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Wellington offers a scintillating range of attractions and activities for an ideal family day out during any time of the year. To save your time and effort, we have complied some fun experiences for the family, ranging from adrenaline pumping action to breathtaking tours, with something for everyone in mind. This fantastic array of attractions and destination spots can be easily accessed by booking Wellington bus hire for a comfortable ride.
Wellesley Country Park
This spring, take your family to a countryside setting with free onsite activities on offer for staying guests, including table tennis, low ropes course, volleyball, playground, archery, orienteering, Burma bridge, flying fox, pool, kayaks and a large indoor sports centre. Variety of accommodation options are available to suit all pocket sizes, encompassing Riverside suites, country cottage and cabins with bunks. Meals are also provided at modest prices.
The parkland is spread across an area of 40 acres, outlining the dazzling river tucked neatly in the charming Akatarawa Valley, hardly a 45-min drive from Wellington. Set amongst the expansive views of the towering bush clad hills and the majestic river valley, along with native bushland, it is indeed the best kept secret of New Zealand.
Nga Manu Nature Reserve
Covering an area of roughly 13 hectares, Nga Manu Nature Reserve is home to a wide array of native wildlife animals such as woodpigeon, tui, kaka, kea, fantail, morepork, kiwi and tuatara. It contains over 700 different plant species, lookout tower, bush walks, wildlife ponds and the largest scrap of lowland coastal swamp forest on the Kapiti Coast. Family fun is catered for with BBQ areas and dedicated picnic spaces. Schedule your visit in a way that includes 2 PM duck feeding or eel feeding and 11 AM bird feed out tour.
ZEALANDIA: The Karori Sanctuary Experience
Positioned next to the Karori reserve on an old reservoir valley is a beautiful paradise for native wildlife, spread across an area of 225 hectares with wetlands and forest. It is fully protected by a predator-proof fencing to keep away all the pests. Zealandia with its unique flora and fauna was initially known as Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, which encompasses attractive bush walking paths, with specially guided tours day and night.
At this spot, you will be able to encounter endangered birds such as kaka, stitchbird, saddleback and little spotted kiwi, along with a wild population of tuataras. Additional facility includes Visitor & Education centre with hireage for backpacks and a café.
Wellington Cable Car
Operating 7 days a week and running every 10 minutes, Wellington Cable Car is an ideal budget option for ultimate family fun. Cable Car Lane in the commercial heart of the city is the starting point of the ride, followed by gliding past the corporate towers of The Terrace, and continuing towards Victoria University and Kelburn Park right up to the Upland road – where the Cable Car Museum, planetarium, Carter Observatory and the Lookout are located. Enjoy panoramic views across the harbour to the Mount Victoria for a priceless experience. Take a return trip from the CBD or meander through the historic Bolton street cemetery and the gardens to feel the city in its entirety.
Wellington is the political capital of New Zealand, and no trip to this city is complete without taking the guided one-hour tour of the parliament. Expose yourself and your kids to the city’s cultural heritage by exploring the three iconic buildings – the Parliament Library, the Parliament House and the Beehive. There will also be oral and visual introduction to the democratic government system and parliamentary procedures. Let everything sink slowly as you start your tour from the Beehive.
Kaitoke Regional Park
Just a 45-minute drive towards the north of Wellington, Kaitoke Regional Park is situated in the foothills of the Tararua Ranges. This magnificent natural setting features beech forest, century-old rata, the Hutt River gorge and steep, bush-clad hills. You can undertake one of these short walks to access some of the activities here, including:
- Weir Walk: Easy access to the Kaitoke Weir by following the sealed Hutt river, with a 15-minute return stroll. For more than half of Wellington’s water, this dam-like design is the collection point.
- Terrace Walk: Running through broadleaf forest, this is an easy half-an-hour return walk along a river terrace.
- Loop Track: If you are travelling with kids, this is the perfect route, passing through the Kaitoke rainforest. Build knowledge about the native plants and trees in the region.
- Swingbridge Track: Following the Hutt River downstream through rata and rimu forest, after crossing the swing bridge, this one-hour walk will give you an ultimate experience with expansive views of the Hutt River Gorge.
Pencarrow Coast Road: Commencing towards the south of Eastbourne and nearby Fitzroy Bay, this 20-km flat path gives you a chance to observe abundant floral life and sea birds thriving on the windy coastline. Spot some fresh water fish in the DOC-managed Lakes Kohangatera and Kohangapiripiri, along with eels, oyster catchers, white fronted terns, shags, red billed and black backed gulls.
Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park: With 24 km stretch of purpose-built single track and 8 km of 4WD track, this parkland offers memorable experiences for mountain bikers of all levels. The track route has been designed in a way to suit both experts and beginners. Native bushland over 3 metres tall covers the southern half of the park.
Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre
Located in the northern fringes of Wairarapa, the Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre is approximately a couple of hours’ drive from the Wellington City. Get up close and personal with some of the most endangered species in New Zealand, and get to know about them. The exceptional facilities include wheelchair access tracks through native bushland, audio visual and static displays, education programmes, café and a visitor centre. Children under 5 years of age are exempted from paying the entrance fee, however, special care must be taken by parents to keep them under close monitoring all the time.