Fun things to do in Wellington

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Wellington

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    Old St Paul's Church

    by Tom_Fields Written Apr 4, 2012

    Designed by Frederick Thatcher, this is one of New Zealand's finest churches. Completed in 1866, it was constructed from the highest quality timber, including kauri, rimu, totara, and matai.

    In 1964, the main functions of the old church were transferred to the new St Paul's Cathedral nearby. After a vociferous public protest against its demolition, the government purchased it in 1967. Today, it is still used for special ceremonies--weddings, christenings, funerals, and concerts. It is a beautiful piece of work, well worth a visit.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Architecture

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    Cuba Street

    by Tom_Fields Written Apr 3, 2012

    This is Wellington's Haight-Ashbury. Named for the Cuba, a passenger ship used to bring immigrants, it was among the first Wellington streets to have a real steam-driven tram in 1878. It's packed full with quaint little shops, cafes, pubs, and assorted restaurants. If you're looking for something different, then this is the place to go.

    Related to:
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    • Singles
    • Food and Dining

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    Weta Cave

    by Tom_Fields Written Apr 3, 2012

    Peter Jackon and his crew created most of their props, costumes, and sets here at Weta studios in Wellington. The weta, by the way, is a huge and scary-looking insect native to this land. It resembles and oversized locust. Some of the characters in Jackson's movies bear a striking resemblance to it.

    Before he made a big name for himself with Lord of the Rings, Jackson directed a series of low-budget independent films noted for their imaginative (and sometimes shocking) violence and splatter. They include cult classics like Brain Dead (Dead Alive in America), Meet the Feebles, and his first movie Bad Taste.

    The Weta Cave has models, props, and memorabilia from this body of work. There is a short film for visitors about the people who helped Jackson to create his masterpieces.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture

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    Kaitoke Regional Park

    by caraboo Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Kaitoke is a beautiful Forest park, with a mighty river.
    Home to the Lord of Rings site 'Rivendell'.
    There is a suspension bridge which gives a magnificent view of the river. There are a range of walks/hikes (30mins - 6 hrs), picnic areas, bbq, camping sites. The river is great for swimming in summer, and also white water rafting (contact ranger for details: Steve.Edwards@wrc.govt.nz). A great place to visit at any time of the year.

    Related to:
    • Rafting
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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    La colmena / The Beehive

    by elpariente Written Feb 3, 2010

    El edificio que alberga las oficinas ministeriales del parlamento de Nueva Zelanda le llaman la Colmena. La razón del nombre es bastante obvio, aunque muchos de los habitantes de Wellington piensan que el edificio tiene un aspecto lo más parecido a una nave extraterrestre
    Hicimos una visita guiada al Parlamento y nos sorprendimos con la Sala de Asuntos Maoris, la biblioteca, el Gran Salón ...

    The building housing the ministerial offices of the New Zealand Parliament is called the Beehive. The reason for the name is pretty obvious, although many Wellingtonians think that the building looks as much like an alien spaceship as it does a beehive
    We did a guided visit to the parliament and we were surprised with the Maori Affairs Room , the library , the Grand Hall...

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    Centro Cívico / Civic square

    by elpariente Written Feb 3, 2010

    El Centro Cívico está formado por una serie de edificios con un diseño arquitectónico muy interesante , que rodean un gran espacio abierto y un puente que lo une con la línea de costa
    Entre los edificios están Centro Michael Fowler , donde se dan recitales y cociertos , la Biblioteca Central , la Galería de la Ciudad , un museo de tecnología y el ayuntamiento
    En la plaza central están las palmeras metálicas y siempre hay animación , teatro , música...
    es muy bonito el puente que está tallado con estilo Maori

    The Civic Centre is comprised of a series of buildings with interesting architectural design, surrounding a large open space and a bridge linking the waterfront
    Among the buildings are Michael Fowler Centre, where there are concerts and exhibits, the Central Library, the City Gallery, a museum of technology and the Council building
    In the central square there are metal palm trees and there is always entertainment, street theatre , music ...
    The bridge is very nice which is crafted with Maori carving and artwork

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    Steps up to The Terrace

    by fishandchips Written Mar 12, 2009

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    At the first corner of Boulcott St when coming off Manners St there are steps you can take to get up to The Terrace. There are 100 or so steps to get up so it's a nice bit of stress on your thighs at the end of a long day sitting in the office.

    I actually use the steps as part of my running circuit around Boulcott St and The Terrace as a short sharp bit of exercise before popping into the GP for a post work drink.

