Family-friendly Activities in Wellington
Families are in for a treat once they arrive in the capital city of New Zealand. The family-friendly city is home to a number of safe swimming beaches, glorious parks for the kids to roam, fascinating museums and much more. Whatever the weather, there are always things to do in Wellington with kids! Check out some of our top family activity recommendations in the list below.
While you’re here, get more advice in The Guide to Wellington for Families.
1. See the Birds at Zealandia
Families or no, all travellers should add Zealandia to the itinerary! Easily accessible from Wellington’s city centre thanks to free shuttles, Zealandia is an eco-haven for New Zealand birds. It’s one of the best places in the country to learn about the fascinating natural ecosystem through its interactive museum. The haven has a network of easy walking trails for the whole family and for strollers, where feeding stations make sightings of takahe, kaka, tui, North Island robin and more, a common and exciting occurrence. Learn more about Zealandia on Viator and Tripadvisor.
2. Get Educated at the Te Papa Museum
If you know anything about Wellington then you’ve probably heard about its most famous museum, the Te Papa Museum. This fun and free museum is the national museum of New Zealand showcasing everything from its social history to its volcanoes to its flora and fauna. This city centre museum will have you and your tribe entertained for at least a couple of hours so make sure you leave enough time! Check out what sort of things you’ll see in 10 Reasons Why The Te Papa Museum is Simply Unmissable.
3. Get Active on the High-wire Obstacle Course at Adrenalin Forest
For active families, Adrenalin Forest is heaps of fun! This high-wire obstacle course provides hours of entertainment just outside of Wellington city, providing great value for money with adult tickets being under NZ$50 and kids being under NZ$30! There are seven courses running through the pine forest, starting from 1m (3ft) off the ground to 31m (102ft)! Note that kids need to be over 1.45m (4.7ft) high to participate. Find Adrenalin Forest just outside of Porirua where you can find more things to do in 10 Fun Things to Do in Porirua. More details about Adrenalin Forest can be found on Viator and Tripadvisor.
4. Spend the Day at One of Wellington’s Beaches
Yes, even in the city you can enjoy a day at the beach with the little ones. Oriental Bay is your closest beach to the city centre with safe swimming, which is a gentle stroll following the coast from the Te Papa Museum. Alternatively, Shelly Beach in Miramar is an attractive sandy beach backed by cafes to pick up an ice cream. Find more beaches and their locations in 10 Beaches in Wellington You Can’t Miss.
5. See How the Movies are Made at the Weta Workshop
Needless to say, you’ve probably shared a few family trips to the cinema or enjoy watching movies at home. Discover how they’re made at the Weta Workshop! The Weta Workshop offers a number of interesting all-weather tours, from looking at props and special effects from movies such as The Lord of the Rings, Independence Day and new movies they are working on. A better option for kids, however, is the Thunderbirds Are Go! tour where you’ll see how filmmakers turn everyday items into incredible miniature universes. Find out more about the Weta Workshop on Viator and Tripadvisor.
6. Enjoy Some Family Bonding Time at the Bowling Alley or the Cinema
If you’re craving some family bonding time or something more relaxing, then there are plenty of activities that you would expect in many cities. Challenge each other at the lanes of Bowlarama in Newtown. The bowling alley has 12 fully-electronic lanes with bumpers for kids. Alternatively, relax and watch a movie at The Embassy Cinema on Courtenay Place – Tuesday is the cheapest day to go.
7. Visit the Wellington Museum
Another fantastic free museum is the Wellington Museum, located in the city centre. The museum shares stories of the region within its grand heritage building. Kids can enjoy pretending they are playing on the shorefronts of Wellington in the 1800s, while The Attic is a place of intrigue with exhibitions about “Steampunk” inventions, Maori artwork and more. See more museums worth visiting in 12 Free Art Galleries & Museums in Wellington.
8. Learn About Space at Space Place
An affordable attraction for the whole family, Space Place allows visitors to learn more about the stars at the Carter Observatory. It’s also one of the rare family attractions to take advantage of on an evening in Wellington. The museum has interactive exhibits, while the full-dome planetarium is an awesome way to learn about the stars, planets, constellations and galaxies. Note that Space Place is only open during New Zealand school holidays.
9. Meet the Animals at Staglands Wildlife Reserve
Animal-lovers, take a special trip to the Akatarawa Valley in Upper Hutt to check out the Staglands Wildlife Reserve. This animal park has farmyard animals for the kids to meet, as well as native birds as part of conservation programs. There’s also an on-site cafe for families to meet and enjoy lunches to fuel your family for the day. Check out details and reviews of Staglands Wildlife Reserve on Viator and Tripadvisor. See more things to do nearby in 11 Excellent Things to Do in the Hutt Valley.
10. Feed the Ducks at the Wellington Botanic Gardens
Last but certainly not least, get some more fresh air at the Wellington Botanic Garden. This free thing to do in Wellington city centre is a must, with bush walks, gardens, playgrounds, museums and – a popular one with the kids – a duck pond! There are walks that can be enjoyed with a stroller, as well as the Treehouse Visitor Centre where you’ll take an elevator to the coolest visitor centre you’ve probably ever seen! See more budget-friendly activities in 23 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Wellington.