Wellington City and Its 25 Most Prominent Tourist Attractions You Should See
Updated On: May 05, 2023
New Zealand is a beautiful country to wander about and observe its superb attractions. While in New Zealand, you need to take a look at the opulent capital city of Wellington. The location in which the marvelous city is situated encompasses staggering beaches, bright houses, and historic attractions.
Riding the iconic red cable car of Wellington is an experience you won’t forget. It will take you on a journey to witness the tremendous streets and attractions, depicting the country’s rich history. Moreover, Wellington is famous for being a culinary spot in the world. It embraces a wide array of award-winning restaurants, serene coffee shops, and off-center bars.
If Wellington is your next destination, we are here to help you create an interesting travel itinerary. In this list, you will find a plenty of tourist attractions to visit and enthralling outdoor activities to check off your bucket list.
1- Explore the Country’s Art and History at Te Papa Tongarewa
Te Papa Tongarewa is a prominent museum that attracts tourists from everywhere. It embraces a superb collections of the art and history of New Zealand. Also, it tells the stories of Aotearoa and the Maori — the first settlers of New Zealand. No wonder it’s the country’s national museum. If you are looking to learn something new, then this destination is the spot for you.
The museum provide interactive exhibitions, including the Earthquake House. The latter is a stimulating experience where you get to know how it feels being in an earthquake. Their biennale will keep you entertained whilst learning new things and feeding your curious mind. It is also suitable for people of all ages.
2- Discover Hannah’s Laneway — A Little Escapade for Foodies
Wellington is famous for being home to the world’s best restaurants, bakery shops, and cafes. Many of the most prominent ones are lined up along the renowned Hannah’s Laneway, or Leeds Street. It lies in the heart of the city, in central Wellington, and is one of New Zealand’s unmissable destinations.
The eateries found there serve different kinds of treats, including chocolates, pizzas, bakeries, and more. Bakers, roasters, grinders, and professional cooks collaborate to provide the most flavorful tastes to their locals and visitors. Moreover, the street embraces more than a few gift shops where you can get some nice souvenirs.
3- Ride the Iconic Wellington Cable Car
One of the most famous symbols of Wellington is its classic cable car. This wonderful red vehicle has been a staple in the city that draws many tourists. Well, cable cars are a standard symbol of New Zealand, but the Wellington’s red cable car is a different story.
Taking a ride in this superb transport is an unforgettable experience. You start your journey from the terminal found in the shopping district of Lambton Quay. The cable car takes you on a great ride around the city where you will enjoy a wide array of panoramic landscapes and unrivaled views.
4- Take a Wine Tour in Wairarapa
Wairarapa is a deluxe wine region in New Zealand that sits only an hour-drive away from Wellington city. You can reach there by either a car or a train ride. If you’re interested in tasting different wine flavors, you can book a wine tour beforehand. Otherwise, many hire bicycles and ride around the area, touring the opulent boutique vineyards.
5- Spot New Zealand’s Native Wildlife in ZEALANDIA Eco-sanctuary
Nature and wildlife are one of the great attributes of New Zealand. Wellington is home to the most famous eco-sanctuary in the country, ZEALANDIA. This beautiful nature reserve is home to some of the world’s endangered species of birds and reptiles. It embraces a glorious diversity of native birds that are only found in New Zealand.
These birds include species like takahe, stitchbird, and saddleback. They are all so impressive to look at. Moreover, it is also home of the tuatara, an acclaimed reptile in the country. Besides observing the striking forms of wildlife, the area offers long walking trails. It allows the visitors to freely explore the area. There’s also a great museum in which you can learn about the country’s natural history.
6- Trace the History of the City at Wellington Museum
The Wellington Museum is a small building, yet it houses some of the most significant collections of the country’s art and history. This little building that houses the museum features prominent film presentations of the maritime history of the city. It also presents the evolution process of Wellington city. A small gallery sits within the building, displaying the legends and myths of the Maori.
7- Reach the Peak of Mount Victoria
If you head to the eastern part of the city, you will come across the striking Mount Victoria. It’s almost 200 meters high above sea level, offering unrivaled views overlooking the city of Wellington. Whether you choose to take a drive up to the peak or hike it yourself, you will be rewarded with panoramic landscapes. So, make sure you have your camera nearby to capture those moments.
8- Escape the Fuss on Matiu Island
For the nature lovers out there, we have a serene spot where you can chill, Matiu Island. It sits on Wellington Harbour and is also known as Somes Island. This secluded island has witnessed so much history, for it used to be one of the Maori’s occupied lands. Currently, it serves as a nature reserve after being a military installation and quarantine station for sometime.
