It’s summer in Wellington, and here are our top 10 FREE things you should check out!
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1. Adventure on the Town Belt
With views so rewarding, the tracks along the town belt are a must-do adventure. You can get to the Brooklyn Wind Turbine by car: Turn off Ashton Fitchett Drive to get there. On Wrights Hill there’s big gun placements, and underground tunnels and bunkers. Mount Kaukau boasts likely the best views – the summit walk is 4.2km (3 hours), starting at Simla Crescent. Don’t forget your camera, water, and snacks!
2. Visit the Botanic Gardens
On a sunny day, visting the Botanic Gardens is absolutely beautiful. Lush green grass, stunning flowers, bush, trees, views of the city, and yet so close! It covers 25 hectares of land, so great for a quiet escape. You can take the cable car up, and visit the free museum too (super photogenic Welly spot!)
3. Paekakariki Hill Road Lookout & Walk
Catch a train or drive north on SH1 to Paekakariki, where you can either walk the Paekakariki Escarpment to reach stunning views, or drive to the lookout. The track is 10km long and access is accross the road from the Paekakariki Station car park. 2-4 hours depending on fitness levels. It is mostly uphill! The stunning ocean views on a sunny day are so worth it though.
4. Walk up Mt Victoria
Mt Victoria boasts the best views of Wellington city. You can either drive up, catch a bus, or walk (or run!). The hill has tracks so it’s easy to get to the top, and well worth the view! Go during day time or night – the city lit up at night is just as beautiful. 360 degree views show the other side of Wellington too, where you can watch the planes take off and land.
5. Visit Matiu/Somes Island
If you know someone with a boat, get them to take you here! Otherwise it is a short ferry ride (unfortunately not free) from Wellington waterfront which takes you to Somes Island in the middle of the Harbour. To get 360 degree views of Wellington, just take the loop track up the island, only 40 minutes return! Open to the public 8:30 am to 5:00 pm daily.
6. Go To A Beach!
Being coastal, Wellington has beautiful, close by beaches. Oriental Bay is right in the city, with great ice cream shops nearby. Scorching Bay is a bit further away, but absolutely stunning for a beach day. Days Bay beach is in Eastbourne, which also has cute shops, and walks up nearby hills – you can catch a ferry there, or bus.
7. Adventure at Red Rocks
At Red Rocks, you’ll often find seals! South of Wellington, this is a great place to go for a coastal walk. Pack some water and snacks, your camera, and make a day of it. The Red Rocks are ancient pillow lava formed 200 million years ago by undersea volcanic eruptions. Small amounts of iron oxides give the rocks their red colour.
8. Belmont Regional Park – Boulder Hill Lookout
Get 360 degree views of Wellington, the Hutt, Porirua and more from the top of Boulder Hill. This takes about an hour to walk up from the carpark at Belmont Regional Park (bottom of SH58 Haywards and SH2). There’s also a waterfall track from the carpark! Pack food and water, and take your friends.
9. Parliament Building Tour
FREE tours run inside the Parliament Buildings, either 30 minutes, or 60 minutes long depending on how much you want to see. Public tours run between 10am and 4pm daily. Just note that you can’t take your belongings with you on the tour – they stay safe and sound in secure storage within the visitor centre.
10. Visit Te Papa:
Even if you’re a local, you probably haven’t been to Te Papa for a long time. Go check it out! It’s actually really cool in there – and FREE! Te Papa has a full programme of changing exhibitions and events all year. See precious treasures, art, scientific and historic collections, and come along to our range of activities, performances, and talks.
What other free things are a must-do for Wellington summer?