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Wellington City in New Zealand is known for its vibrant and creative culture and lifestyle. The city is home to an abundance of foods, wines, craft beer, cafes and events. There are also countless free things to do in Wellington – making the city an affordable, and exciting place to visit. This is my seven recommended free things to do in Wellington.
Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa)
Te Papa is Wellington’s bold, innovative and interactive national museum. General admission is absolutely free for guests to go on and experience the whole of New Zealand in one building!
The museum showcases New Zealand’s natural environment, Maori culture, stories and treasures, traditional and modern art and the country’s history. Located on Wellington’s beautiful waterfront – open every day 10 am to 6 pm meaning the national museum is one of the most perfect free things to do in Wellington.
The Mount Victoria Lookout rises 196m above the city and offers you stunning panoramic views of Wellington City, the harbour and beyond – views of Tinakori Hill, the Hutt Valley, and surrounding islands and peninsulas. The lookout is located right next to the central business district, you can drive all the way up, or take a walkway through the bush-covered Town Belt.
The lookout is regarded as one of the best spots in the city for taking in a sunrise or sunset, so make sure to pack a picnic with you, and settle in on the hillside and relax.
Otari-Wilton’s Bush Native Botanic Garden
The Otari-Wilton’s Bush Native Botanic Garden is the only public botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to native plants. With 100 hectares of native forest and five hectares of plant collections, the garden is alive with unique and beautiful flora.
The garden is regarded as a Garden of National Significance by the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture and has some of New Zealand’s oldest trees including an 800-year-old rimu.
Housed in an 1892 heritage building, the Wellington Museum has four floors full of Wellington and New Zealand history. The museums newest permanent exhibition, The Attic, opened in late 2015 and features some of the curious and quirky tales from Wellington’s past.
Wellington Botanic Garden
The Wellington Botanic Garden is 25 hectares of protected native forest, with specialised plant collections, colourful floral displays, and views over Wellington city. As one of the many free things to do in Wellington, the garden has a lot to offer. Like the Otari-Wilton’s Bush Native Botanic Garden, the Wellington Botanic Garden is regarded as a Garden of National Significance by the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture and is also a Historic Places Trust Heritage Area.
Lady Norwood Rose Garden
The Lady Norwood Rose Garden is situated in the Wellington Botanical Gardens, only a short walk or drive from downtown Wellington. The flowering season starts in November and continues until the end of April, so make sure if you’re in Wellington during these months that you come and have a walk through the gardens.
Each bed has different varieties of rose. The roses are cared for using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program which uses monitoring to determine pest and disease control, with low toxicity chemicals and natural predators such as ladybirds used.
Even in winter, Scorching Bay is a great place to visit. You’re sheltered by the cold winter winds by a curved, rock border around the bay. The beautiful beach has great views of the mountains across the harbour and of the South Island ferries coming and going. With sparkling, blue-turquoise waters, the area is picturesque and relaxing. Pick a day that looks promising, weather-wise, and enjoy.
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