Best bits guide to absolutely everything to see in Wellington
You are in the right place to holiday on a budget. A walkable pocket sized city where free entry museums jostle for attention with interesting Hannahs laneways and you just walked past a really interesting sculpture of a nude man leaning into the harbour (Solace of the Wind). Variety is absolutely positively a Wellington trait.
BEST ATTRACTIONS – FREE CULTURAL STUFF
Parliament, the beehive or the ornate glorious homage to the nineteenth century companion next door are free to visit. Every day there is a tour with informative guides providing delicious titbits about the goings on as well as explaining about the stability of the building in the event of a massive 7.5 magnitude earthquake.
CABLE CAR MUSEUM
It is not large yet the vintage open air carriages are attractive. It is interesting learning how pulleys and counter-balances make the system work and you get to enjoy the views of the inner city and watch the current bright red cable car arrive and depart at regular intervals.
Blow the budget and ride the cable car. It is a bus fare price after all.
NATIONAL LIBRARY TOURS
Get up close and personal to the three documents that shaped Aotearoa New Zealand. A declaration of independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand 1832, The Treaty of Waitangi 1840, and a petition, Women’s suffrage petition in 1893. Nothing like poring over original significant documents for a shiver to run down the spine at the thought of who has handled the fragile paper set before you.
SAINT MARY OF ANGELS CHURCH – ARCHITECTURAL BUFFS
The door is almost always open as it is a functioning Catholic church. Don’t the stations of the cross and elaborate detail of the side chapels.
It’s a beautiful and historic church that has a Category 1 heritage status.
OLD ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL – WOODEN GOTHIC REVIVAL GLORY
The interior is as striking as the exterior. The nineteenth century church building era
TE PAPA – NATIONAL MUSEUM
A must do free entry museum with a wealth of material. The story of migration, immigration of political frays and land wars is aptly told in imaginative interactive exhibits and video renderings.
The former edice was the library now its cutting edge contemporary art overlooking the Civic Square. Look up at the roof of the building at one of Wellington’s newest public art installations, Quasi is considered challenging if not creepy and you have not even got inside. Definitely attracts attention to the gallery.
On the waterfront is the amazing Wellington Museum housed in a beautiful 1892 heritage building. The free entry museum details the social, cultural and maritime history of Wellington. Make sure you have time for the quirky Attic which is chock a block with everything your Great Aunt had in the front parlour from stuffed exotic animals to vintage radios.
BEST FREE ATTRACTIONS IN WELLINGTON
WETA CAVE (FILM STUDIO GLAMOUR)
Your imagination is brought to life, fantasy on steroids. The amazing enormous trolls guarding the entrance and King Kong. The free entry mini museum runs continuous documentaries about the life and times of the studio.
Enjoy the life size sculptures and pore over objects in the gift shop. Tours though do have an admission fee as do the Weta workshops.
CUBA STREET STROLL
- Saunter along Cuba Street, eclectic shops from a specialist sewing / quilting bookstore, second hand clothes, emerging art venues, hole in the wall foodie stores, coffee, and a place where impromptu dancing is part of the vibe.
- What’s in a name: Cuba Street’s name originates from the ship Cuba bringing immigrants to Wellington in 1842.
- LEFT BANK CUBA STREET FRIDAY NIGHT MARKET. Cheap yummy street food, live music and plenty of people watching opportunities
BUCKET FOUNTAIN CUBA STREET
The bucket fountain is Wellington and it is likely with a brisk breeze the fountain will spray water over visitors. Take a photo for your instagram feed.
TRAIN RIDES TO THE SUBURBS
For the price of a train ticket visit
- Petone and window shop,
- Petone Setter’s Museum
Read more In a day Petone.
STREET ART / MURALS
Unearth street art down side alleys, laneways and buildings from the Bowie mural on Ghuznee street indicating the entrance to Hannah’s laneway to the Shark mural on Cable street and Egmont laneway rainbow unicorn. The city has over 80 murals backdrop ready for your selfie moment.
BOTANIC GARDENS WALKS
Smell the roses in the award-winning Lady Norwood Rose Garden, explores the quiet corners of the gardens
TIP: From Cable Car Museum it’s an easy downward saunter through the gardens returning to the city.
Read more about Wellington city walks.
SNORKELLING TAPUTERANGA MARINE RESERVE
Grab a snorkel and enjoy a day exploring a rocky reserve home to octopus, rock lobsters, crabs and starfish. Taputeranga Marine Reserve is approximately 6 km from Wellington City centre. Buses run regularly from central Wellington to Island Bay, Houghton Bay, and nearby Lyall Bay. You will need a wetsuit as Wellington waters are a tad chilly.
BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE