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Family Fun

Wellington things to do for free

  • 4 minutes

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.

The Beehive, New Zealand's Parliament building, at twilight, Wellington, New Zealand
The Beehive, New Zealand's Parliament building

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.

TIP: Blow the budget and ride the cable car. It is a bus fare price after all

Cable Car Museum, Wellington, New Zealand
Cable Car Museum
National Library of New Zealand, New Zealand @Wikimedia Commons
National Library of New Zealand @Wikimedia Commons

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.

Saint Mary of Angels church, New Zealand @_umiu_
Saint Mary of Angels church @_umiu_
Te Papa National Museum of New Zealand @Ulrich Lange Bochum Germany
Te Papa National Museum of New Zealand @Ulrich Lange Bochum Germany

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.

CITY GALLERY

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.

City Gallery Wellington, New Zealand @Picasa
City Gallery Wellington @Picasa
Wellington Museum, New Zealand @Alex Efimoff
Wellington Museum @Alex Efimoff

WELLINGTON MUSEUM

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.

Weta Workshop, Stepping Behind the Movie Magic, New Zealand @Nina Out and About
Weta Workshop, Stepping Behind the Movie Magic @Nina Out and About
Cuba Street after business hours, Te Aro, Wellington, New Zealand
Cuba Street after business hours

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

Bucket fountain, Wellington, New Zealand @miss___natalie
Bucket fountain @miss___natalie
Wellington Botanic Garden Duck Pond, New Zealand
Wellington Botanic Garden Duck Pond

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.

Taputeranga Marine Reserve, Wellington, New Zealand @matt_ruglys_photography
Taputeranga Marine Reserve @matt_ruglys_photography

BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE

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