Things to do in Wellington
Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand but only has a small population of under 500,000. It is surrounded by the sea and there is a homely charm about the city. We warmed to it immediately! We stayed at Camp Wellington campsite situated a 20-minute drive from the city which cost around $20 in a Uber one way. The owner, Si, was very helpful and has an online map for tips on things to do in Wellington.
Here are my tips for a visit to Wellington:
Climb Mount Victoria
If you like climbing and beautiful views, then hiking up to the top of Mount Victoria is a must. There are several walking tracks of different lengths and for different physical strengths. We opted for Matairangi walk starting on Majoribanks Street which is a 45-minute return trip.
The summit of Matairangi is named after the spirit of Whataitai who was one of two spiritual guardians who, according to legend, inhabited the lake which is now Wellington Harbour. The hill is now known as Mount Victoria, named after the newly crowned Queen Victoria in the 1800s.
The walk was very well signposted on the way up and down (purple signage). It started out very steep but then gradually eased (phew!). The views are worth the climb!
Go on the Wellington Cable Car / Botanic Gardens
The current Wellington Cable Car was built in 1979 (although it was originally built in 1902!) and has become one of the best things to do in Wellington, particularly as the botanical gardens are situated at the top (free entrance).
They run every 10 minutes, you do not need a reservation and a one-way ticket from Lambton Quay to Kelburn is $5 with a return costing $9. If you don’t want to return on the cable car, you can walk back down to the town in around 25-30 minutes.
Street art and drinks around Eve Street / Leeds St Area
Before we visited, we were told one of the best things to do in Wellington was to visit the Leeds street area.
Here, and in the surrounding streets, there is some great street art to view, quirky bars to visit and Wellington’s Chocolate Factory where they sometimes give out samples!
If you love Lord of the Rings, then you will want to visit the Weta Caves! They are are situated outside the city (an uber would be approximately $15-20). The Weta Caves are the workshop where all the props for the LOTR movies were created!
You can visit the small museum / gift shop and outside section for free where you can witness moulds of the trolls, orks, hobbit feet and, of course, Gollum. There is also plenty of memorabilia to purchase including the infamous gold ring. If you want a more in-depth tour, there are a number of workshop and stage set tours.
Drinks around Cuba Street / Harbour
Cuba Street is home to several vibrant bars, shops and restaurants. Make sure you have a stroll around this area. The harbour, especially on a summery day, is a great area to have al fresco drinks! You can read about the bars I visited in Wellington here.
Visit Viewpoints by car / campervan
If you have a car / campervan, it is worth driving to some amazing viewpoints. Massey Memorial (where a prominent MP was buried) is a short 10-minute hike from the road and gives you beautiful views of the city. Along this stretch you will also find quiet and small bays and beaches (such as Scorching Bay).
East London Girl: Things to do in Wellington
Click Here to read about bars in Wellington