wellington

Wellington is the music and cultural hub of New Zealand - quirky streets, sweet bars, good food and loads of free stuff to do! Go walking, learn about New Zealands history or chill on a beach, you'll find plenty of free activities you'll enjoy in Wellington. The staff at Base Wellington whipped us up a list of 50 Free Things to Do in Wellington...

1. Te Papa - the National Museum of New Zealand

One of the best museums in the world - it's well worth leaving a gold coin donation by the way as you can spend all day there!

2. Walk round the Botanic Gardens

Only a 20 minute walk from the CBD and the views of the city are lovely never mind the beautiful gardens you can explore.

3. Go to the Weta Cave in Miramar

It still amazes me that this is free. This is where the costumes and props are created for films such as Lord of the Rings and King Kong! Check out there mini museum, watch a documentary or just wander around the life size sculptures

    weta cave wellington own 19

4. Chill out like a hipster at Frank Kitt's park

Definitely worth visiting on a Saturday so you can also visit the Underground Market, Frank Kitt's Park is a lovely waterfront location to chill out amongst the sulptures.

5. Go round the bays and have a picnic at Scorching Bay

It'll take you around 3 hours if you stick to the coastal path, so take water and wear comfy shoes!

6. Visit the Marine Education Centre at Island Bay

and see lots of sea creatures.

7. Jump off a wharf into the sea

Make sure you do this safely though and head to the diving board and diving platform at Taranaki Wharf which have been put there purely for this popular pastime. Or just swim in the ocean.

8. Drive through the Victoria Tunnel

and beep your horn. It's full of especially exuberant drivers

9. Walk up to Mount Victoria for a wonderful view of the city

'Nuff said.

free things to do in wellington - walk to mount victoria

By Kristina D.C. Hoeppner (Flickr: View of Wellington from Mt Victoria (10)) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

10. Go to Old St Paul's Cathedral in Thorndon

This is where many state funerals are held. It's a bit of an odd looking building if I'm honest.

11. Walk out to Red Rocks and see the seals

Head out early as this walk can take 2 hours if you're walking briskly. Head along the Red Rocks Walkway!

12. Go for a stroll around the scenic Island Bay

A lovely coastal suburb of Wellington with a nice beach.

island bay welcome sign

Drrobert at en.wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

13. Go outside on a clear night and look at the stars

With so little light pollution compared to the rest of the world wherever you are in New Zealand we recommend that you look up at night!

14. Drive or walk up to the Brooklyn wind turbine

The view is worth it!

15. Walk into the Embassy Theatre

and discover where the LOTR trilogy premiered.

16. Download the Welly Walks Iphone app

"discover all the favourite tourist spots in Wellington; nature reserves, forests, farmlands and the rugged South Coast; landmarks and historic sites; public art and picturesque views"

17. Walk along Wellington Waterfront

See if you can spot all the poetry blocks set along the shore.

18. People Watch on the Waterfront

If you don't fancy walking along the waterfront, find yourself a spot to people watch. There's a fascinating array of people wandering around.

19. Watch Fire Dancers on Tuesday nights

Every Tuesday at dusk (weather permitting of course), fire dancers have permission to practise in Frank Kitt's Park.

20. Listen to a busker on Courteney Place

Or just wander and listen to different buskers all round town. There are some really good ones!

21. Look around the Petone shops

You might have to get a ferry to get there, or you could of course use your car and then go window shopping.

22. Pay your respects at the National War Memorial

A war memorail is always a sombre place to visit. Check out the Hall of Memories, also located within the National War Memorial Park.

23. Enjoy retro music

Head to Boogie Wonderland and Electric Avenue.

24. Try on some vintage clothes

Walk up Cuba Street and check out all the trendy cafes and vintage clothes shops. 

    cuba street wellington commons

By Exmeasententia (Exmeasententia) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

25. Check out some of Wellingtons original buildings

Take a walk down Ascot Street to see them.

26. See some spectacular views

Walk along the Skyline from Mt Kaukau (just above Khandallah) to Crofton Downs (the most spectacular views!) and have a drink and a meal in The Village.

27. Drive out to Eastbourne and check out the sweet beaches

Head down Marine Parade and stay next to the coast. It's a bout a 23km drive.

28. Take a tour of the Beehive / Parliament buildings

Pretend you're interested in New Zealand politics and visit the Beehive!

free things to do in wellington parliament house beehive

By Ulrich Lange, Bochum, Germany (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

29. Get wet at the Bucket Fountain on Cuba Street

I'm not sure it was designed to get passersby wet but it does!

30. Visit the Cable Car Museum

Located at the top and near the Botanic Gardens

31. Go into the wild in Otari – Wiltons bush native botanic garden

Explore New Zealands only botanic garden dedicated to native plants. Make sure to check out the canopy walkway.

32. Visit Mount Kaukau

You'll get panoramic views of Wellington and good workout to get there!

33. Check out the fine architecture of Parliament house

An impressive building located next to the beehive shaped "Beehive" (offiicially known as the Executive Wing of the New Zealand Parliament Buildings!)

34. Walk the Bolton Street Cemetery if you are brave

It's spooky but eerily beautiful.

35. Watch the Wellington Cable Car in action from the top of Kelburn

    Wellington Cable Car and City

36. If you have a car, take a lovely drive around Days Bay

Check out the art galleries and artisan shops before settling on the pretty beach

37. Check out the Petone settler’s museum

First built to commemorate the arrival of the first British immigrants to Pito-one’s shores in 1840, a fascinating place to visit.

38. Visit an exhibition at Parliament

It's not all about politics in New Zealands parliament buildings. Open every Wednesday and Thursday from 10am until 3pm at Bowen House

39. Catch a free gig at MEOW lounge bar

A great venue for music with a nice dancefloor

40. Spend a long afternoon on the Wellington Writers Walk

There are 23 sculptures on this walk all with quotes from some of Wellingtons most well known writers. Combine that with a walk along the waterfront and it's a nice way to spend an afternoon.

41. In summer check out a free concert or light show

'Gardens Magic' held during summer on the Botanic Garden Soundshell stage. Concerts from 8 - 9.30pm, followed by a light show until 10.30pm. Magical!

42. See the original Treaty of Waitangi

Head to the National Library and see the original Treaty of Waitangi, the Declaration of Independence and the Women's Suffrage Petition.

43. Sit under the Telecom Christmas tree

Only at Christmas obviously! It's located in the park across from New World...

44. Check out the Saint Mary of Angels church

It's a beautiful and historic church which is a Category 1 Heritage building.

st mary of the angels church wellington-commons

By Michal Klajban (Hikingisgood.com) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

45. Walk to Oriental Parade and sit on top of the Fishermans table restaurant

You'll enjoy lovely views and the smell of tasty fish and chips!

46. Check out the Left Bank Market down Cuba Street

Every Friday from 5-11pm enjoy international food, local performers, artists and private stalls.

47. Enjoy more market fun on Saturday night

Following the success of the Friday night markets, Lower Cuba Street is also host to a market on Saturday night from 5-11pm.

48. Visit Wellingtons Public Library

Perfect for bookworms!

49. Chat to the friendly Base reception staff when they aren’t busy

They love meeting new people!

50. Take a free map from reception and find all these great places!

 

We also have a list of the best Wellington Attractions - What To Do in Wellington!

Staying in Wellington? Book accommodation at Base Wellington here.

Main image: The Arts: Walk the streets of Wellington or Auckland. 'There's a huge art scene with a lot of energy', and some pretty amazing things. (James Cameron). CREDIT: Julian Apse, Tourism New Zealand

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