The Wairarapa region is home to so many of the great things in life.
With delicious wine, boutique coffee shops and peaceful beachside towns among just some of the highlights here, its really not hard to see how the region makes such a great holiday destination.
It is also where the country’s capital sits. If you find yourself in the city while holidaying here, you’ll notice a whole range of popular tourist hotspots from parliament buildings to botanic gardens and museums, to name just a few. So, to help you make the most of your time here – even if its just for a day visit or a quick stop on a family road trip – we’ve created an easy guide on the top things to do in Wellington.
See our Top 9 Things to do in Wellington, or…
1. Indulge in the coffee capital of New Zealand
Wellington is considered the coffee capital of New Zealand – you haven’t truly experienced Wellington without visiting a few of the local cafes. One such place is The Flight Coffee Hangar, which has sort of taken New Zealand by storm, with their eclectic mix of blends that will be a pleasant surprise to your taste buds. Another one of our top choices is People’s Coffee Espresso Bar, for their incredible coffee, their delightful cheese scone as well as the friendly staff.
2. Stop to smell the flowers at Wellington’s Botanical Gardens
If you are in need of some nature to break up your city stay, theres no better or closer place to do it than in these stunning 25 hectares. These gardens offer a unique landscape with specialised plant collections and vibrant botanical displays. Here you can also find views over Wellington city and there are several self-guided walks through the gardens. It also makes for the perfect family day out, with a children’s playground as well as a duck pond located in the main garden, allowing those with small children to enjoy the iconic family activity of feeding the ducks!
3. Enjoy some retail therapy in Lambton Quay and Cuba Street
These are the most popular streets in the whole of Wellington and it’s not hard to see why. Lined with world class cafés, restaurants and art galleries, they also offer a great array of shops from the popular branded chains to vintage shops with unique finds. Cuba Street is also known for its bohemian feel, which sets it apart from Lambton Quay and it is filled with street performers to entertain you as you hop between shops. Whats not to love?
4. Discover the country’s fascinating history at the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa
This is New Zealand’s National Museum which attracts over 1.5million people every year. Te Papa translates to ‘Our Place’ in Maori, and here you can discover many different exhibitions, events as well as a guided tour to learn more about the collections here. Discover everything from 800,000 pieces of artwork, the history of Pacific Cultures, Dinosaurs, Botany, and Zoology. This is a great day out if you’re looking to widen your knowledge of the country’s history and culture.
5. Climb Mount Victoria
The best view of Wellington is from the Mount Victoria lookout, found at the summit. Here you’ll get gorgeous panoramic views of Wellington Central and Wellington Harbour. Several different paths will take you up, but if you are not so fond of walking you’ll be glad to know there’s a road to the top as well! If you can, try and catch the sunset from the top. Watching the sun drop behind the city on a clear day is a great way to finish up a day of exploring the city.
6. Discover New Zealand’s incredible wildlife at Wellington Zoo
Animal lovers will love a visit to New Zealand’s first ever zoo and conservation organisation. Opening its doors in 1906 this non for profit trust has a wide range of animals in its care. Discover non native animals such as Giraffes, cheetahs and chimpanzees, as well as native animals which are quite elusive in the wild, such as the iconic Kiwi bird.
7. Visit Parliament
If you’re a bit of a history buff or love a bit of politics, a tour of Parliament should definitely be on your itinerary. Choose from a 30 minute or 60 minute tour that will fill your brain with rich history and give you a little overview of how New Zealand’s government operates. You’ll get to enter the debating chamber and if you’re lucky there might be a debate in session which you can watch for free from the public gallery.
8. Take a ride on the famous cable car
Undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Wellington, this funicular railway cable car is not to be missed even on a short trip to the city. It only takes roughly 5 minutes to reach the top and once there you will be greeted greeted by unbeatable, picture-perfect views of both the city and harbour. There is also a cable car museum found at the top, which houses the original machinery for the first cable car system from 1902.
9. Visit the Weta Workshop Tours
The team at Weta Workshop work on projects for some of the most successful blockbuster films in the world. The extensive list includes the Lord of the Rings, Thunderbirds Are Go, Avatar and Narnia. Impressed? Rightly so! They offer guided tours of their studio which will take you into the world of modelling and creating. You can choose to tour the Thunderbirds Are Go studio or the Weta Cave Workshop. Both of these are quite different experiences so combining the two ensures you don’t miss a thing! It is short drive out of the city, but there are plenty of busses and shuttles leaving from the CBD which operate to and from the Workshop. Perfect!
Over to you…
Do you have any favourite activities or places to go in the Wellington/Wairapa region? Let us know by leaving a comment, we would love to hear your thoughts!
Featured Properties in the Wellington/Wairarapa area
One of two dwellings on site, Mokomoko Lodge is a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom Martinborough holiday home. Positioned to capture gorgeous vineyard views, this peaceful location is within easy proximity to everything on offer in the Martinborough region!
Kapiti at The Coast is a gorgeous 4 bedroom beachfront holiday home. The spacious, modern interior easily caters to both families and couples for a relaxing break. Direct access to the ocean beach is an added plus – perfect for winter walks or summer days spent by the sea!
Set among lush, private gardens, this 2 bedroom holiday home is the perfect relaxing base if you’re planning on exploring the vineyards of the region. The antique inspired interior is a great space to relax indoors, and the sheltered porch is perfect for al fresco dining in the summer.