Welcome to Wellington – The windiest city in the world

Wellington, New Zealand

Although Wellington is not the biggest city in New Zealand, it is the capital. (It’s amazing how many people think that Auckland is the capital of New Zealand). Besides being the capital, it is also the windiest city in the world. We’ve stayed in Wellington for 5 days back in 2014 and 7 days in 2020 and through-out these days, the average wind speed was 50 km/h.

Despite the constant wind and bad weather, Wellington is one of our favourite city’s in New Zealand. Mainly because it has beautiful walkways, lots of amazing, historical buildings, great architecture and wherever you are, you are never too far from a 4-star worthy restaurant or cafe.

Wellington, New Zealand
Simon in Queens Wharf (2014)

After spending some quality time in Wellington we’ve put together a list of places that Estralians think should be on your “Things to do in Wellington” list.

List of things to do in Wellington

1. Hike/Drive up to Mt Victoria

Mt Victoria lookout offers 360-degree scenic views over Wellington City, Harbour and Miramar Peninsula. On a clear day the views will extend all the way out to Hutt Valley in the north, Remutaka Range to the east, and the Cook Strait in the south. Be warned, it can be extremely windy up there 🙂

Things to do in Wellington, New Zealand
Battling with the wind at Mt Victoria Lookout (2014)

We recommend to hike/drive up to Mt Victoria on your first day as this will give you a better understanding of the layout of the city. If you choose to walk then know that there are several routes that you can take. And once you reach the top there are few different lookout spots.

Best Lookout Wellington
Mt Victoria Lookout on a clear day (2020)

If you can’t walk and don’t have a car then no worries. You can also catch a bus from various places in the city that will take you up there. PS! If you are looking for a less crowded lookout then another great spot to gaze Wellington and its surrounding landscape is at the Wellington Wind Turbine.
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2. Visit Te Papa Museum

While visiting Wellington, Te Papa Museum should undeniably be on your list of things to do in Wellington. This national museum is very interactive and will definitely fill your curiosity about the history and culture of New Zealand. In Estralians opinion it is by far the best museum in New Zealand.

Things to do in Wellington
Moa skeletons in Te Papa Museum (2020)

Te Papa Museum has 3 floors of permanent as well as temporary exhibitions. Admission is free, but charges apply to some short-term exhibitions and events. Opened every day 10am–6pm (except Christmas Day).
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3. Tour the Parliament Building

If you like great architecture and possibly politics then this is for you. The Wellington Parliament House is one of the most stunning buildings in Wellington.

things to do in Wellington
Wellington Parliament House (2020)

If you would like to see the parliament house from inside then you can go for a 30 min highlight tour or 60 min introducing parliament tour. Depending on which one you choose, you might be taken through the Banquet Hall, Grand Hall, Chamber, Library etc. (Phones and other recording gadgets are not allowed.) The tour doesn’t cost anything but we highly recommend to book ahead.
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4. Visit Cuba Street

As mentioned above, you are never too far from a 4-star worthy restaurant or cafe. The most famous street to seek out these joints in Wellington reside on Cuba street. This colorful street is known for great shopping, buskers, mouth-watering food, great coffee and stylish bars. PS! When walking along Cuba Street don’t get too close to the iconic Bucket Fountain as you might get splashed with some some water 😀

5. Ride the famous Cable Car

A pocket friendly ($9 NZ return) activity that will take you for a short journey over Wellington City. You can catch the ride either from the top (Kelburn), bottom (Lambton Quay) or any of the three other stations in-between them.

things to do in Wellington
Wellington Cable Car on it’s way down

On the left hand side of the Kelburn Station is also a small but interesting Cable Car Museum. On the right hand side there is a cafe and and a perfume store.
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6. Get lost in the Botanic Gardens

Right next to the Cable Car Museum is Wellington Botanic Garden. With over 25 hectares of gorgeous land on the side of a hill, Wellington Botanic Garden could keep you occupied and amazed all day.

Wellington Botanic Garden

Areas of the garden include but are not limited to Succulent Garden, Australian Garden, Rose Garden, Begonia House. From the garden you can also see beautiful views over Wellington CBD and Cable Car.
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7. Take a long walk along the waterfront

On a clear sunny day, Wellington waterfront is the place to be. It offers breathtaking views over the Harbor, Oriental Bay and Remutaka Range.

things to do in Wellington
Wellington waterfront

As you walk from Queen’s Wharf all the way to Oriental Bay you’ll see some amazing street artists and sculptures as well as a great line up of restaurants and coffee shops. PS! Not the most pleasant walk on a cold windy day.
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8. Hand-feed giraffe at Wellington Zoo

With over 100 species of animals and hand feeding experiences, Wellington Zoo will definitely brighten your day. Another wildlife sanctuary you could visit in Wellington is the 225 hectare wide ecosanctuary Zealandia.

Things to do in Wellington
A Kiwi Bird in Zealandia

Zealandia has many pathways with different walking distances, so depending how much time you have, you can go for a nice and easy walk or opt-in to a more challenging hike.
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9. Take a unique photo at the Weta Cave

For fans of movies like The Hobbit, Avatar, The Lord of the Rings and many more this is a must-do in Wellington. At the Weta Cave you can take a selfie with life-sized trolls, watch exclusive behind-the-scenes documentary and walk through a mini-museum.

Weta Cave Wellington
“My precious!!!”

If you have the time and money make sure to take one of their many tours. These tours are extremely popular so make sure to book one ahead rather than just rock up without a booking.
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10. Go to the Beach

With its many beaches Wellington has got you covered. In other words there are plenty of beaches to choose from. Go for a quick surf at the Titahi Bay or chill at the Oriental Bay (just a few minutes’ walk from the CBD) or look for your own little sand strip in Scorching Bay Beach.

Best Beach Wellington
Scorching Bay

For something more adventurous check out the Owhiro Bay/Red Rocks that is accessible from Te Kopahou Visitor Centre. At the right season you can spot seals and whales along the coast.
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If you’re looking for a place to stay while in Wellington we recommend to visit The Hotel Guru website. However if you prefer to save money on accommodation then Airbnb is also a great option.

Travel more. #Traveling leaves you #speechless, then turns you into a natural #storyteller

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