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Business Travel
    • Adventure Travel

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    More than just a movie theatre

    by craic Updated Sep 9, 2008

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    I love this place! Not only do they have an interesting line up of new movies but they also host film festivals. The Human Rights Festival is on at the moment but I went to see I'm Not There. (Great performance by Cate Blanchett but frankly I thought the movie was a narrative mess. Or maybe I am too old.)
    Anyway - they also have a great licensed cafe - so you can be civilised and your group can have a snifter of something or a coffee, just as they prefer.
    The balcony looking out onto the mayhem of the Courteney Place is the place to be in the more salubrious months.
    And then once the movies are finished they kick off a dance party with a dj (maybe just on Friday and Saturday.)
    The movie house is old and venerable and devil may care. Just a little worn around the edges, reeking with presence and mana.
    As I say - I just love it. SUPPORT IT.
    Three cinemas. To get to the Bergman and the Brooks you wander a maze - quite fun.

    NB They sell Kapiti ice cream! Wonderful stuff. I had a lemongrass and ginger flavour last time I was there that nearly knocked my socks off!

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    Railway Station - more than a Place of Transport

    by Kakapo2 Updated Jun 30, 2008

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    This is much more than a place where trains depart and arrive. It is a majestic building in late Classical style, designed by the architectural firm Gray Young, Morton and Young, and opened in 1937. Until then there were two terminals (Lambton and Thorndon) for the different lines. At the time it was the country’s largest building.

    The U-shaped building, located beside the Old Government Building, encloses the platforms on three sides. It is 27.5 metres high and 105.5 metres long, and has six storeys. As it sits on reclaimed land, it was constructed on reinforced concrete piles grounded on the original harbour bed.

    The front entrance of the Railway Station building is dominated by a colonnade of eight 13 metre high Doric columns. 1.75 million bricks were used for the exterior.

    The booking hall is light and bright, decorated with mottled dados that extend to the high vaulted ceiling. A compass design decorates the marble terrazzo floor. The hall opens to the roofed platforms.

    You can walk from the platforms straight to the Westpac Stadium further west.
    The monumental scale of the building reflects the importance of railways in New Zealand during the first half of the 20th century – unfortunately it has become insignificant in the meantime. The ground floor was redeveloped in 1989, and extensive renovations took place in 1999/2000. So now you see the building in its full beauty, as an architectural masterpiece of national significance.

    The station is New Zealand’s busiest station, with lots of commuter trains servicing the Manawatu, the Hutt Valley and the Wairarapa.

    The Government acquired the station from Tranz Rail in 2003, and it is currently managed by the New Zealand Railways Corporation ONTRACK on their behalf. The east wing houses the head office of ONTRACK. Train control for the whole country, Toll NZ's Tranz Metro and Tranz Scenic passenger services and Interislander ferry service are managed from there. The Overlander service from Wellington to Auckland was close to be scrapped some years ago, but after public protest it was kept on running.

    In the basement you find a New World supermarket, and west of the the station is the bus terminal which services most bus routes, including the Airport Flyer – but NOT Karori.

    Update 1 July 2008
    In May 2008 the Government bought back Railways NZ from from Toll Holdings. On 1 July 2008 the company got a new name and a new logo. It is now KiwiRail. First main target is to upgrade the rails over the next five years and get freight back from the roads to the rails. The total spending will exceed more than one billion NZ dollar.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Trains
    • Historical Travel

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    Chews Lane

    by fishandchips Updated Jun 29, 2008

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    Chews Lane is the newest of all streets in Wellington city and runs between Willis and Victoria Streets.

    The lane has a coffee shop, food place and bar (3C) if you'd care to stop for a while on your holiday to refresh.

    Just around the corner on Willis St are several brand new clothing shops so once you have shopped you can drop for either a coffee or beer.

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Business Travel
    • Food and Dining

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    Massey Memorial

    by stevemt Updated May 4, 2008

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    A nice thing to do on a nice day in Wellinton is a drive round the bays.

    If you leave from Oriental bay driving round the bays, continue on through Shelly Bay Airforce Base, untill you come to a sign for "MASSEY MEMORIAL"

    Turn off here and follow the road.

    The memorial is beautiful and the views spectacular.

    The Massey Memorial at Point Halswell, Wellington, commemorates William Ferguson Massey who was Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1912-1925.

    In 1886, because of fears about Russia's presence in the Pacific following the Crimean War, an 8" gun emplacement was constructed on the site. The gun pit was later incorporated into the design of William Ferguson Massey's tomb underneath the Memorial.
    Shortly after Massey's death in 1925, the Massey Burial-ground Act was passed allocating land at Point Halswell to be set aside as a burial ground for him and his widow. Public subscriptions raised funds totalling £5,000 and the government contributed £10,000. Auckland architects Gummer and Ford and consulting architect Samuel Hurst Seager were engaged to design a fitting tomb and memorial

    The Memorial was completed in July 1930 and was unveiled by His Excellency the Governor-General, Lord Bledisloe, on 19 September 1930

    Originally known by its Maori name, Kaitawharo ('to eat jellyfish'), Point Halswell, was renamed after the Commissioner of Native Reserves, Edmond Halswell, who arrived in New Zealand in 1841.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

