Classic Maori carving on display at Te Papa – one of the best free museums in the world
The best free things to do in Wellington range from Wellington’s museums such as Te Papa to the government beehive parliament tour. Wellington is packed with many wonderful places to visit and things to do that will not cost you a penny. The iconic and many-times-over awarded Te Papa museum is definitely one of the free things to do in Wellington not to be missed. Enjoy the incredible collections and exhibits which include Maori treasures, art, a humongous squid and an earthquake simulator. There is also a cafe and restaurant at Te Papa which are top quality plus a number of excellent short term exhibitions.
The Wellington Museum actually used to be called the Wellington City and Sea Museum. A few years ago this quirky little museum was included on ‘The Times’ newspaper ‘Top 50 Museum’s in the World’ to visit. The museum concentrates on 1000 years of New Zealand’s maritime story. Inside are plenty of things to do for kids, including various interactive exhibits and a fun discovery centre. Continuing on the free museum theme there are also the award-winning Cable Car Museum and the Petone Settlers Museum. For something a little outside of the norm head to the Moko Museum/National Tattoo Museum where you can learn all you might need to know about this traditional Maori art.
Wellington Museum – that used to be called Wellington City and Sea Museum – a real gem, not to be missed!
If you enjoy the great outdoors you’re in luck because Wellington has a diverse range of walking trails. Some of these trails carry specific themes such as art deco architecture or Maori culture. The coast-hugging Eastern Walkway, for example, has some interesting memorials to be discovered along the way. One easy but fascinating trail is the harbour-side ‘Writers’ Walk’. This popular Wellington trail features 23 wood and stone sculptures of the written word. Sensitive integration of these beautiful pieces means each harmonises perfectly with their land and sea-scape environments.
For great views which take in harbour, airport, city and suburbs and surrounding bush head to the Mount Victoria Lookout. More great views and photo opportunities can be found at the Botanic Gardens. This wonderful 26 acre attraction is free to enter and easy to walk around. You can enjoy its forests, fountains, ponds, sculptures and multi-colour displays both exotic and native. In the summer the gardens host free concerts for visitors that will not cost you anything.
Wellington also has a wonderful choice of children’s parks and playgrounds both in it’s CBD and surrounding green-belt area. On this list are the ever-popular and easily accessed gems such as the harbour-front Frank Kitts and Island Bay Parks. The somewhat more hidden fun-time treasures such as the Roseneath Play Area with its giant slide can also be found just minutes from the centre of town.
One of the longest slides in New Zealand – great fun for kids of all ages
If your tastes tend more towards the culturally, architecturally and historically fascinating, we recommend the free Parliament Buildings hourly tour. This includes the iconic Beehive building and a wander through the New Zealand government’s civil servants quarters. Afterwards head to one of New Zealand’s oldest churches Old St Paul’s Cathedral. This site is considered, by those who know about such things, as one of the world’s leading examples of Gothic Revival architecture. Inside this native wood constructed tranquil escape you will find sumptuous furnishings, stained glass and carvings.
A great way to get acquainted with any country is to browse its markets and Wellington has some great markets. These include the buzzing atmosphere of the Wellington Night Market with its live entertainment in Cuba street. We also suggest the Wellington Underground market on Saturdays and the Hill Street Farmers’ Market. If you are after fruit and vegetables, pop along to the Sunday morning market opposite the Museum Hotel. It’s a great way to clear the head after a few drinks the night before!
We pride ourselves on being city experts but even we are continuously discovering new free things to do in Wellington. These free things to do we have mentioned here are just the tip of the ice-berg. There are also art galleries, beaches, Cuba Street Wellington’s busker hot spot, scenic reserves and so much more. For further information and top advice call or email us today.
The Magical Wellington Cable Car plus great views of the city from the top
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