Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, is a vibrant hub of culture, creativity, and natural beauty. While it offers a multitude of exciting attractions and experiences, you don’t need to break the bank to enjoy the best of what Wellington has to offer. In this guide, we’ll explore 20 fantastic free things to do in Wellington that will make your visit both memorable and budget-friendly.

1. Explore Te Papa Tongarewa:

Te Papa Tongarewa

New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, offers free admission to its extensive collection of art, history, and Maori culture. Dive into New Zealand’s rich heritage and contemporary exhibits.

2. Visit the Wellington Botanic Garden:

Wellington Botanic Garden

Nestled in the heart of the city, the Wellington Botanic Garden is a lush oasis. Wander through its beautifully landscaped gardens, including the Lady Norwood Rose Garden, and enjoy panoramic city views.

3. Hike Mount Victoria:

Mount Victoria

Conquer the iconic Mount Victoria for breathtaking vistas of Wellington, including its harbor and surrounding landscapes. It’s an easy hike accessible from the city center.

4. Roam Cuba Street:

Cuba Street is Wellington’s eclectic and lively district filled with cafes, boutiques, street art, and quirky shops. Stroll through its vibrant streets and soak up the creative atmosphere.

5. Enjoy Oriental Bay Beach:

Relax on the golden sands of Oriental Bay Beach, just a short walk from the city center. It’s an ideal spot for picnics, sunbathing, and swimming during the warmer months.

6. Discover the Weta Cave:

While entry to the Weta Cave is free, the guided tour comes with a fee. Nevertheless, exploring the mini-museum and browsing movie memorabilia is an exciting free experience for film buffs.

7. Explore Zealandia:

Experience the incredible native wildlife and lush forest at Zealandia, the Karori Sanctuary. While the eco-sanctuary has an admission fee, the perimeter fence can be accessed for free, allowing you to see some of New Zealand’s unique birdlife.

8. Walk along the Waterfront:

Wellington's waterfront

Take a leisurely stroll along Wellington’s picturesque waterfront. You’ll encounter public art installations, sculptures, and a range of dining options, making it a pleasant free activity.

9. Attend a Free City Gallery Exhibition:

The City Gallery Wellington often hosts free exhibitions showcasing contemporary art and innovative installations. Check their schedule to catch the latest creative displays.

10. Experience the City to Sea Bridge:

Cross the iconic City to Sea Bridge, which connects Civic Square to the waterfront promenade. The bridge offers great views of both the city and the harbor.

11. Observe the Beehive and Parliament Buildings:

Beehive and Parliament Buildings

Admire the unique architecture of the Beehive and New Zealand’s Parliament Buildings. You can take a free guided tour to learn about the country’s political history.

12. Marvel at the Carter Observatory:

While entry to the Carter Observatory’s planetarium and exhibitions may have an associated cost, the observatory grounds and their outdoor telescopes are free to access during the day.

13. Peruse the Thorndon Farmers’ Market:

If you’re visiting Wellington on a Saturday, head to the Thorndon Farmers’ Market. It’s a great place to sample local produce and enjoy a budget-friendly gourmet breakfast.

14. Hike the Skyline Track:

Embark on the Skyline Track, a stunning coastal walkway that offers scenic views of Wellington Harbor. The trail starts from the top of the Wellington Cable Car.

15. Attend Free Cultural Events:

Keep an eye out for free cultural events and festivals happening in Wellington throughout the year, including live music performances, outdoor movie screenings, and more.

16. Discover the Wrights Hill Fortress:

Explore the historic Wrights Hill Fortress, a World War II-era military installation located in a scenic park. While guided tours are available for a fee, you can access the site’s surface for free.

17. Stroll through Old St. Paul’s:

Old St. Paul's

Marvel at the stunning architecture and intricate wooden interior of Old St. Paul’s, a beautiful Gothic-style cathedral that welcomes visitors free of charge.

18. Browse the Wellington Public Library:

Seek refuge from the city’s hustle and bustle at the Wellington Central Library. Apart from an extensive book collection, you’ll find cozy reading corners and free Wi-Fi.

19. Visit the Katherine Mansfield House:

Immerse yourself in literary history by visiting the childhood home of renowned author Katherine Mansfield. While entry to the house itself requires a fee, you can admire the exterior and gardens for free.

20. Watch the Sunset at the Red Rocks Reserve:

Red Rocks Reserve

End your day with a visit to the Red Rocks Reserve on the south coast. This coastal gem is known for its dramatic landscapes, seals, and stunning sunsets.


Wellington is a city that thrives on creativity, culture, and outdoor beauty. With this list of 20 free things to do in the capital of New Zealand, you can enjoy a memorable and budget-friendly experience. From exploring museums and gardens to hiking trails and watching sunsets, Wellington has something to offer every traveler without costing a dime. So, pack your sense of adventure and explore this captivating city without breaking your budget.