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Things to do in Wellington

Things to do in  Wellington

The world's coolest little capital

Fondly nicknamed Windy Welly for its blustery coastal breezes, the New Zealand capital is a hub for lovers of culture and the arts. Highlights include Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, where the country’s Maori culture and history is celebrated; Zealandia Ecosanctuary; and a thriving culinary and craft beer scene.

Top 15 attractions in Wellington

Wellington Cable Car

Operating since 1902, the Wellington Cable Car is one of the city’s most famous sights. The ride, from the central business district to the city’s tranquil botanic garden, offers a stunning light show inside the tunnels as well as gorgeous vistas of Mount Victoria and Wellington Harbour as you reach the top.More

Mt. Victoria Lookout

Looming out of the land at the end of Courtenay Place, Mt. Victoria is deeply embedded in the life of Wellington’s central city. Standing at more than 640 feet (195 meters) at its highest point, the Mt. Victoria Lookout offers 360-degree views of Wellington stretching out past the scenic harbor.More

Weta Workshop

From fantastical costumes and prosthetics to large-scale props and weaponry, 3D models, and animatronics, New Zealand’s Weta Workshop is a one-stop-shop for movie special effects. Most famous for their Academy Award-winning work on theLord of the Rings films, the studio has also worked on films includingGodzilla,Avatar, andSpiderman.More

Wellington Botanic Garden

One of New Zealand’s oldest gardens, Wellington Botanic Garden is an escape from the clamor of the city, in the city. Right behind the Wellington CBD in Thorndon, this 62-acre (25-hectare) garden is full of native and exotic plants. Stroll along one of the many calm, tranquil paths and take some relaxing time away from the urban jungle.More

Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa)

Located on Wellington’s waterfront, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (better known simply as Te Papa) holds massive collections of New Zealand art and artifacts. Hear stories from local communities, see some of the best contemporary Aotearoa art, and entertain your kids while teaching them about the world at the museum’s Discovery Centres.More

Zealandia Ecosanctuary

Zealandia Ecosanctuary is a unique wildlife conservation park in Karori, just minutes from central Wellington. A premier eco-attraction, the fully fenced urban project has restored much of the flora and fauna that once surrounded the city. Forest and wetlands provide habitat for more than 40 native bird species, amphibians, and reptiles.More

Old St. Paul's

Old St. Paul’sOld St. Paul’s Cathedral might look out of place nestled in the Wellington suburb of Thorndon, surrounded by multistory offices and modern apartment buildings—but this heritage-listed edifice was there long before any of them. Built in 1866, the beautiful and impeccably preserved Gothic church was constructed from native timber.The BasicsThough it no longer holds Sunday services, Old St. Paul’s remains Wellington’s oldest Anglican church. After a long battle to prevent its demolition in the 1960s, the building is now managed by Heritage New Zealand, who open the church to visitors almost every day of the year. Its impressive interior houses an interactive exhibition, “Read This Building,” that details the building’s construction.Old St. Paul’s is a popular stop for Wellington sightseeing tours, including shore excursions. Guided tours of the cathedral are available for a small fee.Things to Know Before You GoEntry to the church is by donation.The Old St. Paul’s gift shop sells locally made souvenirs; all proceeds go toward preservation work on the cathedral.Brochures about the church’s history and architecture are available in a number of languages.Old St. Paul’s is wheelchair accessible, though some aisles may be too narrow for motorized chairs.How to Get ThereThe cathedral is centrally located in Wellington, a block from the New Zealand Parliament Buildings and a roughly 5-minute walk from Lambton Quay. If you’re traveling by bus or train, get off at the interchange/railway station and head north up Mulgrave Street.When to Get ThereOld St. Paul’s is open during normal business hours except on most public holidays and when there is a private function. Visit on a sunny day—you can take a picnic and relax on the cathedral’s leafy grounds before or after your tour.Old St. Paul’s Unique ArchitectureOld St. Paul’s Cathedral is a classic Gothic Revival church and is known in particular for its grand interior design. The cathedral is built from rich brown native timber; in the building’s nave, the timber has been curved into huge arches, like the hull of an old wooden ship. The church is lined with stained glass windows and features a bold stained glass triptych behind the altar.More

New Zealand Parliament (Beehive)

New Zealand’s architectural symbol is the domed Parliament House in Wellington. Hosting the executive wing of Parliament, “the Beehive” was built between 1969 and 1981 and features murals and artworks by noted New Zealand artists. The building has 10 floors above ground including cabinet rooms and prime ministerial offices.More


The rural lifestyle and country charm of New Zealand’s heartland are revealed on a trip to the Wairarapa region, an area of sheep-raising, vineyards, and outdoor activities such as horseback riding and hiking through forest parks. Organized bike tours that take in the region’s farms and family-run wineries are most popular.More

Cuba Street

Home to dance companies, artist collectives, hip start-ups, and more, Wellington’s Cuba Street district is bristling with creative energy. The action is centered along a pedestrian mall, a hot spot for buskers and street performers that’s lined with historical buildings and full of stylish, artsy stores, cafés, and restaurants.More

Red Rocks Reserve (Pariwhero)

