must see if you are in Wellington.
Enjoy A Drink or A Meal
Sometimes, the best thing to do is just sit back and enjoy a delicious meal. Wellington’s Cuba Street has some of the city’s best cafés and restaurants to choose from. There are also come quirky stores and sculptures to see around the place.
The Red Rocks Seals
The Red Rock walkway is about 40 minutes one-way and features the southern coastline, a Lord of the Rings filming location, geological aspects and Maori history. If you are lucky, you can see some fur seals too!
The red rocks were formed 200 million year ago and Maori folkfare has some stories relating to it!
It is 30-minute drive up from Wellington to the west end of Owhiro Bay Parade where the walkway begins.
Explore the Red Rock coastal walk
Ride A Mountain Bike at Pencarrow Coast
The Pencarrow Coast trail is an easy grade 2 bike trail that takes you to Pencarrow Lighthouse, New Zealand’s first permanent lighthouse. It starts from Burdans Gate and is about 7 kms to the lighthouse on a side trail. The direct route takes you to Lake Kohangatera, which is about 9 kms in total from the starting point.
You’ll see lots of native seabirds and plant life and a beautiful view of the coastline through the trail.
If you enjoy mountain biking, there are plenty of other trails to choose from too.
The Historic Wellington Cable Car
If you are in Wellington, you can’t miss out on the city’s historic cable car that gives you a sneak peak of Wellington’s charm. It takes you from Lambton Quay to the Kelburn Lookout with plenty of stops on the way for great picture opportunities of the Clifton murals, a walk at Kelburn park, and eateries at the top of the cable car with fantastic views.
Learn more about the Wellington Cable Car
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