Wellington is the capital and the second most populated city in New Zealand. However, the city could very well be the capital of cool as far as the Oceania region is concerned, being renowned for its arts, culture and native beauty. Here are just a few of the things you can do in Wellington to have fun, relax and experience the authentic Wellington culture, all for free:
1. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. This is New Zealand’s national museum which features some amazing and unique artifacts, both from modern and ancient times, from the Maori culture. “Te Papa Tongarewa” means “the place of treasures of this land”, and this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Also, the museum also house’s the national art gallery, so not only will you be taken down a memorable historical route through New Zealand’s past, but also experience some of the most exquisite art the country has to offer.
2. The Beehive (Parliament Buildings). One of the biggest building complexes in the world, it was designed to be strengthened by base isolation – a technique invented by a local Lower Hutt man which basically seats the entire building on supports made from lead, steel and rubber that slow down the effect of an earthquake. The complex houses New Zealand’s Parliament and free public tours are available to the public to see the Parliament’s basement. To the locals, and in time the tourists as well, the Parliament has become fondly known as the Beehive, due to its distinctive shape. Legend has it that it was first drafted on the back of a cigarette pack and the designer never dreamed it would be built.
3. Writers Walk. Massive concrete typographic sculptures sit in series along the waterfront, each containing a quote by a well-known New Zealand writer with strong Wellington roots. The sculptures were designed by Wellington typographer and graphic designer Catherine Griffiths. Combing a stroll along Wellington’s waterfront with these gracious and inspiring quotations by artists who have influenced New Zealand culture is definitely ideal. Ask for a free map at the Wellington i-SITE Visitor Centre on the on the corner of Victoria and Wakefield streets in Civic Square.
4. Free Movies. New Zealand’s entire moving image history has been collected and categorized at the Film Archive. In the mediaplex, you’ll be able to watch any New Zealand archived documentary, home movie, newsreel, feature films and even TV commercials. The mediaplex has cinema halls and changing exhibitions, moreover it’s open daily from noon and the entry is free, for any kind of activity. It’s on the corner of Ghuznee and Taranaki streets, so be sure not to miss it when in Wellington.
5. Weta cave. Did you love King Cong and Lord of the Rings? Well you should know that all those amazing sceneries of nature were from New Zealand, where the movies were filmed. A true paradise that encompasses both mountains and ocean, New Zealand has often been an ideal place for film directors looking to shoot fantasy flicks. In the newly opened Weta Cave, founded by the Academy Award winning company that brought Lord of the Rings to the big pictures, you’ll be able to some of the characters, props and displays from your favorite movies. It’s on the corner of Camperdown Rd and Weka St, Miramar, and is open Tuesday to Friday.
All of the above listed sights and activities are available for free, but that’s not to say Wellington is very expensive either. Accommodations and feed are really cheap, and most of the time you can find some sweet deals, from teeth whitening Auckland to tattoo deals in Wellington.