Wellington Feature

Wellington (NZ) with kids

Wellington is the capital of NZ. It’s at the bottom of the North Island, and it’s a chilly and windy city.

We’ve been there a few times, the last time being in May of 2016.

There’s a lot to do and see. It’s hard to get bored!

A family travel guide to Wellington, NZ

Smaug at the airport – pretty impressive!

The airport

The first place is almost always the airport. Unfortunately, the giant Gollum was gone this time BUT we got Smaug! Smaug opens, closes AND moves his eyes! How cool is that?  It’s just the head but it’s amazing. And you can touch it. There are also the Eagles + Gandalf and a few trolls.

One of the sections of Te Papa, where the giant squid's body is

One of the sections of Te Papa, where the giant squid’s body is

Te Papa

Te Papa Museum is the place we visit most. Every time we went to Wellington, we went to Te Papa. It’s a huge museum and it’s highly interactive, amazingly child-friendly and great! The best side of it, it’s sheltered from the rain and the wind. It’s a must visit. Probably the best museum ever! Last time, on May 2016, Gallipoli was on: it’s an exposition about the war, with Weta Workshop. The kids and I stayed out this time as it’s graphic and violent, but Angelo and Josieudes went and they loved it.

At Gallipoli, Te Papa. The sculptures were around 3 times the size of an adult.

At Gallipoli, Te Papa. The sculptures were around 2,4 times the size of an adult.

Cuba Street

We also love Cuba Street. It’s a pretty street in town for pedestrians. It’s got a small playground, cafés, sculptures and many shops. We rarely buy something but it’s just a nice stroll.

Cuba Street, with Tathi and Josieudes, our travel companions

Cuba Street, with Tathi and Josieudes, our travel companions

Waterfront

Waterfront is another great place to wander around. It’s got one amazing playground, and it’s got amazing views all over. If the weather’s good, it’s time for a stroll at Wellington Waterfront. Grab a fish and chips and have it outside! If the weather isn’t good, well you can always try but it gets really cold there, so put on your warmest clothes!

Walking towards Te Papa. The waterfront is always beautiful!

Walking towards Te Papa. The waterfront is always beautiful!

Wellington Zoo

Wellington Zoo is one of the places we didn’t really want to visit, but well it was an open day (which meant $2 entry) and the kids wanted to go, so we tried it. Like most zoos, it’s a little depressing, because the animals are all caged and not very happy. Despite it all, we had a good day. We went around the whole place in 3~4 hours. It’s a small zoo, relatively well kept. This time, there was a baby chimpanzee, so really cheeky and cute! And the lions are seen really close. If you’re there on an open day, it’s a good deal. If you need to pay full price, well, I’d recommend it only if you really really love zoos.

Zealandia

Continuing the animal zone, Zealandia is a bird sanctuary in Wellington. They have a free shuttle from some places in the city, so check them out if you’re on foot. It’s a huge park with LOADS of native birds and lizards. They have a small museum in it, and it’s pretty cool. We spent some time there because it was fun and it was sheltered. There’s a limit to how much wind one can withstand in one day. All in all, it’s pretty expensive but it’s a view of NZ before colonization, so worth the visit. Bear in mind that if you’re not interested in birds and lizards, this might not be the place for you. When we went there, I was super tired I can’t really remember much except for the beginning but I must say, the kids LOVED it. Joao loved it most, he still talks about it.

Cable Car

The Cable Car Museum and the Cable Car. We did the whole thing once and were a bit disappointed. We took the Cable Car from Lambton Quay and all the way up to the museum. It was a 3 minutes ride. Really. The museum is quite full of things to see, but it’s not a full day trip. The Cable Car ride is paid but the museum entry is free.

The actual size sculpture of Lurtz, the orc. It's amazing

The actual size sculpture of Lurtz, the orc. It’s amazing

Weta Cave

The nerdy part of me gets all excited when we get to Wellington because we’re definitely going to the Weta Cave. This time, we didn’t do the tour because we’d already done it but it was still fun: the museum is pretty great and we even got to see the film that we couldn’t the other times we’d been there. It’s a pretty cool documentary talking about how the Weta groups came to be. For those who don’t know what the Weta Cave is, it’s the place where the magic happens: they make props for the movies, they do special effects, special makeup, animation and all that cool stuff. They became big after The Lord of The Rings. Must do.

The awesome thing about Wellington is that everything is close by. Every time we’d been there, we never took more than 20 minutes to get to one place to the other, be that on foot, by bus or car. It’s very easy to find whatever you want because it’s all clustered in the same area.

The bad thing about Wellington is the weather. Oh man, if it wasn’t always that chilly and windy! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to live in Wellington because of the weather.

A troll encounter at Weta Cave, Wellington, NZ. 3 years ago, it had hair on the head and in the nose. Right now it's all shaved.

A troll encounters Jose at Weta Cave, Wellington, NZ. 3 years ago, it had hair on the head and in the nose. Right now it’s all shaved.

Even the weather doesn’t stop it from being one pretty cool city. I love it!

Have you ever been there? Leave your thoughts here!

Wellington is the capital of NZ - and one fascinating city! Click to see what to do there with kids

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