Wellington with kids: where to find family fun

Wondering where to go on your next family holiday? ‘Windy Welly’ will blow you away.

Sandy beach and clear blue water of Oriental Bay with hillside buildings background, Wellington, New Zealand.
  • Jetstar
  • May 2022

New Zealand’s capital Wellington is chock-full of attractions for all ages – fabulous wildlife sanctuaries, intriguing movie-making centres, amazing food (and wine), incredible landscapes and all the thrills of the outdoors. Whether your kids like to get creative at places like Capital E or speed through the air on the flying foxes at Adrenalin Forest, Wellington can be all things to all members of the family.

Ride the Wellington Cable Car

The bright red Wellington Cable Car offers a short, scenic ride from the city, up through the hillside terrace houses to a panoramic lookout. It travels through two tunnels strung with computer-programmed lights, adding extra fun for the kids. And there are activity sheets and a ‘passport’ they can download from the Kids Fun Zone. From the top, there’s easy access to the Botanic Garden, Cable Car Museum, Space Place (at Carter Observatory) and Zealandia (via free shuttle).

Red Wellington Cable Car travelling up towards the lookout, with Wellington in the background, New Zealand.
The Wellington Cable Car is always a hit for the whole family.

Discover movie magic at Wētā Workshop

If you have movie lovers in your family, hightail it to Wētā Workshop. It’s home to cinematic artisans who have created costumes, creatures and mind-blowing movie sets for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia and Avatar. Take a guided two-hour tour and learn all about how movie effects are made – everything from costumes to miniatures to make-up. Kids 14 and over can add a hands-on workshop in sculpting, special effects make-up or leatherwork.

A small child and parent with troll sculptures at Wētā Workshop, Wellington, New Zealand. Image credit: WellingtonNZ
Hang with the trolls at Wētā Workshop. Image credit: WellingtonNZ

Wander with wildlife at Zealandia

With conservation at the forefront, Zealandia is an urban ecosanctuary bang in the middle of Wellington. This enormous magical forest set around a reservoir is full of rare birds, unique reptiles and cute-as-a-button kiwis. There is a range of informative tours available, including a kids’ night walk, where they can meet the critters that only come out at night. There are also kid-friendly programs like craft activities, talks and even taxidermy.

Close up of a tuatara, a bone-coloured, rare native reptile, surrounded by logs and greenery at Zealandia, Wellington, New Zealand. Image credit: WellingtonNZ
Meet the rare native tuatara at Zealandia. Image credit: WellingtonNZ

Explore Wellington Museum

Wellington Museum is a lively, interactive museum that presents stories of Māori history in unique ways. The building itself is architecturally significant, and the exhibits within will capture the kids’ imaginations. An area called The Attic gives history a steampunk makeover and includes wild creations like a time machine that blends cinema with installation art. There’s also good chunk of maritime history, where kids can steer ships and pretend to live in a captain’s cabin.

People walking outside the blue Wellington Museum on a sunny day, Wellington, New Zealand. Image credit: WellingtonNZ
Wellington Museum isn’t your average museum. Image credit: WellingtonNZ

Stretch out at Wellington Botanic Garden

Sometimes, chilling out in a beautiful botanic garden is just what the holiday doctor ordered. The 150-year-old Wellington Botanic Garden spreads over 25 hectares and features international and native flora. The grown-ups can relax with a picnic, the kids can run off some energy and go exploring. Time it right and you can catch a musical performance, go on a foraging walk to learn about edible plants, or sign the kids up for an hour-long session learning about plants in the Discovery Garden.

Small child looking at flower-fringed wishing fountain at Begonia House, Wellington Botanic Garden, New Zealand.
There are all kinds of adventures to be had in the Botanic Garden.