A Cable Car overlooking the city of Wellington, New Zealand

10 things to do in Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington in New Zealand is a city with character. Home to incredible nightlife, restaurants, art exhibits, museums, activities, and a beautiful harbour – it makes an excellent base for exploring the southern areas of the North Island. But if you’re staying here, you definitely need to give yourself a day to explore the city, starting with these 10 things to do in Wellington.

1. Treat your taste buds

Wellington is considered the foodie capital of New Zealand and actually boasts more restaurants per capita than New York City! With this amount of competition for customers, chefs are forced to maintain a high standard. You’ll find everything from bakeries, to British pubs, to Asian street food.

2. Hop on the Wellington Cable Car

You can’t visit this city and not take a trip on the Wellington Cable Car. This iconic Wellington landmark runs from Lambton Quay to Kelburn – with a lookout, the Cable Car Museum, and Carter Observatory waiting for you at the top!

3. Walk along the waterfront near Oriental Bay

If you’re looking for a relaxing day out, head to this scenic spot. Here you’ll find cafes, parks, sculptures, bars and ice cream vendors. There’s occasionally also a market at the weekends.

4. Learn about Maori and colonial history at Te Papa

Not only does this museum exhibit the biological, cultural, and social history of New Zealand in an interactive way – it is also free!

5. Learn more about the city itself at Museum of Wellington City

If you’re looking to learn more about Wellington itself, then head to this museum instead. It is also free, but guided tours are available for 2 NZD per person.

6. Soak up the atmosphere on Cuba Street

If it’s bohemian artists and hipster cafés than you’re looking for, then head to Cuba Street. Here you’ll find all the trendy nooks you have come to associate with a fashionable district filled with young people – including fire dances!

7. Head to the lookout points

Wellington is surrounded by lush green hills, providing plenty of vantage points for a great view of the city. You can reach these points via foot, bus and cable car so you don’t even need to hike your way there.

8. Admire the wildlife at Zealandia

It would be a shame to never leave the city in a country as beautiful as New Zealand. Head to this wildlife sanctuary just west of the city and keep your eye out for several native birds, including the kiwi, hihi and saddleback.

9. Tour the Beehive and Parliament House

Although parts of these buildings are closed to the public, it is still a very beautiful building and very Instagram worthy.  

10. Relax in the Botanical Gardens

After all the dining, learning and walking – you’ll want to unwind. Located near Lambton Quay, you’ll find everything you need for a calm day out including great views, colourful flowers, and well-preened lawns.

Morag Lee

Morag is the resident blog writer at Barrhead Travel. Can usually be found exploring a cruise ship or on a city break.