The capital city is an awesome destination for families because, summer or winter, you’ll find tons of options for things to do in Wellington with kids.
Whatever the age of your little travellers, you’ll find a family-friendly Wellington activity to keep them (and you) entertained.
1. Ride a Crocbike
If you go anywhere near Wellington’s waterfront then you can’t help spotting, or being bowled over by, a Crocbike. These too-cute tuk-tuk-type conveyances are a great way to get around the bays at speed with as many of your mates as you can cram on board.
Rent them from CrocBike on Waitangi Park.
2. Pedalboat in the lagoon
The Whairepo Lagoon is right in the middle of Wellington’s waterfront. On a fine day, one of the best ways to explore it is in a pedal boat. These two-person crafts have you pedalling with your feet for direction. This is a great option for kids/families and for cooling off on a hot day.
3. Explore Te Papa
For a national museum, Te Papa is pretty cool, it’s free entry and there are tons of exhibits from Gallipoli to Maori history.
There are also a reasonable number of family-friendly exhibits like the permanent Nature exhibit and kid-specific activities like StoryPlace ($3 charge) and the Discovery Centre. Te Quake House is a childhood favourite of ours.
Te Papa is the biggest building on the waterfront, you can’t miss it.
4. Go to the Wellington Zoo
One of the best things to do in Wellington with kids is to go to the zoo, many of the parents I used to work with in Wellington had annual passes, their kids love it so much.
The zoo is located in the suburb of Newtown and spread over the hillside up to the town belt so expect to do a reasonable amount of walking if you’re heading along.
Zoo tickets are $27 for adults or $12 for kids.
The zoo has the standard animals you’d expect to see like tigers, lions and giraffes as well as New Zealand farm animals and some native animals/reptiles like the tuatara lizard. If you want to see kiwis, your best bet is Zealandia.
5. Tour Weta Workshop
The Weta Workshop team are behind Hollywood blockbusters like Lord of the Rings (of course), Avatar and many others.
Take a tour of their workshop in Miramar and you’ll get to see lots of the real props and costumes and learn how the magic is made. The guided tours are $49 per person so not the cheapest, but movie fans will love it.
There are also creative workshops which are a fin option for older kids. You can try out things like special effects makeup and prop making.
6. Get a sweet treat at the Wellington Chocolate Factory
Lots of towns have a local chocolate factory but I can guarantee you this one is genuinely good, trust me I’ve quality tested a lot of their chocolate!
Wellington Chocolate Factory, in Hannah’s Laneway, focuses on ethical production practices and offers lots of vegan-friendly options. Go for a tasting, a hot chocolate or a full factory tour.
7. Have a pool day at Trust House Recreation Centre
There’s nothing uniquely Wairarpa-y about this activity, but kids will love it. The Centre in Masterton has hydro-slides, a whirl pool/lazy river and indoor and outdoor pools. There is a also a spa and sauna for the adults.
The Centre is open year round and makes for a pretty cheap day out at $5.10 for adult entry and $3.60 for kids.
8. Ride the Kapiti Miniature Railway
The Kapiti Railway is perfect for train -obsessed kids. The triple loop track with tunnels, spirals and viaducts keeps it interesting for parents too. Or, you can pay extra to drive the train.
The train track is in the middle of Raumati Marine Gardens, in Raumati Beach, which also have a kids splash pad, flying fox and a playground.
The railway runs on Sunday afternoon and costs only $1.50 per ride (cash only).
9. Have a beach day
When the sun is shining there isn’t much better than a beach day and the Kapiti Coast has dozens of beaches to choose from. Some of the most popular family beaches on the Kapiti Coast are Waikanae Beach and Paekakariki Beach.
While this isn’t the place for budding surfers, the small waves at the Kapiti Coast beaches make it an ideal place for young kids to swim and play in the water. Make sure to grab some fish n chips for lunch/dinner.
10. See the stars at Space Place
Space Place is, like many places in Wellington, found at the top of the hill, in this case at the end of the Cable Car in Kelburn.
Part of the Wellington Museums network, it offers a planetarium and telescope viewings as well as some basic exhibits targeted at kids.
Telescope viewings are held an hour after sunset every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday provided the weather is clear, there are also planetarium shows on these nights (and all day Saturday). Admission is $14 for adults and $9 for kids.
11. Take the kids to Petone Foreshore Playground
If you’re after things to do in Petone with kids, you can’t miss this best playground in Petone. It’s on the Moera end of the foreshore and nautical themed with lots of bright blue equipment and anchor drawings.
The playground is also where you can find the miniature railway on the first Sunday afternoon of the month. Run by the Hutt Valley Model Engineering Society, the Miniature Railway is one of the best family-friendly activities in Petone and only costs $2 per child.
Related: Best Things to Do in Petone
Train runnings are sometimes called off due to weather so it’s best to check the HVMES Facebook page in advance.
12. Play paintball at Adrenalin Kapiti
Adrenalin Kapiti is the home of adventure sports on the Kapiti coast. On top of paintball (both regular and low-impact options) thy offer go karting, laser tag and something called Airsoft which seems to be a live video game. You can even paintball in the go karts which we think is awesome!
Located on the outskirts of Paraparaumu, it’ the perfect place for kids and overgrown kids. Games start from $25 for a short laser tag game and go up from there.
Related: 15 Best Things to Do on the Kapiti Coast