Wellington Free Things To Do
Our guide to the best things to do for free in Wellington
Welliington is a compact harbour city that's packed full of attractions and iconic sights. As New Zealand's capital city, it's home to Parliament, iconic cable cars, a thriving waterront area, the 'Golden Mile' shopping district and packed full of cafes and award-winning restaurants. However, The 'Capital of Cool', is also a city that has plenty of options for the budget conscious visitor.
We've picked out a selection of some of the best free things to do in Wellington. Check out our 'Points of Interest Guide' for more inspiration.
1. Parliament Buildings Tour
Free tours allow you to get an insight into the inner working of New Zealand’s Parliament. The guided tours take place on the hour from Monday to Friday beginning at 10.00am until 4.00pm. The tour includes Parliament House, the 1899 Parliamentary Library building and the landmark Moderne Brutalist "Beehive" building which was opened by the Queen in 1977 to house the Executive Wing. Read more.
Location: Molesworth Street.
2. Cable Car Museum
The Cable Car Museum is a free award-winning attraction centred on the fascinating history Wellington’s beloved cable cars. The museum features a film focusing on the construction history of the cable car along with actual cable car exhibits. Open daily from 9.30am until 5.00pm. Read more.
Location: Upland Road, Kelburn. (Catch the cable car from Cable Lane off Lambton Quay)
3. Te Papa Tongarewa Museum
Te Papa Tongarewa is New Zealand’s national museum. The museum covers five interactive and educational areas – Art, History, Maori, Pacific and Natural Environment. Visitors are treated to a visual encyclopaedia of New Zealand, exploring what the country was and what is has now evolved to. The museum is packed full of innovative displays and fun exhibits making it an ideal family day out. Open daily from 10.00am until 6.00pm. Read more.
Location: 55 Cable Street.
4. Wellington Botanic Gardens
Wellington Botanic Gardens is an oasis in the bustling city with 25 hectares of beautiful landscaped gardens, forest, plants, and interesting sculptures. A popular way to explore the gardens is to walk back down from the top of the cable car ride into the city. Located at the entrance of the gardens are the Cable Car Museum and Carter Observatory. Open daily. Read more.
Location: Upland Road or Glenmore Street.
5. Victoria Peak Lookout
For the best views of Wellington, head to Victoria Peak Lookout. From the summit, take in views of the harbour, the Cook Strait to the south and Hutt Valley to the north.To reach the summit, turn right just past Oriental Bay into Carlton Gore Road and follow the Victoria Peak Lookout signs to the top. Read more.
Location: Lookout Road.
6. Government Buildings
The Government Buildings were built in 1876 and are a great example of the architectural heritage in New Zealand and one of the best wooden buildings in the world. Visitors can observe the displays on the ground floor and in the Cabinet room located on the first floor. Highlights include the hanging staircases, restored fireplaces and the statue of former Prime Minister Peter Fraser. Read more.
Location: 55 Lambton Quay
7. Weta Cave
The Weta Workshop is famous around the world for the visual creativity that featured in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. While the workshop itself is off grounds for the public, visitors can still visit the Weta Cave, which features many of the props and characters that were created for blockbuster movies. For a modest fee, a guided tour called ‘Window into Workshop’ provides more insight into the workshop history and the model making process. Read more.
Location: Corner of Camperdown Road and Weka Street, Miramar
8. Old St Paul’s
Situated close to Parliament Buildings and the railway station, Old St Paul's was the first Anglican cathedral in Wellington and is one of the capital's finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture. Along with free entry, a booklet explains the church`s history and the notable features on display. Open daily. Read more.
Location: 34 Mulgrave Street.
9. Bolton Street Memorial
Bolton Street Memorial Park is the oldest cemetery in Wellington. Over 1,300 carved monuments feature including the tombstone of the former Prime Minister, Richard John Seddon. Collect a map of the walking trails and uncover the stories behind some of Wellington's pioneering families. Access to the park is from Bolton Street and by continuing on from the Botanic Gardens after Anderson Park. Near the Bolton Street entrance is one of the oldest houses in Wellington, Sexon’s Cottage which was built in 1857. Open daily.
Location: Bolton Street.
10. Wellington Writers Walk
The Wellington Writers Walk is a chance to combine a walk along the waterfront with uncovering sculptural quotations from some of New Zealand’s best known writers. The quotations are tributes to the city from writers past and present and can be found in some unusual places. There are 23 quotations from poets, novelists, and playwrights which celebrate the city in their lives, and their place in Wellington life. Read more.
Location: Wellington Waterfront