What are the best things to do in Wellington?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

Sharon Stephenson

1. Ride the historic Cable Car to the Botanic Gardens: Give your retinas a workout with the jaw-dropping views and then wander among the 25 hectares (about 62 acres) of native foliage and flowers.

2. Explore Zealandia: Hear the native birdsong and experience the rare thrill of seeing a tuatara or Kiwi bird in their natural habitat. Only 10 minutes from Wellington's CBD, this native sanctuary is like stepping back into time.

3. Visit Te Papa:  Translating to "Our Place," the dynamic Museum of New Zealand on the waterfront is a window into the nation's historical and cultural background. It's fantastic fun and the kids will love the interactive exhibits.

4. Visit the Weta Cafe: Wellington is home to Sir Peter Jackson's Weta Digital, the creative powerhouse behind such films as The Lord of the Rings, King Kong and The Hobbit. Locals call the city "Wellywood" and at the Weta Cave, you'll get a chance to see why.

5. Tour Parliament: Watch the country being run from the iconic Beehive which, along with the original Parliament building next door, is free to visit.

Jeff Fleisher

Wellington’s attractions cover the gamut from historical sites to places of natural beauty. As a university town, there’s a vibrant arts and food scene here that’s one of the best in New Zealand. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ recommendations for the best things to do during your next visit to Wellington.
 
1. Visit Te Papa. The free national museum, Te Papa (“Our Place” in Maori) is actually three museums —natural history, New Zealand history, and art — in one beautiful building on the waterfront. Te Papa is open every day of the year, and stays open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays.
 
2. Tour Parliament. Both buildings of New Zealand's government — the landmark “Beehive” structure and the older Parliament building next door — are free and open to the public for informative tours; the lush grounds around them are also worth a visit.  
 
3. Hike Mount Victoria. The top of this mountain on Wellington's eastern side provides the best view of the city and harbor. It's a pleasant hike to the top along a wooded trail, though bus transport to the viewing area is also an option.
 
4. Explore the Waterfront. You can find lots to do along the curve of the city's harbor. Take a ferry ride, rent a bike, or sign up for a helicopter ride. Check out the beautiful sculptures on the city-to-sea walkway, or relax on one of the city's beaches.
 
5. See the Botanic Gardens. New Zealand has some of the world's most unique foliage, and you can see plenty of examples, including colorful flowers and prehistoric ferns, in the 25 hectares of the capital's expansive botanic gardens.

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