Wellington Bucket List: Top 15 Best Things to Do in Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington Bucket List: Top 15 Best Things to Do in Wellington, New Zealand

Popular Activities and Amazing Places to Visit in Wellington, New Zealand

Lying some 641 kilometers from Auckland, Wellington is the capital of New Zealand. The city is also known for being Kiwi’s culinary capital and is famous for its quirky bars, award-winning restaurants, and one of the world’s delicious coffees. But Wellington is also known for other things apart from food. It is small and compact, making it easier to explore even on foot.

The city itself is nestled amidst steep, forest-covered hills and a sweeping bay overlooking the Cook Strait, creating breathtaking landscapes. Here’s our list of 15 Best Things to Do in Wellington, New Zealand:

Ride the famous Wellington Cable Car

Wellington Cable Car is one of the most popular activities in Wellington NZ.

Completed in 1912, riding in this historic cable car to the Kelburn Lookout is one of the best things to do in Wellington. The ride, which unfortunately takes five minutes, takes you through the city’s scenic route with excellent city views.

If you have a camera or a phone with a great camera, this is the best time to take it out and take a few snaps of Wellington’s cityscape and beyond.

The cable car stops at Kelburn Lookout, where you can also enjoy the city’s views below.

Check out the New Zealand Parliament Building

The Beehive - New Zealand Parliamentary Building in Wellington New Zealand
The Beehive – New Zealand Parliamentary Building in Wellington, New Zealand

Known as the Beehive, the New Zealand Parliamentary building is one of the most impressive government structures globally and a must-see site in Wellington.

Constructed between 1964 1979, this building is among the most recognizable landmarks in the city. Visitors are allowed to tour every inch of its interior provided the parliament is not on a session.

Walking along the waterfront

Wellington NZ Waterfront
Wellington NZ Waterfront

Thanks to its location on the harbor’s edge, visitors can enjoy a stroll along the Wellington waterfront. The city has a wide walkway that extends up to the Railway Station near the Oriental Bay. You will find many locals and tourists here walking and admiring the city’s beautiful scenery, hugging the water. This path is also ideal for jogging, running, or cycling.

The trail also features some attractions, such as sculptures, as well as several dining options.

Get a 360-degree glimpse of Wellington from Mount Victoria.

View from Mount Victoria in Wellington NZ
View from Mount Victoria in Wellington, NZ

Though the city of Wellington is snuggled amid hills and almost any peak would offer great views of the city, none marches Mount Victoria’s views. Standing at 196 meters high, Mount Vic forms a part of the Southern Walkway path and offers some striking vistas of the city and harbor and the hills and ocean beyond.

You can either walk or drive up the mountain.

Interact with animals at Wellington Zoo

Sun Bear at New Zealand's Wellington Zoo photo via Depositphotos
Sun Bear at New Zealand’s Wellington Zoo photo via Depositphotos

What makes this zoo one of a kind is that it is home to some of the world’s endangered species. Located a few kilometers from Wellington city center, the zoo is tasked with ensuring the animals here are happy, and their welfare is taken care of first.

The zoo is home to most than 500 animals, including giraffes, kiwi birds, penguins, and orangutan.

Shop at Harbourside Markets

Harbourside Markets in Wellington New Zealand photo via FB Page
Harbourside Markets in Wellington New Zealand photo via FB Page

Located on Barnett Street, this Wellington’s oldest open market is usually colorful on Sunday mornings with stallholders and vendors in food trucks selling various local produce, including cheese, flowers, spices, bread, and a wide range of seafood.

More than twenty-thousand people flock the market every Sunday.

Visit Matiu Island

Matiu/Somes Island as seen from Mount Kaukau by Hamedog via Wikipedia CC
Matiu/Somes Island as seen from Mount Kaukau By Hamedog, Attribution, CC

If you love nature or are just tired of the city and looking for an escape, Matiu Island is a sweet getaway lying just off Wellington’s shore. As the largest island of the three in Wellington Harbor, Matiu Island is a nature reserve and operated by the Department of Conservation.

Visitors enjoy both day and night trips to this island to camp or hike up the summit.