Fur seals aren’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when you think of New Zealand’s capital, but here at coastal Red Rocks Reserve (Pariwhero) just minutes outside of the city, colonies of large, bachelor seals can be found from May-October. Having lost the battle to become breeding males at the fur seal colonies on the South Island, these males swim up across the Cook Strait to winter on Wellington’s coast.Even in summer when seals aren’t around, the rugged trail leading out to the reserve offers sweeping views of the shoreline, where on the clearest of days you can see snowcapped peaks that rise from the neighboring South Island. The reserve gets its name from the reddish-hued rocks that dot the slippery coast, which are layers of ancient pillow lava formed over 200 million years ago. It’s the small deposits of iron ore that give the rocks their coloring, but ancient Maori believe the navigator, Kupe, spilled blood on the rocks when a paua, or abalone, suddenly clamped on his hand. The trail is also accessible to cyclists, joggers, and off-road drivers, and is the perfect way to connect with nature before spending a night on the town.More

Southward Car Museum

In an unassuming hangar off the South Island’s Kapiti Expressway is one of the southern hemisphere’s largest collections of vintage cars. The Southward Car Museum displays more than 400 vehicles, ranging from turn-of-the-century models and slick 1960s luxury cars to million-dollar Bugattis and immaculately-preserved family sedans.More

City Gallery Wellington

Permanent and touring exhibitions of contemporary art are displayed at City Gallery Wellington (Te Whare Toi). Works by New Zealand artists are highlighted along with a lively program of contemporary visual arts, architecture, and design. Major international exhibitions are likely to be staged at the gallery, all with free admission.More

Wellington Museum

The Wellington Museum, a Victorian-era warehouse on the Wellington waterfront, showcases the city’s stories and secrets. Get a taste for life in early Wellington, and follow its development from tribal land to colonial port—filled with sailors and seafarers—to, as coined by Lonely Planet, the “coolest little capital in the world.”More

Staglands Wildlife Reserve

Staglands Wildlife Reserve, a peaceful escape about an hour outside of Wellington’s hustle and bustle, is fun for children and big kids of all ages. Walk through a custom-designed nature park full of animals, from wild goats and guinea pigs to rainbow trout and endangered native birds, and feed and get to know these friendly critters.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Wellington

How to Spend 3 Days in Wellington

How to Spend 2 Days in Wellington

How to Spend 2 Days in Wellington

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Recent reviews from experiences in Wellington

Wonderful Private Tour in Wellington
tmejskinner, Dec 2022
Private Wellington Full Day Sightseeing Tour
If you want to see Wellington properly, Andrew is your man!
Bike riding in beautiful...
Daniel_F, Nov 2022
Guided Wellington Sightseeing Tour by Electric Bike
Bike riding in beautiful parts of the world is one of our favorite things to do while traveling.
Bryan_C, Nov 2022
Wellington Sightseeing Tour
Do this first and you’ll have a good sense of different parts of the cities and what to visit.
A pleasant day in Wellington
Maureen_A, Nov 2022
Wellington Sightseeing Tour
The tour took you to a wide variety of the places to see in the town which gave a us a good feel for what the town has to offer.
A nice day out
Christopher_L, Oct 2022
From Cave to Coast Wellington Highlights Tour
Lots to see in Wellington, a nice day out.
A great way to spend a couple of hours.
Mohana_R, Dec 2022
Adrenalin Forest Obstacle Course in Wellington
A great way to get into the outdoors while in Wellington if you're traveling with kids.
Memorable excursion
LarryDinges, Dec 2022
Wellington Region Full Day Private Tour: Get out of the City
She wanted to introduce herself, explain the itinerary, and ask if we had any places we wanted to see that were not on the schedule.
Loved this tour, we were...
Teresa_M, Oct 2022
Lord of Rings Half Day Tour
Then drove out to the woods to see where a variety of scenes were shot.
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People Also Ask

What is Wellington popular for?

Wellington is known for its creative arts scene, which contrasts with its more straight-laced governmental and civil service work scene. It’s also popular for its cafes and restaurants. Art galleries, national museums, local and international music concerts, and creative local designers draw crowds in Wellington.

How many days do you need in Wellington?

Many travelers find that 3–5 days is an ideal amount of time in Wellington. Split your time among the galleries, museums, shops, restaurants of the central city, as well as on excursions to outer suburbs along the coast.

What attractions are in Wellington?

Top attractions in Wellington are New Zealand Parliment Building (the Beehive), the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa), Wellington Cable Car, Wellington Botanic Garden, Weta Cave Workshop, Zealandia Ecosanctuary, City Gallery Wellington, and the Cuba Street mall for shops and restaurants.

How do I spend a day in Wellington?

Spend one day in Wellington in the central city area, checking out the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa), City Gallery Wellington, shops and restaurants around the Cuba Street mall area, and—if the weather’s fine—the beaches of central Oriental Bay.

What is there to do in Wellington in winter?

There are plenty of indoor attractions to enjoy in Wellington during winter. Wander the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa) for hours. Also check out the City Gallery Wellington, take a tour of the Weta Cave Workshop, or hunker down in one of the city’s top-notch restaurants.

Is Wellington worth visiting?

Yes. Wellington is worth visiting. There are many attractions to enjoy, whatever your interests, from museums and galleries to shops and restaurants to outdoor pursuits not far from the city.


Wellington information

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