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    Bolton St Cemetery

    by craic Updated Apr 25, 2008

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    It's not creepy - old cemeteries usually aren't - and it's free - and it is very close to the CBD.
    I have got ancestors buried there so it is of particular interest to me. Some parts are wild and overgrown, some are quite sunny and well cared for.
    Way back when a motorway was mooted there was much dissension - this place was so historic, and there was also the sticking point of exhuming graves.
    But it was done. The car rules.
    I seem to remember the exhuming happened at night - over 3000 people are now buried in a vault (including some of my ancestors) under the memorial lawn. Their names are listed in the chapel. And their headstones are grouped nearby.
    I was interested to discover that this town cemetery - as opposed to church graveyards - was quite a new liberal free thinking idea when the Pakehas arrived to settle NZ. All denominations in together. But this grand concept did not last for long and various religious dignitaries lobbied for separation of religions - and succeeded. I was also interested to find out that Jewish settlers were allowed to own land.

    Although everyone I know has always called this the Bolton St Cemetery it appears its correct name is the Bolton St Memorial Park. But it could take some time for that to catch on. If ever.

    What is saddest is the headstones of whole families of little children wiped out in a scarlet fever epidemic.

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    City Gallery

    by craic Updated Apr 25, 2008

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    It is so strange coming back to my home town and finding so many of the buildings have changed their use. Those that are still there of course.
    One of my most important sanctuaries was the Wellington Central Library so I really wanted to recapture the magic. The hours I spent in here trying to make sense of really difficult things - like the poems in the New Yorker.
    Well, now it is an art gallery (contemporary) but it was free so although I wasn't in the mood for contemporary art I popped in and golly - no memories of library left - (well, just one, going up the stairs) but I was enraptured and refreshed by the Russian film on 3 screens - now what was it called? I'll check the brochure.
    Ah yes. Last Riot by a collective called AES & F.

    And Reboot - The Jim Barr & Mary Barr Collection.

    Both showing temporarily.

    Now, this is what a gallery should do. No solemnity or heavy prices. Pop in for ten minutes and get refreshed and inspired.

    Had an interesting discussion with a security guard about Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party - and a piece of DVD art that was showing of a young person playing a violent video game. One of the most confronting and intimate pieces I have seen in a long time.
    I was sure it was a boy aged between 14 -16 - when they are a little androgynous (but beautiful).
    She was adamant it was a girl.

    I shall be taking many friends and relations in to view the piece and then pop the question.

    Boy or girl?

    UPDATE I did the guided tour and it is a 14 year old boy. I thought as much. Though several people on the tour were surprised by that info. They had thought the subject was a girl.

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    Museum of Wellington City & Sea

    by Kakapo2 Written Apr 16, 2008

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    This fabulous small museum is located in an historic building at Queen’s Wharf. It displays Wellington’s social history and maritime past, with videos, holographs, models and relics. It has the best information and displays about the Wahine disaster, New Zealand’s best known maritime tragedy. 53 people lost their lives on 10 April 1968 when the Wahine ferry sank in Wellington Harbour in a horrible storm.

    More info about this disaster in my tip about Frank Kitts Park.

    Open daily 10am – 5pm

    Entry free.

    Other interesting museums:
    New Zealand Police Museum (Papakowhai Road, Porirua)
    Petone Settlers Museum (on the Petone foreshore)
    Colonial Cottage Museum (68 Nairn Street), in central Wellington’s oldest remaining building

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits

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    Oriental Bay: Play in Sand from the South Island

    by Kakapo2 Written Apr 15, 2008

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    As nice as the white sandy beach is at Oriental Bay – it is a kind of fake beach. All the sand was shifted here from the other side of Cook Strait – from Golden Bay - in 2003, 17,500 cubic metres in total.

    A nice feature of the bay is a fountain in the sea, not too far away from the beach. The Carter Fountain was built in the 1970s – and was not on when we walked along the beach during the day but spat water when we were there in the evening. It is close to the Fisherman’s Table restaurant was once was a Band rotunda, and built in 1936 as changing sheds.

    The big make-over of Oriental Bay took place in 2003. This included the fountain, the rotunda which was transformed into a restaurant, bringing in the sand from the South Island, and the promenade got a new pavement. Now it really looks brilliant – and as my first real visit was so long ago I do not remember how it looked then LOL So I cannot really compare it. But I think the only thing that matters is that it is a great place now.


    Other good beaches are:
    Lyall Bay (near the airport), Scorching Bay (well-known for the famous Chocolate Fish Café), Days Bay (in Eastbourne, you reach it by ferry from Queen’s Wharf; kayaks, bikes etc. for hire; cafés and bushwalks)

    On photo 2 you see Oriental Bay from further along the road to the east, with St. Gerard's sitting on top of the hill, on Mt. Victoria. At the bottom left you can recognise the round building which once was a band rotunda and now is a restaurant named Fisherman's Table.

    On photo 3 the Carter Fountain, next to Fisherman's Table, is spraying water into the evening sky.

    Related to:
    • Beaches

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