7 Amazing things you can do for free in Wellington
The capital of New Zealand is a remarkable city to experience.
The capital of New Zealand is a remarkable city to experience. However, like most places, if you’re on a tight budget, your options can feel limited. Yet, certainly in Wellington, this need not be the case. There are a host of things you can do for free in Wellington, as this is a city packed with open-to-all delights. There’s something to suit every adventurer’s tastes on this list, and even if Wellington is a place you know well, we hope you’ll discover something new to do, and it won’t take a toll on your wallet.
1. Te Papa museum
Te Papa is NZ’s national museum, and one of the country’s pride and joys. It is one of the finest, and most famous, museums in the world, boasting a natural history exhibit to rival The Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, and an unrivalled insight into the Maori history and culture. Te Papa is your ticket to the heart of New Zealand’s natural and cultural past, via the ‘Earthquake House’ and a giant 3D squid. Joyously, entry into Te Papa, and the opportunity to witness and explore its treasures that that brings, is completely free.
2. Weta Cave
Movie lovers rejoice! I don’t know if anyone has ever mentioned this before, but Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy was made in New Zealand. Don’t worry…it’s a little-known fact. Anyway, those films – and King Kong and The Hobbit trilogy amongst others – are products of the Weta Workshop. These makers of movie magic proudly present the Weta Cave. This is a selected collection of their many painstakingly crafted movie props, alongside iconic sections of scenery, and life size models of your favourite characters.
3. See the Seals at Red Rocks
A trip out to the Red Rocks Reserve is always worth it. As far as doing things for free in Wellington goes, you can’t do much better than watching fur seals frolic. Take this chance to breathe in the fresh sea air, marvel at the striking stones, and explore the Maori legends that explain their red hue. Take a picnic with you, and of course your camera, and enjoy an afternoon on the 200-year-old Red Rocks. Just don’t feed the seals.
4. Visit Cuba Street
If you’re looking for the hippest, most vibrant, bustling area in Wellington, then in Cuba Street you’ve found it. Whilst flashing the cash at this trendiest of markets obviously isn’t something you can do for free in Wellington, soaking up the vibe absolutely is. The mass of street artists and performers are there to provide the entertainment too, whilst you imbibe the spirit of the city.
5. Conquer Mount Victoria
If you want the most spectacular view of Wellington you can get, you’re going to have to earn it. For one of the most spectacular photo opportunities NZ has to offer you’ll have to make it to one of the view points on, or the peak of, Mount Victoria. Of course, the 196-metre climb to the top isn’t easy, so thank goodness you won’t be charged to make it. Whilst you’re ascending too, see if you can spot the strip of Mount Victoria featured in the first Lord of the Rings film.
6. Go crazy for the Cable Car Museum
Ok, so there is another, easier, way of getting a spectacular perspective for free in Wellington. Wellington’s cable car network is iconic, and unfortunately, a ride to the top – where the museum is – isn’t free. However, access to the museum is, and is accessible after a hike through Wellington’s botanic gardens (also worth a visit). The insight into the engineering feat and history of Wellington’s cable cars is well worth the climb.
7. Take the Waterfront Walk
One way to truly experience Wellington, and for free no less, is to walk right across it. A walk across the waterfront will carry you by colourful ice cream parlours, statues and along Oriental Bay. Take this walk as an opportunity to soak Wellington up and indulge in some people watching. Spectacular street performers and astonishingly beautiful views are just a bonus of the walk.
Like anywhere, there are great sights and experiences to be had for free in Wellington. If only you know where to look. Even if budgeting isn’t an issue, you won’t want to miss out on the places on this list.