Things to Do Wellington | In the Area | Rydges Wellington
18 - 21 Feb 2016

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

19 - 20 Feb 2016

Wellington Wine & Food + Craft Beer Festival

26 Feb - 20 Mar 2016

NZ Arts Festival

Things to Do

Rydges Wellington is centrally located downtown in the "coolest little capital in the world" with a spectacular harbour outlook and is handy to the city's major attractions.  It's an easy stroll to Parliament, Te Papa, Westpac Stadium, Lambton Quay, Queens Wharf, Courtenay Place, Wellington Train Station and the Cuba Quarter.

Wellington Botanic Gardens

Over 26 hectares of unsurpassed views, unique landscape, exotic forests, native bush, colourful floral displays and gorgeous specialist gardens.

Visit the Duck Pond, Begonia House, award-winning Lady Norwood Rose Garden, Treehouse Visitor Information Centre, Sundial of Human Involvement, Children's Play Area and the historic Bolton Street Memorial Park, where many of the city's pioneers are buried.

Gardens open daily sunrise to sunset. Free entry. Garden tours are available by prior booking or prior request.


Te Papa

Since its opening in 1998, Te Papa has built a worldwide reputation for its fresh and bold approach to presenting a nation’s treasures and stories. In that time, over ten million people have come to enjoy this unique museum experience.

Te Papa is a waharoa, a gateway, to an encounter with the essence of New Zealand’s land and people. Wonderful taonga (Māori cultural treasures), art, and objects are presented through fascinating stories, thought-provoking interpretations, and engaging interactives.

Over the five floors of our huge building you can explore the breadth of the New Zealand story - from the shaping of its land to the spirit of its diverse peoples, from its unique wildlife to its distinctive visual culture.

Free entry. Charges apply to some short-term exhibitions and activities. 
Open every day of the year, including all public holidays. 
Hours: 10am−6pm, and 10am−9pm on Thursdays.

Oriental Bay Beach

Oriental Bay is the closest place to Rydges Wellington and Wellington City in general to relax on the golden sand, soak up some rays and enjoy the water. 

On a warm summers day, Ortiental Bay Beach is packed with tourists and locals making the most of 'Wellington on a good day'. 

The beach is ideal for swimming, picnicking, walking or cycling on waterfront. The beach has plenty of parking available, beside Freyberg Pool and Fitness Centre, with toilets also being located here. 

Features: The Carter Fountain in the centre of the bay is named after Hugh Carter, who drowned in the harbour several days after its dedication. The Southern Walkway begins at the northern end of Oriental Parade and can also be accessed from Grass Street.

History: A Council project to enlarge and enhance both Freyberg and Oriental Bay beaches was completed in 2004 using sand from Golden Bay, Nelson. The beach's sand area is now four times larger than before, and the Freyberg Beach grass area is twice as large.

Kapiti Island

Kapiti Island is host to one of the largest accessible island bird sanctuaries in New Zealand, set in one of the nation’s most valuable nature reserves.

Only one hour from Rydges Wellington, the Kapiti Island Nature Reserve boasts a unique environment populated with birds and wildlife rarely seen on the mainland. On the island you can observe an abundance of native birds including Little Spotted Kiwi, Takahe, Kereru and Kaka.

kapiti Island Nature Tours offer a range of tours on the island, allowing you to get up close and personal with some of the island's habitants, inlcuding kiwi, birds and seals. 

For more information on tours and to book, click here

Museum of City & Sea

This is Wellington’s museum, celebrating Wellington’s social, cultural and maritime history.

Housed in the historic Bond Store, the original architecture complements the exhibitions of precious objects and stunning technology.

The Museum is located at the heart of Wellington's waterfront and is 2 minutes walk from Rydges Wellington and Lambton Quay. 

Cuba Street

Wellington’s famous inner city slice of bohemia, Cuba Street, is a place with culinary and creative soul. It’s where people meet, busk, shop, dine and the best place in town to soak up the capital of cool’s culture. The street has been a registered Historic Area under the Historic Places Act since 1995.

Cuban evolution

Cuba Street was named after an early 1840 settler ship of the same name, not an island country in the Caribbean. But a number of the street’s residents have since run with the latter theme. Fidel’s Café (234 Cuba Street) – where the “coffee is Cuban and the hospitality is pure New Zealand” – is one of many tasty spots locals love to chew the literal and philosophical fat. Just around the corner on Wigan Street, Havana (32a-34 Wigan Street) is a local favourite for tapas, cocktails and excellent live music.

Bohemian rhapsody

Cuba Street is a creative and culinary melting pot of buskers, art galleries, graffiti-filled alleyways, quirky cafes, nationally acclaimed restaurants and community exhibition spaces. One of the capital’s icons, Cuba Street is a meeting of minds, menus and market culture enjoyed by everyone from young to old, hipsters to suits, locals to visitors.

A second chance

The Cuba quarter is widely regarded as the best place for vintage shopping in New Zealand thanks to a trail of second hand boutiques such as Hunters & Collectors (134 Cuba Street), Ziggurat (144 Cuba Street), and Emporium Vintage Boutique (103B Cuba Street Mall). 

Raising the bar

Tucked down a quiet corridor at number 106, Matterhorn (106 Cuba Street) is Cuba Street’s most famous and most awarded bar. It also has a Cuisine Restaurant of the Year string to its culinary bow. Also check out San Francisco Bathhouse (171 Cuba Street) and Good Luck (126 Cuba Street).

Taste of Cuba

Wellington’s bohemian zone is also the best spot to follow your nose and stomach. It’s here you’ll find coveted award-winners Logan Brown (192 Cuba Street) and Matterhorn (106 Cuba Street), as well as a trail of cool cafes and ethnic eateries. Try Fidel’s (234 Cuba Street), Arthur’s (272 Cuba Street), Plum (103 Cuba Street), KK Malaysian (54 Ghuznee Street) or whatever you see that takes your fancy.

Embassy Theatre

Wellington's best cinematic experience can be found at the top of Courtney Place at the Embassy Theatre. Built in the 1920's and one of the only purpose built cinemas from the era left, the Embassy is a must visit attraction while in Wellington. The theatre is most notable for being the cinema to host the world premieres for the Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and the Lovely Bones films.   

The newly refurbished complex includes three movie screens; one large screen upstairs and two smaller deluxe cinemas downstairs. So, whether you're interested in mainstream movies or art house cinema, the Embassy Theatre can cater. Check their website or see the concierge at the hotel for current films and session times. The Embassy also boasts a two places have a drink or grab a snack, pre or post film. Blondies Cafe is upstairs beside the main cinema, and The Black Sparrow lounge is downstairs. The Black sparrow offers a range of delicious snack plates as well as a good selection of cocktails, beers and wines.