New Zealand’s best rainy day attractions

As the dregs of autumn drain into winter, it can be tempting to write off New Zealand as a holiday destination and postpone your trip until later in the year. In fact, there are plenty of New Zealand rainy day attractions ripe for the picking, so read on to find out where you should go if the weather just won’t play ball.

Best New Zealand Rainy Day Attractions

Celebrate the country’s maritime history in Auckland

Auckland’s Maritime Museum paints a vivid picture of the events that shaped New Zealand as a sea-faring nation. It’s a hands-on day out as you hoist the sails, listen to cannon fire and see whether you cut it as a yacht designer. Learn about the settlement of New Zealand by migrants who travelled across the oceans from Polynesia and from Europe. If the lure of the sea proves irresistible, the museum offers hour-long trips on one of three restored heritage vessels from which you can admire the city’s impressive skyline.

Best New Zealand Rainy Day Attractions: Auckland Harbour
Auckland Harbour: Photo by Ronnie Macdonald / CC BY 2.0

Test the best craft beers in Nelson

Nelson’s so proud of its craft beer that it has a dedicated craft beer trail that visitors are encouraged to follow. Breweries are scattered liberally throughout the city and its environs and if you walk uphill away from the waterfront you may spot the city’s hop kilns along the way. Beer has been important in these parts since the 1840s when early German settlers discovered that the climate was well suited to growing hops. There’s a wide variety of beer to sample, from pilsner to ale and everything in between, so be sure to pace yourself!

Best New Zealand Rainy Day Attractions: Hop Cone
Hop Cone: Photo by LuckyStarr / CC BY 2.5

Hang out with the politicians in Wellington

Ever wondered what happens in parliament? Well here’s your chance to find out. Wellington’s distinctive Beehive Building is open to the general public for tours. The building’s concept was the brainchild of British architect Sir Basil Spence in 1964, who came up with the design of rooms and offices radiating from a central core. There’s even an underground walkway connecting the Beehive to Bowen House. Your guide will explain how the New Zealand government system works and will regale you with tales of some of its most influential characters. If the house is sitting, you’ll also be able to watch the debate from the public gallery. Best of all, the tour is free.

Best New Zealand Rainy Day Attractions: Beehive building Wellington
Beehive building in Wellington: Photo by Phillip Capper / CC BY 2.0

Explore one of the country’s finest houses in Dunedin

Olveston Historic Home was the residence of Dunedin businessman David Theomin and his family. Designed by British architect Sir Ernest George and erected in 1906, the 35 room mansion was home to the Theomins until 1966. The house itself was built in the arts and crafts style, but its interior boasts a lavish and eclectic collection of treasures from around the globe. From breathtaking Japanese ramma panels decorated with gilt phoenix and wood carved peonies to Chinese urns, you can admire the fine art and furniture collected from far-flung destinations. Theomin made his fortune selling sheet music and musical instruments, so it’s not surprising to find plenty of evidence for that passion in his home.

Olveston Historic House
Olveston Historic House

Have you got any favourite New Zealand rainy day attractions? Why not share it with us?

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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