Although it is the capital city, Wellington is only the second most populated area in New Zealand. The title of most populated city actually goes to Auckland.
It is not just a capital city either, its the southern most capital city in the world! Lonely planet called it the “coolest little capital in the world” for 2011.
Wellington has plenty to do, and a great destination if you are taking a trip to New Zealand.
With all that in mind we present our list of the top five free things to do in Wellington:
5. Weta Cave
First up on our list of free things to do in Wellington is the Lord of the Rings museum, Weta Cave. Many of you have watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy (The Return of the King alone grossed over $377 million in cinemas!), but did you know that it was filmed here in New Zealand?
Weta Cave started in 1987 in the back of Richard and Tania’s flat in Wellington. It is now a ‘world leading design and effects facility servicing the world’s creative industries. In 2014 it was given the head of ‘Smaug’ (the Dragon of the Hobbit movies) at San Diego Comic con.
If you want to go on the whole there and back again tour it will set you back NZ$65 and 2.5hours but you can just visit for free – check out the Weta Cave website here.
4. Wellington Botanical Gardens
Wellington Botanical Gardens makes it to number four on our list of free things to do in Wellington. It takes up an area of over 25 hectares of pretty flowers and beautiful trees. It has specialised plant collections, vibrant floral displays as well as protected species in its forest areas.
The gardens were established back in 1868 and some of the seeds that were planted all the way back then can still be seen today. Although they are maginifcent old trees now! These seeds have become some of the oldest exotic trees on New Zealand
Third on our list of free things to do in Wellington is to take a tour of the New Zealand Parliament.
Tours are free and happen on the hour daily, the first one at 10am and the last at 4pm. A trained parliament tour guide will take you all around the building and tell you stories about the history and processes involved in parliamentary business.
You check in all your belongings then spend an hour on the tour finding out about the history, architecture, refurbishment, and restoration of Parliament Buildings. The tour ends with some time for you to look around the gift shop.
2. City Gallery Wellington
The City Gallery Wellington is a great activity for those of you with a tighter budget.
If you are interested in the kind of art featured in this gallery their website states:
“Our exhibition programme focuses primarily on contemporary visual arts by local, national and international artists and designers, as well as international exchanges and joint ventures with other art museums.”
The gallery is open daily from 10am – 5pm (closed on Christmas Day) and is very accessible. There is wheelchair access, mobility scooters and hearing aid loops, guide dogs are also very welcome.
1. Te Papa
The final activity on our list of free things to do in Wellington is the Te Papa national museum. The Museum of New Zealand or ‘Te Papa Tongarewa’ is filled with free exhibitions and collections.
Te Papa means our place and the museum is a celebration of New Zealand heritage along with Maori history. The collections here fall into the following categories:
There are 36,000 square metres of public floor space(sixth and a half football fields) so the collections here will keep you occupied for hours!