This splendid island offers a wide array of hiking trails, where you can hike your way up to the island’s highest point. Up there, you will be able to overlook glorious landscapes and spot some rare wildlife.
9- Visit the Iconic Building of The Beehive
The Beehive is an architectural masterpiece that resides within the lands of Wellington city. Its impressive exterior seems to attract people. The Beehive also happens to be the New Zealand Parliament Site. Lying right next to it is the more classical version of the Parliament House.
You can have free tours inside, but you will need to book your spot ahead. Also, the parliament gardens are public areas surrounding the parliament buildings. You can explore them, witnessing its splendid flora collections and statuary.
10- Discover the Magic of Movie-Making at Weta Cave Workshop
Did you know that some of the most fascinating movies happen in a special spot in Wellington? Weta Cave Workshop is a popular movie attraction that will fascinate huge fans of action movies. You will embark on a little journey, where you will learn how blockbuster movies’ special effects get done.
It is a deeper glimpse into the world taking place behind the scenes. The workshop was used to bring to life some of the world’s most famous movies. This list of movies include Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Avatar, and The Amazing Spider-man 2. You will learn so much about the sculpting art and makeup used in the movie to produce the magical worlds we see on the big screen.
11- Travel in Time at the Old Bank Arcade
Located on shopping district of Lambton Quay is the historical building. Old Bank Arcade. This magnificent building one rich with history; it will walk you through the highlights of New Zealand history. Moreover, the building is home to some cafes and boutique stores to entertain yourself while taking a bite of history.
12- Behold Unique Plant Life in Wellington Botanic Garden
If you have a warm spot for nature, you should take the time to visit Wellington Botanic Garden. This spacious green landscape is a lush oasis that features native forms of flora and fauna. You won’d find this impressive collection elsewhere in the world.
The garden houses several attractions that display a various collection of flower species and plant life. These attractions include the Space place at Carter Observatory that sits in the eastern corner of the garden. It offers an impressive planetarium show that will leave you entertained while absorbing brand new information.
13- Take a Stroll Around Cuba Street
Your trip to Wellington cannot be complete if you miss the popular lanes of Cuba Street. This street is an iconic feature of the city and one of the most-loved attractions to both tourists and locals. The street features several colorful buildings that houses stores that sell all types of goods.
Feel the nice breeze brushing against your face while exploring its cafes, record stories, and art galleries. Also, don’t forget to take a picture by the famous Bucket Fountain and have a splash of its cool waters. You will easily spot it as it makes a statement and brighten up the street.
14- Visit the Heritage Site of Old St. Paul
In the heart of Wellington city lies the historic site of Old St. Paul. It’s one of the most prevalent landmarks of the city. This building used to serve as a parish church, but currently it is popular for being a venue of different occasions like weddings or funerals.
Once you step inside this Gothic-style building, you’ll travel in time. The walls and columns are embellished with memorial plaques, commemorating the honorable figures who died in WWI. There is also a small gift store in the premises that offers beautiful gifts and souvenirs.
15- Take a Tour Inside Katherine Mansfield House & Garden
For all the literature and short stories lovers, this destination is for you. This small wooden house used to be the childhood home of Katherine Mansfield. The famous New Zealand author lived within the walls of this house for years upon years.
After her passing away, the house was restored to become a small museum for people to visit. The house is now in a well-maintained condition. It features 19th-century furniture and other personal belongings of the deceased author. You can book your spot to take a nice tour around the house and observe how she had been living. Also, pay the little on-site gift shop a visit for nice souvenirs.
16- Explore the Wellington Waterfront Area
One of the most popular attractions in the city is the Wellington’s waterfront area. You can find this district right in the central part of the city, where splendid buildings surround the area, with the New Zealand Museum being the most prominent. The area is popular for its abundant cafes and other shops. You can freely indulge on savories and grab hot drinks while scrutinizing the area.
The highlights of this area are the Queen’s Wharf and Frank Kitts Park, where you can observe the notable harbour. Several walkways for pedestrians fill the area, allowing the visitors to walk closely to the water. Not only do they enjoy the nice weather while strolling around, but they also get to enjoy the harbor’s splendid views.
17- Behold Some Artworks at City Gallery Wellington
This spot is a haven for art lovers, the City Gallery Wellington. Located on Civic Square, this gallery can be found in the old city library building. The gallery opened its doors for visitors back in 1980, introducing itself as a leading contemporary art space. One of the many things that characterize this building is its bright and colorful exterior.
