Free things to do with kids in Wellington

With prices skyrocketing, families are fast learning that the best things in life are free. There is a lot you can do with the kids around town, without forking out for the pleasure.

Soak up some culture

Wellington is lucky to have some highly respected museums, which can be the ideal way to spend a grey winter afternoon. Te Papa is always worth a second, third and fourth visit, so don’t overlook even if the kids have been before. Remember to look out for new or visiting exhibitions.

  • Te Papa/Museum of New Zealand: Cable Street: 04 381 7000

If you’re after something with a solely Wellington focus, check out the Museum Of Wellington: City and Sea. The kids can discover what life in Wellington was like for children a 100 years ago, go inside a real sea caption’s cabin, or pat a replica of Paddy the dog, a formerly familiar fixture at the docks. Until 12th October, the Museum has ‘Treaty 2 U’, a travelling exhibition aimed at families, about the Treaty of Waitangi.

  • Museum of Wellington: City and Sea: Queen’s Wharf: 04 472 8904

Captial E is a unique space and venue for drama and arts performances and courses for children. While most of the performances are not free, there are things like the Capital E Art Case, which are free. Art Case is a changing display of artwork, by young people for young people.

  • Captial E-Civic Square: 04 913 3720

Go Bush

When the kids need to stretch their legs a little, consider heading for an ‘Explore Wellington’ walk, or going for a bush walk, perhaps at Otari-Wilton Bush. Throughout Wellington, there are several signposted walks, known as ‘Explore Wellington’ walks, of varying length and difficulty. Go to ‘Feeling Great Wellington’ for the full list of tracks, including downloadable maps and directions for getting to starting points.

Some of the tracks are over 10kms long and probably unsuitable for the family to tackle in one day. Try the Eastern Walkway, which is a 2.5km track (1 1/2hours roughly), from Pass of Branda to Tarakena Bay. Take the No. 11 Seatoun Bus to the Seatoun Terminal to begin the walk.

Otari-Wilton’s Bush is a bush reserve and the only public plant sanctuary dedicated to New Zealand plants. The bush is open to the public daily, and guided walks can be arranged for larger groups. To get to the bush sanctuary, take the No 14 Wilton bus from Lambton Quay.

  • Treehouse Visitor’s Centre: 04 499 1400

To market, to market

Go green with the kids and take them for a stroll at the weekly markets. On Saturday, try the Tawa Lions Saturday Market (10am-2pm), in the Dress-Smart car park. On Sunday, try either the Waitangi Park Market (7am-12.30pm) in Waitangi Park, or the Victoria Street Market (6am-1.30pm) on the corner of Vivian and Victoria Street).