What are the best things to do with kids in Wellington?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

Sharon Stephenson

There's no reason for the rugrats to be bored in Wellington, NZ's capital city. They certainly won't be bored by ancient buildings or crumbling castles (there aren't any, NZ isn't old enough!) but there is enough 'new' stuff to keep them interested. 

Here's some of the things the ankle-biters (and their parents) can get up to on your next visit to Wellington.

1. Visit Te Papa. The free INTERACTIVE 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 9pm on Thursdays.

2. Tour Parliament. Both buildings of New Zealand's government — the landmark “Beehive” structure and the older wooden 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. Have a Kodak moment atop this hill on Wellington's eastern side which provides the best view of the city and harbour. It's a pleasant hike to the top along a wooded trail, and you'll probably meet numerous dog walkers, runners and cyclists. if you're not up to the walk, there's also a bus option.

4. Explore the Waterfront. You can find lots to do along the curve of the city's harbour. 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

Jeff Fleisher

New Zealand is known for its natural beauty and unusual wildlife, and your kids will love exploring this side of Wellington. Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for five of the best things to do with kids in Wellington:
1. See a Play. Wellington has New Zealand's best theater scene, and many venues have shows suitable for children. Located in downtown Civic Square, the Capital E National Theater for Children always has a variety of ongoing theater and music shows for younger audiences, plus a playground and a gallery displaying art by local children.
2. Visit the Zoo. Just a short bus ride away in the suburb of Newtown, Wellington Zoo is home to more than 100 animal species. The small-but-welcoming zoo houses native New Zealand birds like the kiwi, kea and kaka, as well as the rare tuatara, a “living fossil” closely related to dinosaurs. 
3. Ride the Cable Car. For more than a century, the red cable car has provided great views of Wellington. Leaving from the popular shopping area of Lambton Quay, it heads uphill above the government area, making stops at the famous botanic gardens and the historic cable car museum.
4. Visit a Museum. Te Papa has plenty for kids to enjoy, and the free Museum of Wellington City and Sea — housed in the city's historic bond house — has a fun collection highlighting the city's history. Wellington also has several historic homes that have been converted into museums, including the birthplace of writer Katherine Mansfield.
5. Go to the Beach. You can find a number of clean, popular beaches around Wellington Harbour. The one at Oriental Bay is closest to downtown, and is always packed on warm days. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the beautiful fountain and old wooden barge near the waterfront, plus the panoramic view.

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