However, the artworks it holds within its walls are sufficient to make you fall in love. The New Zealand Portrait Gallery department showcases a wide array of paintings by New Zealander artists. There are also many artworks by international artists. Moreover, the work of arts exhibitions include more than just paintings, there are sculpture, photography, multimedia work, and more.
18- Climb the Cape Palliser Lighthouse
The Cape Palliser Lighthouse is one of the most famous landmarks in New Zealand. Many tourists flock every year to this part of the country to fill their visions with scenes of real beauty. Once you’re there, you will listen to many tales about the history of the Maori. It’s said that this site is part of the Maori heritage and early occupation.
To reach the opulent lighthouse, you need to go through the dramatically picturesque road to Cape Palliser. One of the common activities that people like to take on at the Cape Palliser is climbing the 250 steps. It may be a real fitness test, but once you’re on top, you will be rewarded by unrivaled scenes of the ocean and other landscapes.
19- Visit the Nairn Street Cottage & The Colonial Cottage Museum
Would you like to travel back in time and have a taste of Wellington’s colonial era? The Nairn Street Cottage house is here for that. It is one of the oldest original homes that managed to survive to this very day. William Wallis was the owner of this house; he built in the 1850s for his family, where three generations of them lived in there.
Getting inside the house is allowed via a guided tour. The house features furniture and personal belongings of the family that dates back to the 19th century. They also happen to be the original items of the family; they were never exchanged, just well-maintained. The house also has an organic garden attached to it that’s open to the public all day long.
20- See New Zealand’s Wildlife at Wellington Zoo
Established in 1906, the Wellington Zoo is deemed the oldest ever in New Zealand. It features a magnificent variety of wild animals native to the country. This zoo is famous for its tremendous efforts in conservation that it has an animal hospital, known as The Nest. Visitors are welcome to visit this hospital and meet the heroes behind it all.
Native animals that you can meet up-close are the tuatara reptile and the kiwi bird. However, there are also animals coming from different spots around the world. These include giraffes, big cats, chimpanzees, meerkats, Malayan sun bear, and more. Among the activities that visitors engage in at the zoo are animal talks, feeding, and exploring the adventure playgrounds.
21- Swim at the Princess Bay
If you head south of Central Wellington and got away almost nine kilometers, you’ll come across the perfectly sandy area of Princess Bay. This bay is famous for its sandy shores and warm pools in the middle of nice rock formations. It is a popular swimming spot among locals during the hot months of summer.
Besides dipping in the waters, you can take a short walk along the coastal track. It stretches along the beach, allowing for scenic views when the weather is clear. Strolling around the area is also a popular activity in Princess Bay. You will enjoy some moments of tranquility while observing terrific natural scenes.
22- Wander Down to Oriental Bay
Here’s another bay in Wellington, where you can enjoy your day by the waters. Oriental Bay is popular for being a nice sunny spot for a great dose of Vitamin D. It’s also a famous spot in summer for swimming and sunbathing.
However, some people have daring souls, where they actually dip in the cold ocean during winter. If you happen to be one of them, we encourage you to spend the day by this magnificent bay, enjoying the golden sand. Also, Mount Vic Chippery lies nearby, from which you can grab a deliciously hot meal of fish and chips.
23- Spend Your Sunday Morning at the Harbourside Market
For so many years, Wellington has been holding its open-air Harbourside Market on every Sunday morning. It is one of the most famous food and produce markets in the city, selling affordable goods to their customers. The market takes place in the renowned waterfront precinct. Many stalls line up along the area, offering different kinds of goods and providing the visitors with a friendly experience.
24- Do a Day Trip to the Putangirua Pinnacles
The Putangirua Pinnacles lies a close to the popular lighthouse of Cape Palliser and is an hour drive from Martinborough. It’s a popular walking destination, where you get to observe magnificent works of nature in the form of rock formations, the Pinnacles. Several tracks are available for visitors to walk among these Pinnacles and be fascinated by its splendor.
Interestingly, there are also nearby attractions to consider visiting. One of the most prevalent attractions is Ngawi fishing village. You can watch the boats being either pulled out of or launched into the sea by old bulldozers. Moreover, the coastline of Cape Palliser is popular for offering spots for surfing, fishing, and diving.
Book your flight now, and prepare to be fascinated by the wonderful landmarks of Wellington.