Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, is unique, fun, and easy to explore. With over 20 cool breweries nearby, it’s a craft beer hub. Beyond that, there’s the amazing Te Papa museum, quirky Cuba Street, and the famous cable car.
You can also try a forest obstacle course, spot seals at Red Rocks, or go on a Lord of the Rings tour. In this blog, I’ll share 20 unique things to do in Wellington NZ with friends including these exciting activities and more!
Te Papa Museum
It’s very popular, with over 30 million visitors since opening in 1998. Te Papa, which means “container of treasures” in Maori, has artifacts related to the Maori people.
They work with native tribes. You can take a special tour to see the Explore Gallipoli Exhibition before it gets crowded. This exhibit shows large sculptures of war heroes. There’s also a Maori treasures tour for an insight into their culture.
You can visit the museum for free or take a guided tour for more. Donations are welcome. Another tour lets you explore the museum 30 minutes early. The museum has an important place in New Zealand’s history and culture.
Wellington Botanical Gardens
The Wellington Botanical Gardens cover 25 hectares with special plant collections. It’s perfect for a sunny stroll. Maoris used it for food in 1869. I love the rose, rock, and Otari-Wilton bush sections.
The Lady Norwood Rose Gardens have 110 rose beds blooming from November to April. The Rock Gardens grow shrubs and plants, even skinks and geckos. Ōtari-Wilton’s Bush has 1,200 native plants from the mainland and islands. They’re grown from cuttings or seeds.
You can also enjoy views from the Visitor Center over Duck Pond and the gardens. It’s a beautiful place to explore nature and learn about plants.
Wellington craft beer
Wellington is known for having more than 20 craft breweries, making it the craft beer capital of New Zealand. Spend a day or half-day tasting some of the best craft beers the country has to offer. One favorite is Garage Project, a popular beer brand available in most supermarkets. The brewery in Te Aro is filled with unique art and is loved by locals.
Parrotdog Brewery in Lyall Bay is another favorite, especially their Birdseye Hazy IPA. Join a guided beer-tasting tour to explore Wellington’s breweries. You’ll visit four breweries including Kereru, Boneface Brewery, Baylands Brewery, and The Third Eye. Tastings are included, and they even pick you up and drop you off at CBD hotels, so you can enjoy yourself without worrying about driving! It’s a fun way to experience Wellington’s craft beer scene.
This trail goes from Old Coach Road in Johnsonville to Makara Saddle in Karori, running along the ridge. It’s about 13.4km long and can take up to 6 hours to walk. Along the way, you’ll pass through places like Mount Kaukau, the Crow’s Nest, Kilmister Tops, and Johnston Hill, where you can enjoy amazing views of the city, coast, and more. The trail is challenging in parts, and the weather can be harsh since it’s so exposed. You can do it in stages with many entry and exit points. It’s important to be reasonably fit, wear warm clothes and sturdy shoes, and bring food and water. There are no toilets or water along the way. Meridian Energy helped create the link between Makara Saddle and Chartwell, making this trail possible.
Wellington Cable Car
For more than 120 years, the Cable Car has been carrying people up and down Kelburn hillside, connecting Lambton Quay, Victoria University, and the Botanic Gardens. It’s a quick 5-minute ride that’s a must-do for Wellington tourists.
The bright red Cable Car leaves Lambton Quay every 10 minutes, taking you through three tunnels and over three bridges on a 612m journey. When you reach the top, you’ll be 120m above sea level, with stunning views of the city, harbor, and hills.
You can choose to ride in either direction and get your tickets at the Lambton Quay Terminal or online. This is New Zealand’s only remaining funicular railway, with a fascinating history dating back to 1902.
As you ride, enjoy the LED light installations in the tunnels by Angus Muir. At the top, admire the views from the lookout and explore the Cable Car Museum for free. You can return to Lambton Quay or walk to the Botanic Gardens or nearby attractions.