Despite a lot of misconception by travelers that Auckland is New Zealand’s capital, Wellington is actual the capital of New Zealand and a stunning one at that.
Wellington has a wonderful charm to it that no other place in New Zealand does. It sits right at the edge of the North Island, at its southernmost point on the Cook Strait and connects North to the South.
If you are planning to travel to Wellington, you should know that Wellington is the world’s windiest city, and rightly known as Windy Wellington. So be sure to carry lots of layers with you at all times, because it can get very chilly.
Wellington is also the culture and art capital of New Zealand.
If you plan on visiting Wellington or are on the lookout for things to do, here’s some amazing things you can do in this city.
Mt Victoria Look out
You can get to the top of Mt Victoria by walk or by road and both are equally great.
The lookout at the top is amazing because you get a panoramic view of the city and the harbour from up there and it looks AMAZING!
You can see Hutt Valley, the harbour bays, Tinakori hill, and more.
The best time to get to the lookout would be sunrise or sunset. There’s lots of space to just relax, gets amazing photos, and enjoy the view. So, make sure you don’t miss it.
Visit the New Zealand Parliament
The one thing you can do in a capital city that you can’t anywhere else in the country – see the New Zealand Parliament.
If you are interested to know how the parliament works in NZ, it’s a great place to visit. The architecture of the buildings is neoclassical and there’s the parliament house, the parliamentary library, the Beehive (also known as the executive wing) and Bowen house.
You can get a complete tour of all the buildings, learn about New Zealand’s history, traditions and how the parliament currently functions.
If parliament is in session at the time of your visit, you can sit in the public gallery and see the MPs give speeches, answer questions and vote on proposes laws. Pretty cool, isn’t it!
The Te Papa Museum
The Te Papa is the national museum of New Zealand. The exhibits are geological, biological, cultural and historical and tell stories about New Zealand in a super interactive and fun way.
If you are interested in understanding New Zealand and its heritage, the museum is great place to visit. Its completely free to visit the museum, so why miss it.
Some of the exhibitions that they have are – mountains to sea, which is about New Zealand’s unique wildlife, the awesome forces which is an amazing geological exhibit, the blood, earth, fire which is all about how New Zealand has been since civilisation on the islands.
Zealandia is Wellington’s natural ecosanctuary and it is absolutely amazing.
It is only minutes from the city but you feel like you have been transported into a wildlife sanctuary in the middle of nowhere.
If you love being in nature, you should definitely check this place out.
This is a conservation project that has reintroduced 18 species of wildlife back into its natural habitats by restoring a valley forest and freshwater ecosystems.
You can spend a few hours at the sanctuary by walking around the place, exploring the natural habitat, looking out for the birds, and its absolutely amazing. The tickets only cost 20$ and are valid for a couple of days after, so you could even go back if you end up falling in love with the place, which is likely to happen.
Visit the Wrights Hill Fortress
The Wrights Hill Fortress is a restored site that was built at the end of the World War II, and was once fitted with two massive guns. The fortress was also used for the sounds of The Mines of Moria in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
The fortress is restored amazingly well and its worth visiting if you are interested in history.
The Time Cinema
The time cinema is one of Wellington’s best. Why? Because they play movies only from the 40s, 50s and 60s. The family owned cinema seats about 40 people, and has been playing old classics for the last 35 years for movie buffs. They have about 4 screenings per month and they occur on the first and third Wednesdays, and Saturdays most of the year.
Visit the Wellington Botanic Gardens
The Botanic gardens at Wellington features over 25 hectares of native forest, conifers, plants and seasonal floral displays and you can also enjoy the views over the city.
You can visit the Duck Pond, Begonia House, Lady Norwood Rose Garden, Sundial of Human Involvement, Children’s Play Area and the historic Bolton Street Memorial Park.
It is known that you can also spot glowworms at the Main Garden occasionally, especially during spring time. They usually come out when its dark.
The Wellington cable car runs between Lambton Quay and the top of the Botanic Gardens and is a great way to get from the top of the gardens to the city centre while enjoying the view, and it only costs $7.
If you are a movie buff, the Weta Caves is a must visit. The studio gives you a tour of the movie making experience with close ups of miniatures, props, weapons, armour, creatures, vehicles, models and more, all made in Wellington.
It is incredibly amazing and you must not miss this place if you love movies.
There’s also shops within the caves where you can buy collectibles, prop replicas, prints etc and they are great as gifts!
Wellington is full of surprises and there is lots of explore and experience within the city. The best part is the abundance of nature in the middle of a fully grown city, so you get to experience both.
Wellington also has a great city life, and you’ll find some delightful restaurants and bars to visit and a lots of shopping to do as well. Cuba street is great for all of it.
If you are in New Zealand, don’t miss this amazing city and if you live in Wellington and were looking for things to do, now you’ve got some amazing places to explore.
If you are new to Wellington, here is a bunch of emergency contacts that could come in handy.
Emergencies – Call 111
Wellington I-Site Visitor Information Centre
Wellington Locksmith – if you ever get locked out of your car or home
Wellington Plumber – If you have a plumbing problem