YHA wellington boatsheds on the wellington waterfront

Top 5 Must-Do Activities in Wellington

Ever wondered the best activities to do in Wellington? We've got you covered with our top 5 things to do in the coolest little capital!

North Island

1. Culture vulture

Arguably the most cultured place in the country, Wellington's compact CBD hosts an explosion of bars and venues featuring every type of show to satisfy your comedy, karaoke, or cabaret cravings.

New Zealand's National Museum, Te Papa, is just a 5 minute walk from YHA, and features exhibitions on the history, geology, and art of New Zealand and Maori culture. It's free to enter, and you'll happily spend a few hours wandering at your leisure.

NZ's government centre, the Beehive, is another common visiting point. Take a free guided tour for an overview of parliamentary processes, history, and buildings. Your bonus Kiwi cultural experience comes in the form of a rugby game at Westpac Stadium, fondly known as the Cake Tin. Support the Hurricanes if you want to be popular among the locals!


2. Film buffs

As home to many of the Lord of the Rings cast and crew, Wellington is a must-visit for any die-hard Tolkien fans. Weta Cave and the numerous IRL film locations remain popular more than 10 years since the films were released.

Tucked in a residential neighbourhood in Miramar, you might walk right past the Weta Cave if it weren’t for the three larger-than-life stone trolls standing, petrified in the front garden.

But while it's an obvious drawcard for Lord of the Rings fans, you can also expect goodies from King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia, James Cameron’s Avatar, and remnants of the discontinued Halo film project, some of which made it into Neill Blomkamp’s gritty sci-fi classic, District 9.

Reader's bonus tip: The magnificent Embassy Theatre is a great place to catch a film (after a cocktail in the bar, of course!). Thanks to John from Stockholm for the excellent suggestion.

3. Nurture nature

There are some pretty epic spots to escape city life within close proximity of Wellington. The Botanic Gardens, Town Belt, Mt Victoria, and Polhill are your closest bets.

Fort Dorset has made some pretty impressive Instagram appearances slightly further afield. If you want to get right out of town, try Red Rocks, or head north to the coast Paekakariki Escarpment.

4. Trail rider

Mountain biking fans will be stoked to hear that Wellington well and truly has you covered. Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park is a world-class facility just 15 minutes from the middle of town. Native bush and bird life surround 40km of mixed grade tracks with a bit of something for everyone.

Mt Victoria, while not exclusively designed for mountain bikers, is also a must for its excellent views and proximity to the CBD. There are plenty of bike-priority tracks and some skills areas. Check out other mountain biking spots around New Zealand.

5. Quintessential Wellington

Put your walking shoes on and experience the highlights of city life. We would say map out a route in advance, but chances are you'll be sidetracked by something awesome (or delicious) along the way!

  • Stroll or cycle around the scenic Wellington Waterfront - check out the public art and sculptures while you're at it
  • Cruise down Cuba Street or check out Courtenay place for shops, cafes, and nightlife
  • Walk to the top of Mount Victoria for a panoramic view of the city and harbour (try it at sunset!)
  • Take a ride on the cable car for amazing views over Wellington Harbour
  • Follow your nose to find your own slice of Wellington's coffee and cafe culture

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