I’m getting to be quite an expert at Wellington since I have days free, am trying not to spend much money, and give advice to travelers coming to the hostel.
- Te Papa (though you may want to give a donation): this museum is the creme de la creme in NZ. The Maori section is very complete, the animal and children’s areas are surprisingly cool, and there’s even a section of Kiwiana. Give yourself a whole day, even if you’re not much of a museum-goer usually.
- The Library: all you need for a library card is a letter from your hostel saying that you “live” there, your passport or driver’s license, and the address of “someone else” in Wellington. Their fiction section is amazing and they’ve done a good job of end-capping select books.
- The Botanic Gardens: unless you’re infirm, walk to the top and take the nice downhill path back to the city. My personal favorite sections are the cable car museum, the rose garden, and the cemetery.
- The waterfront: the meandering waterfront walk goes from about the railway station to infinity. The best parts are from Te Papa to the airport. You could walk it and take a bus back if you’re not keen to walk 2 km or more back the same way.
- Carlucci Land: go, see, be amazed. This guy Carl has a bunch of land in Happy Valley right on the main road and he has plans to make a mini golf park. Of course the giant rusted statues might turn the place into Tetanus Land, but it’s really worth a stop. You can take the bus there or drive.
- The Archives: turns out the actual Treaty of Waitangi is in a vault in the Archives building (near the Beehive). You can go in and gawk for free. Be aware though, they have night-vision security cameras, so just because it’s dark in there doesn’t mean they can’t see you!
- Go to the top of Mt. Victoria: you can walk or drive via Courtenay Place – follow the signs to the lookout. It’s a strenuous walk but worth it!