10 Things To Do on the Wellington Waterfront New Zealand

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On a recent trip to New Zealand Greg and I found ourselves spending two nights in Wellington, the country’s capital. On our second afternoon we decided to explore the Wellington Waterfront and were pleasantly surprised by the beauty and variety of things to do and see. Many of those things were free, making it the perfect destination for all types of travelers on a budget. Here are 10 things to do on the Wellington Waterfront.

Wellington Waterfront

The Wellington Waterfront hosts a brilliant pop-up market where shoppers can browse through an eclectic array of handmade and local goods. Image credit: Greg Todd

1. Go Shopping

Browse through locally-made arts, crafts, clothing and mementos at the pop-up market … an eclectic collection of kiosks made from cargo carriers aligned along the waterfront.

2. Lock in Your Love

Wellington has its own version of the Pont des Arts and Pont de l’Archeveche (bridges) over the Seine in Paris. The foot bridge over the Frank Kitts Lagoon in Wellington provides steel fencing where couples can reconfirm their love by securing a personalized pad lock in the bridge’s side rails. (We were surprised there wasn’t a kiosk selling locks to passersby!)

Wellington Waterfront

Couples can bring along a padlock and leave a testament to their love on the foot bridge over the Frank Kitts Lagoon. Image credit: Greg Todd

3. Have Lunch or dinner

You can either bring along your own picnic or chose one of the many dining establishments along the Wellington Waterfront to grab a quick bite or full meal.

4. Experience the City to Sea Bridge

This sculpture-and-bridge-in-one is a sight to experience in and of itself. It’s artistically designed to include several little cubbies where visitors can relax to read a book, get some shuteye or simply sit down and enjoy the beauty of the harbor.

Wellington Waterfront

You can relax and read a book or enjoy your lunch on the City to Sea Bridge along the Wellington Waterfront. Image credit: Greg Todd

5. Take a Dive

Climb the zigzag staircase at the water’s edge and take a deep dive off the platform into the harbor. It’s both an exciting and refreshing way to enjoy a pleasant afternoon.

6. Visit the Museum of New Zealand: Te Papa Tongarewa

Admission to this delightful museum is free. (There may be nominal charges for some of their temporary exhibits or activities.) You can learn all about the history of New Zealand and its native people.

Wellington Waterfront

Friend or foe? You’ll be greeted by this imposing prehistoric creature at the entrance of the Museum of New Zealand on the Wellington Waterfront. Image credit: Greg Todd

7. Grab a Gelato or Espresso

Take a break at one of the many coffee shops to enjoy an expertly prepared coffee drink or frozen treat.

8. Capture Some Memories

The Wellington Waterfront provides a fantastic backdrop to practice your photography skills. Sculpture, architecture, graffiti, beautiful views and extraordinary people abound. It’s a photographer’s dream.

Wellington Waterfront

This sculpture touting the Chinese New Year was just one of many along the Wellington Waterfront. Image credit: Greg Todd

9. Rent a Pedal Boat on the wellington waterfront

Check out What NZ and take a self-powered cruise in the Lagoon. It’s beautiful and fun and you’ll get some of that wonderful exercise we talked about earlier.

10. Get Your Exercise

It was a beautiful day when we visited the Wellington Waterfront and as a result we saw several people power walking or jogging. I can’t think of a more delightful way to burn a few calories.

Whether you stay for just an hour or meander for an entire afternoon, we think you’ll love the Wellington Waterfront just as much as we did.

What’s your favorite thing to do when you visit a waterfront area?



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40 thoughts on “10 Things To Do on the Wellington Waterfront New Zealand

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      Well, you’d love it here, then! There are cafes everywhere you look and the people are quite interesting with great senses of humor.

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      Shantel – Greg and I said the same thing about how much our (adult) daughters would love the Wellington Waterfront as well.

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      It’s been on our list for a long time, Trisha. I very highly recommend it. We’re actually still here, on the South Island now. We just returned from a wildlife drive where we saw a couple yellow-eyed penguins. They are the rarest penguins in the world!

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      Definitely, Heather! One thing that I find so wonderful about New Zealand is that many of their national attractions (like this museum and their national parks) offer free admission year-round.

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      Many people have told me that New Zealand is near the top of their Bucket Lists. I advise you not to wait … just go! 😉

  1. Karina - My Letters of Transit

    Sounds like an amazing place for a day trip. So many great things to do. I would probably make a beeline straight for that museum, I love history and have been curious about the Native population of New Zealand since I saw Lord of the Rings and wondered what it must be like to grow up surrounded by so much beauty. The fact that it’s free makes it such an awesome bonus.

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      I totally agree, Karina! In the U.S. museum admission prices are often so steep that they are prohibitive to many, and that’s a real shame. New Zealand is unique in its beauty … if you take a three-hour drive, you’re likely to come across several different ecosystems and landscapes.

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      Izabela – Just do it! I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed. The natural beauty of New Zealand is unmatched in my travels.

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      Claire – The North Island was mostly in the 70s and 80s. That’s where Wellington is. The South Island – where we are now – is cooler. Depending on where you are the highs have been in the 60s and 70s. This is their summer. We did have two days of solid rain while we were in Fox Glacier (South Island). That coincided closely with Cyclone Winston.

  2. Wendy G.

    I have a few of these in my bucket list thanks to constantly searching for places to visit on Pinterest. Thanks for giving me new ones to add. Maybe, someday I can start scratching them off the list. 😀

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      Wendy – It’s great to dream, isn’t it? But I can assure you – it’s even greater too see those dreams come through. Just do it! 😉

  3. Barely Vegan

    This looks like a great place to visit. I love the Lock In Your Love fence! And what in the world is that prehistoric creature?!?! It scared the crap out of me when I was scrolling down! lol. What a great way to get people’s attention at the entrance.

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      Barely Vegan – Haha! Yes, that creature is quite imposing! And I loved the locks, too. I didn’t know abut it until we got there, so I was disappointed that we didn’t have a lock to leave. Greg and I joked about setting up a “Locks for Sale” kiosk.

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      Daniela – If you like nature and environmental activities, be sure to plan several days here. There is so much to see and do!

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      Haha!That’s the way I feel, too, Valerie! Just about as soon as I check off one destination, I add another one. I hope I live a very, very long time so I can see them all!

  4. Ana

    Nice Post! Wellington, New Zealand is in my bucket list. May be I ‘ll go by the end of next year. Have pinned your post for my reference later. Thanks for sharing this post with us!

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      That’s awesome, Ana! I hope you do get to go by the end of next year. It is a beautiful place with an endless number of things to do.

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      Gail – Wellington is on the southern border of North Island in New Zealand. It is a beautiful city with tons of things to do in and around it.

  5. Connie

    Love all the options! Art and freebies add to the interest! Where there any bistros to have wine and cheese! How was the gelato?!?

    1. Cherri Megasko Post author

      Connie – There were definitely a few places for wine and I’m guessing some had cheese trays as well. And the gelato was quite good!

  6. Carli

    That looks like a cool place for families. You can get a lot of fresh air and don’t have to spend a lot of money.

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