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 to enjoy in Wellington. Here's a list, that our staff put together, of the best 50 Free Things to Do in Wellington...
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! There are loads of thinbgs to learn about the history of New Zealand here. Read more about Te Papa.
2. Walk round the Botanic Gardens
Only a 20 minute walk from centre of Wellington 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 their mini museum, watch a documentary or just wander around the life size sculptures. Read more about the Weta Cave.
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. 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.
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
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.
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 memorial 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. You can find some amazing bargains.
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 about a 23km drive.
28. Take a tour of the Beehive / Parliament buildings
Pretend you're interested in New Zealand politics and visit the Beehive!
29. Get wet at the Bucket Fountain on Cuba Street
I'm not sure it was designed to get passers by wet but it does!
30. Visit the Cable Car Museum
Located at the top of the cable car 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
And take your photos of it for instagram!
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. 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.
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.
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 staff at your accommodation
Spend time planning the rest of your NZ holiday and chat to the staff at your accommodation! New Zealanders love their country (for good reason) and will happily give you advice on what to see and do in Wellington as well as the rest of New Zealand.
50. Take a free map from reception and find all these great places!