Top 5 Must-Do Activities in Wellington
As one of the most central hostels in town, our YHA Wellington team pride themselves on being well-placed to explore and offer tips about this cool little capital. Check out some of our top picks!
1. Culture vulture
Arguably the most cultured place in the country, Wellington's compact CBD hosts an explosion of bars and venues featuring every type of show to satisfy your comedy, karaoke, or cabaret cravings.
New Zealand's National Museum, Te Papa, is just a 5 minute walk from YHA, and features exhibitions on the history, geology, and art of New Zealand and Maori culture. It's free to enter, and you'll happily spend a few hours wandering at your leisure.
NZ's government centre, the Beehive, is another common visiting point. Take a free guided tour for an overview of parliamentary processes, history, and buildings. Your bonus Kiwi cultural experience comes in the form of a rugby game at Westpac Stadium, fondly known as the Cake Tin. Support the Hurricanes if you want to be popular among the locals!
2. Film buffs
As home to many of the Lord of the Rings cast and crew, Wellington is a must-visit for any die-hard Tolkien fans. Weta Cave and the numerous IRL film locations remain popular more than 10 years since the films were released.
Tucked in a residential neighbourhood in Miramar, you might walk right past the Weta Cave if it weren’t for the three larger-than-life stone trolls standing, petrified in the front garden.
But while it's an obvious drawcard for Lord of the Rings fans, you can also expect goodies from King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia, James Cameron’s Avatar, and remnants of the discontinued Halo film project, some of which made it into Neill Blomkamp’s gritty sci-fi classic, District 9.
Reader's bonus tip: The magnificent Embassy Theatre is just a stone's throw from YHA Wellington and a great place to catch a film (after a cocktail in the bar, of course!). Thanks to John from Stockholm for the excellent suggestion.
3. Nurture nature
There are some pretty epic spots to escape city life within close proximity of Wellington. The Botanic Gardens, Town Belt, Mt Victoria, and Polhill are your closest bets.
Fort Dorset has made some pretty impressive Instagram appearances slightly further afield. If you want to get right out of town, try Red Rocks, or head north to the coast Paekakariki Escarpment.
4. Trail rider
Mountain biking fans will be stoked to hear that Wellington well and truly has you covered. Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park is a world-class facility just 15 minutes from the middle of town. Native bush and bird life surround 40km of mixed grade tracks with a bit of something for everyone.
Mt Victoria, while not exclusively designed for mountain bikers, is also a must for its excellent views and proximity to the CBD. There are plenty of bike-priority tracks and some skills areas. Check out more info on Wellington bike trails or other mountain biking spots around New Zealand.
5. Quintessential Wellington
Put your walking shoes on and experience the highlights of city life. We would say map out a route in advance, but chances are you'll be sidetracked by something awesome (or delicious) along the way!
- Stroll or cycle around the scenic Wellington Waterfront - check out the public art and sculptures while you're at it
- Cruise down Cuba Street or check out Courtenay place for shops, cafes, and nightlife
- Walk to the top of Mount Victoria for a panoramic view of the city and harbour (try it at sunset!)
- Take a ride on the cable car for amazing views over Wellington Harbour
- Follow your nose to find your own slice of Wellington's coffee and cafe culture
Bright, super clean, modern, and friendly, this is one of the most central hostels in Wellington. Our 5 Star Gold Qualmark-rated backpackers comes flush with two kitchens, ample communal areas, and an on-site espresso bar. Handy!
This historic hostel was built in 1880 and shows a taste of what the high life was like in early New Zealand. Enjoy our huge multi-function kitchen and dining, large comfortable lounge with television, music and games, and our free WiFi.
YHA Picton, The Villa is a converted 110-year old boutique character home with sun-drenched rooms, gardens and verandas. Located in the centre of town, everything Picton has to offer is right on our doorstep.
Central North Road Trip
We've put together the ultimate Central Plateau road trip to show just how much cool stuff is packed into the area!
Top 7 Mountain Biking Towns in New Zealand
Whether you're an avid downhill mountain biker or trail rider, our 35+ hostels have got you covered when it comes to hanging up your helmet at the end of the ride.
Get set to sizzle this summer with a showcase of the best of New Zealand’s culture, music and food. From buskers to bandstands, foodie feasts and films, see NZ through these great events.
Top 5 Must-Do Activities in Christchurch
With two YHA hostels and our National Office located in Ōtautahi Christchurch, we like to think we know a thing or two about our wee town.
20 Activities to Keep You Busy in Rotorua
Rotorua is well known for it's geothermal wonders and adrenaline-pumping activities, but did you know it's also a haven for mountain biking? Check out some of our top activity picks.