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14 Free or Cheap Things to do in Wellington


Free or cheap Activities in Wellington.

Whether you end up in Wellington to live the city life on a working holiday, or are just waiting to catch a flight or the ferry to the South Island, there are a few things to do without busting your bank account. In between partying, discovering the art, and having a few great eats, you’ll want to check out these free things to do in Wellington.

You can make this an educational visit by going to the interactive museum of Te Papa or tour the parliament buildings. A couple of walks give a good vantage point of the city to add to your reams of New Zealand photographs. Wellington is also an essential destination for The Lord of the Rings geeks, as it is home to the Weta Cave – the free part of the Weta Workshop – and a filming location is on a popular walk here too.

So set out into the city and have a blast on a budget! (And if you just want to skip to the good stuff, have a look at the 10 Wellington Must-Dos).

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1. Te Papa museum

If there is one museum you are going to visit in New Zealand it has to be Te Papa. The national museum is about all things New Zealand, from land (step into an earthquake simulator) to sea (witness the colossal squid). Insider tip: don’t forget to check out the mini exhibition under the Te Papa car park. Not a lot of people know it is there! For more information, check out 10 Reasons Why The Te Papa Museum is Simply Unmissable.


2. weta cave

Movie buffs rejoice! This mini museum and shop is the front of the Weta Workshop – behind-the-scenes concept design and prop production. This is a must for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit fans. For more Middle-earth activities, check out our Guide to The Lord of the Rings in Wellington.


3. walk mt victoria

Reach the lookout on Mt Victoria for views of Wellington city. Additionally, part of the walk was used in The Lord of the Rings when the Hobbits hide from the black riders outside of The Shire. To get there, you can start at the eastern end of Courtenay Place, cross Cambridge Terrace and Kent Terrace, walk along Majoribanks Street until you see the sign to the Southern Walkway. Follow the Summit Walkway to the lookout!


4. shop on cuba street

Known as a bit of a hipster/hippy joint, Cuba Street is holds quirky clothes stores, cafes, restaurants, and op shops. Take some photos, check out the sculptures and embrace the culture.


5. free parliament buildings tour

If you’re into your politics and architecture, then you are in for a treat. Learn about New Zealand politics and see the earthquake reinforcements on this free tour of Wellington’s Parliament buildings.


6. take the cable car

Make like the ultimate tourist by taking the cable car to the Botanic Gardens and lookout over the business district. The short journey is NZ$7 making it a darn cheap thing to do in Wellington! Find the Cable Car down Lambton Quay. At the top, the Cable Car Museum is free entry.


7. Have a drink

Wellington prides itself on its craft beers, cocktail bars and comedy entertainment. But don’t worry, there are some affordable places for a pint too, just check out: 5 Awesome Bars in Wellington.


8. zealandia

New Zealand birds! So many New Zealand birds! For NZ$17.50 take a stroll though the sanctuary and exhibition, which is home to native birds and the tuatara lizard – the only living ancestor from the dinosaur age.


9. walk along the waterfront

This will take you past ice cream parlours – vital nutrients needed to survive the walk – along Oriental Bay and past many sculptures including hidden poetry in the concrete. And when you are done walking move onto #10 on our list.


10. People watch on the waterfront

There are heaps of places to sit along the waterfront. Watch as all kinds of people skateboard, longboard, scooter, cycle, run and walk on by.


11. go to the cinema

Wellington is known as the windy capital so the weather can rapidly change. If you find yourself in Wellington on a rainy day, check out one of the few cinemas in the city.


12. Have some cheap eats

If you are a bit of a foodie, then Wellington is the place to be! What’s more you can enjoy the cuisine of Wellington while being on a budget. Take a look at our Cheap Eats in Wellington.


13. Explore the Botanic Garden

There’s 25 hectares of beautiful gardens to enjoy right in the centre of Wellington with multiple entry and exit points. Go on bush walks, catch a free gig in summer, see water features and get views from the tree house.


14. Check out the outer suburbs

There’s more to Wellington that the city centre! Why not go on a day trip to the Hutt Valley, Wairarapa or Kapiti? There’s so much to see in the surrounding areas that we have put numerous guides together such as 10 Reasons to Stop By in Wairarapa, 10 Must-Dos on the Kapiti Coast and Hutt Valley – Guide for Backpackers.


Once you have done all the free things to do in Wellington …

… Check out these articles:

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