Lonely Planet called it “one of the coolest little capitals in the World”, also naming it the best destination in New Zealand for 2018. Wellington, the city of craggy shores, vibrant culture and abundant architecture is a tourist delight. We’ve dug into the reserve of great experiences on offer and brought you these top five experiences that you can have for free in the city:
Mt. Victoria Lookout
See the whole city at once from top of the Mount Victoria Lookout, sitting 196m above the city. The views of the Wellington city and harbour as well as the Tinakori Hill, the Hutt Valley and Eastern harbour bays, Matiu/Somes Island and the Miramar Peninsula are awe-inspiring. Depending on your fitness levels, you can take the shorter or longer routes to the top, the longer being more scenic. For a lifelong memory, visit at sunrise or sunset.
Spend hours seeing the colourful boats from the harbour or dive into the refreshing water yourself. Visit the free Te Papa Tongarewa museum, take leisurely strolls along the harbour or jog to a beautiful view– the options really are limitless. If you feel romantically-inspired, you can spend on a lock and secure it against the side rails of Foot Bridge over the Frank Kitts Lagoon. The gesture is considered a testament to the love of the lock-bearers.
Explore the Wellington Botanic Gardens
The ample lures of the Wellington Botanic Gardens are easy to count. There are scenic views of the city on offer. Diverse flora and fauna is preserved amongst its 64 tranquil acres. The charming ponds beautify the surroundings and the best sunsets and sunrises over the city can be seen from here. Don’t miss the Lady Norwood Rose Garden, Wellington Wild Things and the Sculpture Trail, the star attractions of the garden. A leisurely stroll through the gardens is one of the best ways to spend a day out in the sun.
Hike the Hutt River Trail
The 29-km long Hutt River Trail can be accessed on foot and on a cycle. The scenic trail starts at Hikoikoi Reserve, Petone and ends at Birchville, Upper Hutt, meandering along the eastern bank of the eponymous river. It’s an easy trail to cover, perfect for family travellers. Look for hidden swimming holes along the trail or spend the night at the top of the Hutt Valley and begin your descent the following day.
Indulge in People Watching at Cuba Street
Vibrant, sophisticated and popular – the Cuba Street promises a good time. Trendy restaurants and cafes line the neighbourhood. Shoppers patronise all kinds of stores – clothing, jewellery, crafts, spa etc. Office crowds and tourists looking for a good time visit here in equal numbers. Get yourself a coffee or beer and absorb the hustle from a bar or a cafe. This is easily the most intimate way to know the city.