Top 12 Best Things to Do in Wellington with Kids [2024 Guide]

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Planning a family trip to New Zealand’s capital city and wondering how to fill your itinerary? This article has you covered with 12 fun and family-friendly activities in and around Wellington.

Wellington is an awesome destination for families because, whether visiting in summer or winter, you’ll find tons of options for things to do in Wellington with kids ranging from animal encounters to paintball. 

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a family walking along oriental bay with carter fountain in background in wellington.

Wellington With Kids: A Guide For Families

When it comes to exploring New Zealand’s North and South islands, you are spoilt for choice.

With some of the most incredible natural scenery in the world and adventure attractions, it’s only natural that you should also add the country’s capital to your NZ bucket list!

Visit Wellington on a New Zealand road trip with kids or fly in for a fun-filled few days exploring Wellington city. Either way, this guide is going to help you plan plenty of great family fun.

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Getting around Wellington As A Family

wellington cablecar with view of city in background.

This list includes some activities further out of town, such as along the Kapiti Coast or in the Wairarapa.

However, even if you don’t have a car, you can easily access these using the bus and train network. 

The easiest way to do this is to buy an Explorer Day Pass from the ticket window at Wellington Station and you’ll be covered for unlimited single-day travel, plus one child travels for free on each adult ticket.

Don’t miss a trip on the cable car, kids will love the light displays in the tunnel as you travel up or downhill from Kelburn to the city.

Family-Friendly Things to Do in Wellington 

When it comes to planning your visit to the Wellington region, there are plenty of fun things to do in Wellington for families that you will all enjoy.

From fun Wellington attractions in the city centre to nature experiences and unique Wellington activities for families too.

Check out these fun things to do with kids in Wellington:

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 family or friends as you can cram on board. 

You can rent them by the hour from CrocBike in Waitangi Park.

Local Tip: While you’re there, try one of their famous freakshakes. You might need to share it though, they’re enormous and guaranteed to give your kids a sugar high.

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 and families and for cooling off on a hot day.

3.  Explore Te Papa

view of museum of new zealand te papa on a cloudy day.

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. The Quake House is a childhood favourite of ours.

Te Papa is the biggest building on the waterfront, you can’t miss it.

Details: Te Papa Museum, 55 Cable Street, Te Aro.

4.  Go to the Wellington Zoo

red panda in bushes at 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. 

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.

Zoo tickets are $27 for adults or $12 for kids (current as of 2023).

Details: Wellington Zoo, 200 Daniell Street, Newtown

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 they are not the cheapest, but movie fans will love it!

There are also creative workshops which are a fun option for older kids. You can try out things like special effects makeup and prop making.

Details: Weta Workshop, Cnr Camperdown Road & Weka Street, Miramar, Wellington

6.  Get a sweet treat at the Wellington Chocolate Factory

women standing outside wellington chocolate in hannahs laneways.

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.

Details: Wellington Chocolate Factory, 5 Eva Street, Te Aro, Wellington

7. Have a pool day at Trust House Recreation Centre

There’s nothing uniquely Wairarapa-y about this activity, but kids will love it. The Centre in Masterton has hydro-slides, a whirlpool/lazy river and indoor and outdoor pools. 

There is 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. 

Details: 2 Dixon Street, North, Masterton

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 has a kids’ splash pad, flying fox and a playground.

The railway runs on Sunday afternoons and costs only $1.50 per ride (cash only).

Details: Kapiti Miniature Railway, 338A Rosetta Road, Raumati Beach, Paraparaumu

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 younger kids to safely swim and play in the water. 

Make sure to grab some fish and chips for lunch or dinner. It’s a beach tradition!

10. See the stars at Space Place

children at space place museum at carter observatory.

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.

Details: Space Place at Carter Observatory, 40 Salamanca Road, Kelburn

11. Take the kids to Petone Foreshore Playground

If you’re after things to do in Petone with kids, you can’t miss the best playground in Petone. It’s on the Moera end of the Petone 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. 

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), they 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 is awesome and definitely unique! 

Located on the outskirts of Paraparaumu, it’s the perfect place for kids and overgrown kids. Games start from $25 for a short laser tag game and go up from there.

Details: Adrenalin Kapiti, Old State Highway 1, Paraparaumu

Final Thoughts: Things To Do In Wellington With Kids

Whatever the age or interest of your little travellers, you’ll find a family-friendly Wellington activity to keep them (and you) entertained when visiting Wellington with kids. 

Author Bio

Kate is a Kiwi travel writer and previous Wellington resident now based out of the UK. She shares tips and guides for budget-friendly travel at KateAbroad.com

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