Five Reasons to Visit Wellington

Planning on taking a trip to New Zealand’s capital city? Here are my tips for the 5 things to do in Wellington during your visit.

5 Things to do in Wellington

1.  Take in the views

Taking in the views of Wellington and its surrounding area is an essential activity for every vacationer to Wellington.  For well over a century, the cable car has been transporting passengers from Lambton Quay up to Kelburn where they can enjoy the cable car museum or visit the observatory before walking back down through the city’s botanical garden.  Alternatively, a great view can be had from the Mount Victoria Lookout.  Reached on foot or by car, the lookout is located 196 metres above the city and affords views of the Hutt Valley, Somes Island and beyond – as well as Wellington itself, of course.  Whether you make an early start to catch the sunrise, or grab fish and chips for the ultimate picnic, on a fine day you won’t be disappointed.

5 Things to do in Wellington: Wellington at dawn
Wellington at dawn: Photo Flickr Aidan CC 2.0

2.  Drink a craft beer

Wellington is often referred to as New Zealand’s craft beer capital.   Around 27% of all beer sold on tap in the city is craft beer.  Each August, the city plays host to Beervana, the country’s largest beer festival.  There’s even a craft beer trail – a self-guided walk which takes in a host of craft beer bars, several breweries and a bunch of shops selling some great local ales.  The majority are scattered throughout the centre of the city and there’s even a chance to win prizes for completing the trail if you pick up a brochure and collect stamps from each place.  Just don’t try to do it all at once…

3.  Learn about New Zealand’s art, culture and science

The Te Papa museum, located on Wellington’s waterfront, is a free and innovative museum which contains a wealth of exhibits on the country’s physical landscapes as well as recounting the stories of the Maori.

5 Things to do in Wellington: Te Papa Museum
Te Papa Museum: Photo Wikipedia Partyzane CC by 3.0

As well as its permanent collection, the museum showcases a range of temporary exhibits, including a celebration of 75 years of Air New Zealand (showing until June 2015) and the tale of Shrek the Sheep, the legendary animal who evaded shearers in Otago for six years before being shorn on live TV.  Shrek lived out his years raising money for the Cure Kids charity.

5 Things to do in Wellington: Shrek the Sheep
Shrek the Sheep

4.  Let your hair down on Cuba Street

Other things to do in Wellington include exploring the various vintage shops, art galleries, bars, cafes and restaurants along Cuba Street. Named after a settler ship rather than the country, Cuba Street is a thriving creative district. Whether you stick with the theme at Fidel’s Cafe or check out award-winners like Matterhorn and Logan Brown, you’ll be sure of a good night out.

5.  Head out of town to Zealandia

A world away from the city yet just down the road, this is Wellington’s best eco-attraction.  Zealandia’s exhibition tells the story of 80 million years of history in this valley and how it is being restored to how it would have looked before humans settled in the area.  Walking trails enable visitors to explore native bush, where they might spot kaka (forest parrots) and other indigenous birds, as well as frogs, geckos and skinks.  Night tours offer the opportunity to see nocturnal little-spotted kiwis and glow worms. Zealandia is well connected from downtown Wellington with a free connection from the cable car.

Do you have anything to add to our list of 5 things to do in Wellington? Let us know in the comments below!

About JuliaHammond


Julia Hammond is a Geography teacher turned travel writer with a passion for places. Winning Mail Travel's Deep South competition was the catalyst to write for a diverse range of publications including Bradt's Bus Pass Britain Rides Again. She’s written Kindle guides to Cape Town, Peru and London for Unanchor and advice on Savannah for Wanderlust. When not travelling, she can be found at home in Essex planning her next trip, her two golden retrievers curled up at her feet.

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    Hi Megan, yes I think it would be great fun to compare! Enjoy!

  4. Avatar for JuliaHammond

    Meg - Mapping Megan

    Great list of things to do in Wellington! Will have to head over to test out the craft beer scene – I’m from Tasmania which is just a little jump across the Tasman Sea & has the BEST craft beer in the region (lol though I’m bias) – would be interesting to compare :D!


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