A weekend in Wellington is an ideal location for all things art, adventure, and action. Whether you are a lucky local or visiting for a family getaway, there’s no shortage of fun, be it inside or out. We’ve come up with a stellar list of 21 things to do to keep your kiddos well and truly amused.
On the Kāpiti Coast, explore a pocket of peace and a place to learn more about New Zealand’s native wildlife and fauna. See the Kiwi in their nocturnal house, Tuatara, Kākā, Kea and much more. Enjoy the native coastal forest walk. Ngā Manu welcomes visitors every day of the week.
Wellington’s observatory is home to Space Place, and will teach the whole family a thing or two about stars and planets. There are lots for the little ones to look at, including a full dome planetarium, and you can even adopt your own star! Open on the weekends from 10am, take your budding astronomer along for the day.
If you’re looking for the place where ‘art’ meets ‘play’, then Capital E is your spot. There are always opportunities for your kids to discover science, tinker with art, experience performance art and plenty of play for the under 5’s. Look out for their ingenious holiday programmes as well, they’re always pretty cool.
The Wellington Museum will educate your whole family on the history of Wellington. Open every day from 10am to 5pm with free entry, the kids will be kept entertained by the interactive centre while you enjoy reading the about the culture of Wellington.
Te Papa is New Zealand’s most well-known and loved museum. Showcasing the country’s history and talent, it is family-friendly, with special kids’ exhibits to keep youngsters interested. They also have an awesome café so you can enjoy a family bite together.
Indoor Sports Centres
Hutt Indoor Sports and Wellington Indoor Sports Centres are jammed with amazing fun for kids. The kids can play Laser Warfare, a laser combat game played in an indoor inflatable arena, jump off a heap of energy at Jumerama trampoline parks, get a group together for Bowlerama, and for the younger kids, get completely lost in Junglerama play land.
Frank Kitts playground is situated on the Wellington Waterfront and is home to the iconic lighthouse slide. Near to central hotels and homes, this playground is ideal if you want the kids to release some energy after lunch.
Avalon Park is another must-visit playground that can be found in Lower Hutt. It is the ultimate playground for your kids to have fun at, with its modern design and innovative activity equipment. Mobile coffee and food trucks are also regularly onsite to ensure you get your caffeine and food fix while the kids play.
The Wellington Night Markets
The Wellington Night Markets are on every Friday and Saturday night from 5pm to 11pm. Located just off Cuba Street, this prime spot offers food, shopping, live entertainment, and exciting cultural performances.
Whirlwind Designs and Blackmore & Best Gallery
Located in up-and-coming area Shelly Bay, Whirlwind Designs offers unique art with a Kiwi twist. At the store, you’ll find quality artisan-inspired homewares, sculptures, and toys made from clocks. Nearby is the Blackmore & Best Gallery, ideal for families who want to experience all things arts and crafts in Welly.
The Wellington Underground Markets
If you’re after a daytime market, the Wellington Underground Markets are open every Saturday from 10am to 4pm. With a range of ethnic foods, great coffee, and live music on offer, this is the perfect Saturday morning treat.
Mount Victoria pram-friendly walk
The Mount Victoria loop will keep you active on the weekends. The 4.7km loop is well worth the walk. with its 360° scenic views of Wellington Harbour and the city. Remember to bring a picnic while you admire Wellington’s beauty and watch the ferries come into the harbour with your little ones.
Botanic Gardens pram-friendly walk
If you don’t have time for a long loop, try the Botanic Gardens. This walk can be as long or short as you like, and with 25 hectares of landscape, this peaceful jaunt will intrigue you and your children.
Crocodile covered bikes (pictured above) are the coolest way to travel down the Wellington waterfront. There are seats at the front for the little ones to enjoy the view while you pedal at the back. This activity is a must-do on a sunny day in the Capital.
Brew’d Beer, Coffee and Pizza is a family-friendly restaurant located in Island Bay. They have a separate kids’ menu and weekly deals including a night where kids dine free! Check it out for simple yet delicious Kiwi food.
Chocolate Fish Café
The Chocolate Fish Café is the ultimate family location. Situated on the water’s edge, make sure you stop by for a coffee or refuel after a walk along the shore. On a sunny day, enjoy the sun while sitting on the beanbags and grass area while your children are busy with the colouring activities provided by the café’s friendly team.
Wellington Zoo is home to many animals, from tigers and giraffes to birds and frogs. Open from 9:30am to 5pm, this can be an all-day family adventure, with pit stops to the café a must.
Staglands Wildlife Reserve
Let your kids connect with nature and wildlife in Upper Hutt at Staglands Wildlife Reserve. Your children can interact with the farm animals here and have some fun with their furry friends. Be sure to check out the awesome café, home to great coffee and an excellent kids’ menu.
Wellington cable cars
The Wellington cable cars are a fun way to travel to the highest points in the city. They run every 10 minutes and are open both Saturday and Sunday. Once at the top, enjoy the city views, where you have the option of taking a scenic walk through the Botanic Gardens back down to the bottom, or simply catch the next cable car.
Wellington’s most beautiful beach offers a stunning view of the city to take in while the family eats ice-creams or a homemade picnic. An extensive grass area is ideal to kick a ball around on the weekend and get some fresh air. A swim in the water is also a must during the warmer months. Check out what else Oriental Bay has to offer.
Trampoline parks are a great way for your kids to bounce off all their energy. Check out Jumperana in either Lower Hutt or Newtown part of the Local sports Centres.
Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre
The Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre has recently added a new water feature called SPRAY. Aimed at encouraging water confidence for children up to the age of 11, this activity is super enjoyable and family-friendly.
Family events in Wellington : Check out our list of What’s On for families in Wellington here!
By Katie Pettigrew
Image: Crocodile Bikes