Wellington on a shoestring

Activities you can do around Wellington between $0 and $10

Studying English abroad often means being on a tight budget. But enjoying your free time doesn't have to be expensive. Wellington is full of culture, art and amazing cafes. Natalie and Alana from NZLC Auckland discovered some fun things to do in Wellington for under $10. If you are studying at NZLC Wellington, try these places out!

Grab your girls for a tea party!

Martha’s Pantry is the perfect place to have a catch up with your girlfriends and practise your English over a nice warm cup of tea and a scone. There’s a selection of straw hats to choose from if you want to sit outside on a sunny day or you can stay cosy indoors. The staff are super friendly! Highly recommended: Ask for some brie cheese to have with your scone!


Tea - $4.50 approx

Scones and treats - $4.50 approx. 


276 Cuba St

Martha's Pantry

A Midnight Snack

If you need a coffee kick first thing when you wake up or late in the evening, Midnight Espresso is the place to go! This café in the heart of Cuba St is open from early in the morning until 3am. It’s also great for those who are after wheat-free, gluten-free or vegan options…if you have a sweet tooth, there are lots of cake options too!


Coffee and drinks - $2.50 - $5 Treats $3.50 - $5


178 Cuba St

Midnight Espresso

Te Papa – “Our Place”

Te Papa is New Zealand’s national museum, renowned for its innovation and fun learning experience. Perfect for a rainy day, you can easily spend hours and hours discovering the museum’s collections across 5 areas: History, Natural Environment, Pacific, Maori and Art.

Te Papa Museum

Te Papa


FREE (Exhibitions are $10)

Art Gallery

Another free activity great for a rainy day if you love art and photography! Wellington is New Zealand’s art and culture capital. The City Gallery is located on Civic Square and offers world-class exhibitions.


FREE (some exhibitions are extra)


101 Wakefield, Civic Square

Art Gallery

Great Food and Live Entertainment

The Friday night market buzzes with awesomness! Mexican burritos and agua fresca, French crepes, Hungarian bread, Korean treats, Spanish paella…with so many fantastic food stalls to choose from, your stomach will definitely walk away happy.


Bring some cash for food

We spoke to locals Andrew and William who were enjoying the live music and vibe of the markets. What did they say? “We love this place!”

William and Andrew

Cuba St

Cuba St is the main pedestrian street in the heart of Wellington. It’s where everyone gathers and just the spot for some people watching. Friday and Saturday nights often bring live music to the streets.


Absolutely nothing!


Cuba St

Cuba Street

Ride a piece of history

The Cable Car in Wellington has been operating since the early 1900s. You can catch it from the bottom of Lambton Quay and it will take you up to Kilburn. From there, you can check out the Cable Car museum, the Planetarium, The Kelburn Village. You can also walk through the Botanic Gardens which will take you back to the city in 40 minutes. Attractions map.


One way $4, Return $7


End of Grey St off Lambton Quay

Cable Car

Garden Bar

After a long day of sightseeing, relax over a drink outside in the Southern Cross Garden Bar. The fireplace, hot water bottles and blankets will keep you warm! Indoors, you can play pool or enjoy the live music. Open for breakfast lunch and dinner, this dynamic space is ready to suit any occasion.


Coffee, milkshakes, juices and alcoholic beverages $3.50 - $10 approx.


39 Abel Smith St

Souther Cross Garden Bar

Parliament Grounds

Walk around the parliament buildings and government gardens. Many public gatherings take place here. You can also take a free 1 hour guided tour of Parliament and learn about the history and architecture of the buildings and all about New Zealand’s system of government. They occur daily on the hour starting at the Visitor Centre in the foyer of the Beehive.


1 hour guided tour of Parliament - Free


Ballantrae Pl, Thorndon


Underground weekend markets

After enjoying a stroll along the waterfront, stop by the underground markets. This is a great place to buy arts and craft, souvenirs and chat with locals. It’s on every Saturday from 10am until 4pm. The market has a different theme each month.


Free entry. Bring some money if you want to buy souvenirs.


Jervois Quay Wellington Waterfront

Underground Markets

What's a 'shoestring budget'?

A "shoestring budget" is when you do something with very little money. After paying for your airfare, visa, English course...there's not much money left! How can you make the rest of your money go further? Here are some tips!

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