Chill at Princess Bay

Princess Bay in Wellington Photo by Felipe Skroski on Foter.com : CC BY
Princess Bay in Wellington Photo Photo by Felipe Skroski on Foter.com / CC BY

Situated less than ten kilometers from Wellington city center, Princess Bay is home to amazing sweeping sand and rock pools. It is a great spot for picnicking and swimming, especially during summer weekends.

The beach also has some amazing views, particularly on a clear day where you can see the South Island. There is a coastal path that runs above the beach to the highest point with excellent views.

Admire art at City Gallery Wellington

City Gallery Wellington by Rachel.healy via Wikipedia CC
City Gallery Wellington By Rachel.healy at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Opened its doors to the public in 1980, the City Gallery Wellington is a popular art space in the city featuring some of the best local and international contemporary artists.

The gallery focuses only on modern artwork pieces with exhibitions, including sculptures, painting, multi-media works, photography, and various installations.

City Gallery Wellington is also the city’s main cultural center and regularly hosts workshops, live performances, and art events.

Visit ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary

Toutouwai, one of the many birds free to breed in the sanctuary and re-populate the surrounding environment - Zealandia Wellington via Wikipedia CC
Toutouwai, one of the many birds free to breed in the sanctuary and re-populate the surrounding environment – Zealandia Wellington By me, Tony Wills, CC BY 2.5, CC

Sitting on 225 hectares, the ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary is dedicated to showcasing the country’s efforts in conservation and its unique and diverse wildlife and nature.

It is here that you will find New Zealand’s famous Kiwis as well as a range of endangered animal and bird species, including saddleback, takahe, and stitchbird.

Enjoy the beautiful Wellington Botanic Garden

Wellington Botanic Garden NZ by Pear285 via Wikipedia CC
Wellington Botanic Garden NZ By Pear285 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, CC

This lavish 25-hectare oasis was inaugurated in 1869 on eth hillside parts of the city. The garden is home to blooming flowers and several walking trails that rove through the gardens.

However, the garden’s highlight has to be the Lady Norwood Rose Gardens, which features more than 110 rose beds with different varieties of roses.

Check out the Old St. Paul’s

Old St Paul's, Wellington by Michael Klajban via Wikipedia CC
Old St Paul’s, Wellington By Michal Klajban – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, CC

Despite being a 19th-century building, Old St. Paul’s is one of Wellington’s top attractions. Having been regularly restored, it is here that you can have a chance to get in touch with the city’s ancient buildings.

Eat at the Chocolate Fish Café

Chocolate Fish Cafe in Wellington photo via FB Page
Chocolate Fish Cafe in Wellington photo via FB Page

If you want to experience local food, there is one place that serves some of the most delicious meals in town, Chocolate Fish Café.

Get in there for some best ribs and burgers in Wellington.

Visit Katherine Mansfield’s home

Katherine Mansfield House and Garden by Lanma726 via Wikipedia CC
Katherine Mansfield House and Garden By Lanma726 at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0

Katherine Mansfield is a prominent New Zealand author known for her short poems and stories. Identified herself as a modernist, you can catch a glimpse of her childhood by visiting her home that also functions as a museum housing artifacts related to eth artist and the 19th century New Zealand.

Learn about Wellington’s 18th century at Cottage Museum

Nairn Street Cottage by Museums Wellington via Wikipedia CC
Nairn Street Cottage by Museums Wellington via Wikipedia CC

Constructed in the mid-1800s, this well-preserved house is the oldest still surviving cottage in Wellington.

The Cottage was built in a late Georgian style and is similar to other houses built from that time through to about 1870. The Cottage was built by William Wallis, who arrived in New Zealand in September 1857 with his wife, Catherine.

Its original furniture and decoration is still intact and can be view through a guided tour.

Wellington Travel and Tour Packages

To help you plan out your visit to Wellington, we listed places to visit and other amazing activities in Wellington, New Zealand. We also listed some of the best travel deals and tour packages and excellent flight deals and accommodation.

Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of affordable Wellington hotels and resorts via Agoda, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

Want more updates about new package tours and tourist spots in Wellington, NZ? Follow #TeamOutofTown, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bloglovin, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.

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Paul Taka

Paul Taka