Wellington. The Deep. The place where coffee is king and hipsters are so common that normal people are the different ones.
Little ol’ Welly is a fantastic place to live, work and play – but sometimes it can be a bit of a challenge to find free things to do in Wellington.
Not everything is about spending dosh too. Wellington is a place where there is plenty of fun to be had, without spending a cent. We thought we’d put together a list of our favorite “free” activities that have been dropped as Crumbs on Breadcrumbs. We haven’t ranked them 1-10 because we aren’t TripAdvisor and everyone reading this has a different perception of “the best”. If you are searching for “your best” recommendations, download Breadcrumbs and find “Breadcrumbs Recommends” on your discover feed/map filter or get out exploring and talk to a local!
Makara is undoubtedly one of Wellington’s best kept secrets. Time your visit right (when there is not a howling northerly) and spend a day picnicking on the beach before heading up the hill for sunset. The unobstructed views through to the South Island at sunset are unparalleled and will leave any rookie photographer with a bag full of bangers to chuck up on the gram (and Breadcrumbs of course). If you are really keen you can even hit the full Makara Beach Loop walk (about 3 hrs) which takes in Beach, Farmland, Wind Turbines & WW2 Bunkers! Situated about 30 minutes from the CBD, Makara is a nice drive out and a real escape from the city.
Situated on the rugged southern coastline of Wellington, you will find a herd of seals. They look like rocks at first, but then you notice that one rock is actually a seal. Then you realize all the rocks you were looking at are actually seals. Mind blowing. Seals are generally there May – September. Worth a walk/bike/4wd along the road right up to devils gate (the steep rock that the road goes over) and further if you are keen! If you are brave head out in a howling southerly and watch the monster waves crash into the rocks! There is also one of Wellington’s few self-contained freedom camping spots at the start of the track!
The positives about living in a city surrounded by hills – views all over the place. One of our favorite crumbs to cast a gaze over the city from is Charles Plimmer Park/the Mount Victoria Lookout Walkway. Head there on a sunny summer arvo with some Fish & Chips from the Mt Vic Chippery and chill in one of the many clearings. Not a free activity with F&C included but hey, take a sandwich and bob’s your uncle. In mid-summer the hills catch the sun right up until late evening so it’s the perfect spot for a post-work parkup.
If you are willing to go to the lookout walkway you might as well take the trip to the top! Head up to the notorious Mt. Vic. lookout for sunset and witness 360 views of Wellington and the surrounding hills. Perfect for the golden hour photography froth-heads who are looking to capture that insta-perfect (or Crumb perfect) photo of Welly. Take a rug up and park up on the grassy hill to avoid the selfie-stick crowd at the actual lookout. Also a good spot to start checking out the numerous mountain biking trails of Mt. Vic! Ride up the road then down the dirt tracks.
Te Papa Tongarewa (container of treasures) Museum is without doubt one of the better museums you will ever go to. As a tourist or a local there is always something new on at Te Papa that is worth having a look at. If you haven’t seen the “Gallipoli” exhibition then you are missing out. The giant and scarily life-like scale models of war depict some incredible scene and the Interactive displays will be sure to lure you in and hold your attention. Free to enter, Te Papa is one TripAdvisor top 10 that we have no problem with recommending because it is off the chain. Maybe even off 2chainz.
Head up to the Eastern Hills of Wellington and seek out the Strathmore Bunkers. Situated on the edge of the hill overlooking the airport, this is the perfect spot to chill and watch the planes roll in. The steep dropoff over the edge of the hill provides a pretty surreal experience in the fog while a clear day sees views extend to the South Island – win-win! If you are up for a bit of scrambling you can explore the inside of the bunkers pretty easily but beware the broken glass and puddles of piss.
Eastbourne is home to a few noteworthy activities that provide a nice wee escape from the city. Our personal favorite is the Butterfly Creek Loop Walk – we think the best short walk there is in Wellington (although you might have a different favorite – Drop a Crumb to show it off)! Getting to Eastbourne involves a 30 minute drive or you can take the EastbyWest ferry ($24 return). The walk itself is a 3 hour loop which takes in a bit of a climb to some epic views over the harbour, before dropping into the lush valley of native forest where the Butterfly Creek picnic area is found. If you are a bit hungry after check out The Still Room or Seashore Cabaret on your way home!
The above are just a small element of the free or low-cost activities that you can find in Wellington. For a more extensive search Download Breadcrumbs and scan the map or Discover Feed in Wellington! If you think we should add something to this list fire us a message via the form below! Be sure to Drop A Crumb at all of your favorite Welly haunts to share with the Breadcrumbs community!