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School trips to the capital

Make the coolest little capital your classroom for the day. Easy to navigate and with heaps to explore, Wellington is packed with original and fun learning opportunities - nature, art, politics, history, science, culture - take your pick!

So much to do!

Wellington offers oodles of activities for kids to enjoy and learn from when here on a school trip. There is a broad range of activities on offer from digging up dinosaur bones and fossils, to looking into space and dreaming of being an astronaut. Many of our key educational centres have curriculum linked programmes to ensure your class gets the most out of their trip.

Our favourite things to do are below, or you can search all school activities options.

  • Wellington Zoo is a magical place of learning and fun, leaving visitors with a sense of wonder and respect for nature, and a belief in the need for a sustainable co-existence between wildlife and people.
  • Let the experienced astronomy educators at Space Place inspire your students about the wonders of our unique southern skies.
  • Zealandia: The Karori Sanctuary Experience is just minutes from downtown Wellington. Set around a picturesque reservoir, Zealandia is a protected island and home to some of New Zealand’s most precious native wildlife.
  • Discover the treasures and stories of New Zealand at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa 
  • Tour Parliament and see the home of democracy in action.
  • Visit Government House and its purpose-built visitor centre.
  • Tour the Supreme Court and the historic Old High Court. Learn how the justice system works today, the role of the Supreme Court and what the justice system was like in the late 1800s when the Old High Court building was first used.
  • Visit the nine documents that form the Treaty of Waitangi at the National Archives
  • Under the Sails, on the waterfront, Capital E’s ONTV studio is the place for young people to discover their creativity and ignite their imagination.
  • And right next door to Capital E, Wellington Museum tells some of the fascinating stories of the capital.
  • If you stay at the YHA then Courtenay Place's Reading Cinemas and Oriental Parade's Freyberg Pool are 5 minutes walk away. The pool is right next to Oriental Parade beach and Waitangi Park has a playground, skateboard park and space big enough for touch, soccer or frisbee.
  • The Weta Cave is the shop front of the world famous Oscar-winning Weta Workshop. Visitors can view a selection of props, pick up collectibles and watch an exclusive behind-the-scenes film in their theatrette, as well as experience the excellent Weta Cave Workshop Tour.
  • Wellington City has a cluster of over 10 national institutions all within 3 kilometres of each other, and they welcome pre-booked school visits. These are places that help to shape, define and support our culture and society - and they belong to all of us!

We even have a Wellington experience planner so you can plan your school group visit to the capital easily with one of our suggested itineraries or make your own up, save it and share it!

To help teachers with their planning, we have free resources which encourage students to look at Wellington from a different angle. Whether you are planning a short walk through the city or a series of visits to the capital’s unique national institutions, these guides will help to provide some shape, imagination and creativity to your visit.

The ChangeAgent resource will focus teacher planning by connecting and deepening student learning before and after visits to two or more of Wellington’s unique places. It takes a concept-led and critical thinking approach to explore how national institutions work together to shape, support, and define New Zealand society. And, when your class is in the city, the Trail Sheets will encourage students to seek out symbols and structures which tell of Wellington’s social, cultural and political histories.

The trail sheets will add interest and intrigue to your walk through the capital. Each trail takes one to two hours and covers around 2 kilometres of walking. The routes can be easily incorporated into scheduled visits to Wellington’s many national institutions. Select the theme which best matches your trip learning objectives.

Trail Sheet 1 - The Life and death of Hāmi Grace
Trail Sheet 2 - Discover the changing faces of Wellington
Trail Sheet 3 - Can you find the symbols of New Zealand?


Somewhere to sleep

Wellington has loads of accommodation options. From inner city backpacker type accommodation, or a place in the great outdoors with cabins, heaps of open space, and a confidence course to boot - Wellington has something to suit your requirements.

Search all accommodation options


Wellington is the capital

We give schools unique access to New Zealand’s national institutions: Parliament, Te Papa, the National Library, National Archives, Reserve Bank Museum, Government House, National War Memorial, Holocaust Centre of New Zealand, National Portrait Gallery, Supreme Court. A great platform for learning about what it means to be a Kiwi.


Getting around

Downtown Wellington is very compact - just 2km in diameter, so if you'll only be exploring the downtown area the easiest way is to walk. To visit Space Place at Carter Observatory or the Botanic Garden, it's just a quick (and fun!) ride up the Cable Car. But if you're going further afield - like to the Zoo, or Zealandia, chartering a coach is probably your best bet. The main coach companies for this are GO Wellington, Intercity, and Newmans.

If you’re staying in or exploring the wider Wellington region, then the Tranz Metro trains are a great option, we’re sure the kids would love a train ride! And if you're heading over to Matiu/Somes Island or Eastbourne then you'll need the Dominion Post Ferry.

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