After 10 days in Melbourne, I boarded a plane to Wellington, New Zealand. Wellington is known for being windy and rainy since it is on the water, and it definitely lived up to its reputation. The weather was so bad my first two days there, I barely left the hostel except to eat. When the weather finally cleared up enough for me to go exploring, I found that New Zealand’s capital is a fun city to walk around in, and there are lots of free or inexpensive things to do.
Take a walk along the harbor and Queen’s Wharf. From here you can see a multitude of boats and ships docked in the harbor, houses up on the hill, and the nearby Te Papa Museum. Entrance to the museum is free, unless you want to go to any special event exhibits that might be there.
You can easily wander into the main part of the city from the wharf, and within minutes you’ll be right in the middle of shopping, restaurants, and government buildings such as the famous beehive Parliament building. If you are interested, they offer a free one hour tour of the Parliament buildings.
The botanical gardens are located in the center of the city up on a hill. You can either walk up or take the cable car (NZ$6 round trip or NZ$3.50 one way) and explore the gardens and woods. There is no entrance fee for the gardens.
For a different perspective of Wellington, head up to Mount Victoria lookout, and don’t forget to take pictures along the way. I took the photo above while we were still on the very steep streets on our way up. Mount Victoria offers a great view of the whole city, especially when the weather is nice.
Of course, you have to eat, and while not super expensive, it’s not as cheap as it is to eat in Southeast Asia. Head over to the pedestrian area of Cuba Street for a wide variety of restaurants and bars.
I thought Wellington was a great city to just hang out in, wander around, and relax. There’s enough to keep you busy, but enough of a cafe culture to keep you from feeling like you have to run around sight seeing all day. Just make sure you bring rain gear and some warm clothes, even if it’s summer.