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Wellington, New Zealand — must-see attractions and places for travelers

View of Wellington when approaching by ferry from the South Island
View of Wellington when approaching by ferry from the South Island

Wellington, New Zealand

New Zealand’s capital city

Wellington, Capital city of New Zealand
Wellington, Capital city of New Zealand

New Zealand’s capital city received world attention as host to the production of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The rugged hillsides of Wellington surround a large harbor and have resulted in a unique range of architectural styles.
The high-rise city center is compact and based at the foot of the hills, and houses appear to cling precariously to all manner of challenging terrain.

Wellington has ready access to rugged coastlines, farming valleys, vineyards, rivers, beaches, old established stables and horse training areas.

The Wairarapa Valley, home to a flourishing wine industry, is also within convenient reach.

New Zealand Map
New Zealand Map

Located at the bottom of the North Island, Wellington is a convenient mid-point in New Zealand, close to the South Island.

Capital Wellington, also known as the Café capital of New Zealand

New Zealand’s capital city is Wellington, also known as the café capital.
With more than 300 cafes and restaurants in the inner city area, which spans only 2km (1.24 miles) in diameter, Wellington has the highest concentration of eating establishments in New Zealand. Award-winning restaurants include Icon restaurant (chef Peter Thornley) in Te Papa – New Zealand’s national museum. A sample menu is available at the Te Papa website.

… but Wellington is also the ‘creative’ capital

As the home of the Royal Ballet of New Zealand, State Opera, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and three professional theatres, Wellington is rife with creative talent. It is no wonder the Capital City has become a favourite movie destination, with so much creativity available. Wellington is also home to numerous galleries and museums (including the city’s crowning jewel, Te Papa, the City Gallery, and the Museum of City and Sea) filled to the brim with the creative works of New Zealanders past and present.

Wellington is also home to many of New Zealand’s top designers and labels, including Voon, Robyn Mathieson, Starfish, Andrea Moore and Giao.

 

 

Wellington Top Attractions

  • Te Papa Museum (see details further below)
  • Cable Car Museum and Botanical Garden (see details further below)
    The Cable Cars run from Lambton Quay in the commercial heart of the city and emerge in the Wellington Botanic Garden where the Lookout, Carter Observatory, Planetarium and Cable Car Museum are located.
  • Museum Wellington City & Sea (see details further below)
  • Archives New Zealand (see details further below)
  • Zealandia
  • Mount Victoria Lookout
    Stunning views of Wellington city and harbor. Best spot for enjoying a sunrise or sunset. The lookout is 196 m (ca. 650 feet) high.
    Located close to the downtown business district, you can drive all the up or take a walkway through the bush-covered Town Belt.
    Address: Mount Victoria, 49 Lookout Rd, Hataitai, Wellington
  • Wellington Waterfront
  • Thorndon, the historic suburb: Wander down to historic suburb Thorndon. Stop in at Katherine Mansfield Birthplace, Old St Paul’s and visit the original Treaty of Waitangi at the National Archives and see the Parliament buildings.
  • Parliamentary District: around Bowen Street
  • Katherine Mansfield Birthplace, 25 Tinakori Rd, Wellington City, Wellington. New Zealand’s most famous short-story writer.
  • Cuba Quarter: hip street cafes and bars, interesting food, urban & alternative fashion labels. The place for vintage shopping. CUBA STREET is may be the coolest street in Wellington — named after a 1840 settler ship.
  • Willis Quarter: shopping, designer labels
  • Lambton Quarter: Old bank Arcade, shopping, top retail chains
  • Courtenay Quarter: the entertainment district
  • City Gallery on Civic Square. 101 Wakefield Street
  • Picnic on matiu/Somes Island: go by ferry, either the Wellesley Ferry or Dominion Post Ferry

 

 

Te Papa Museum of New Zealand in Wellington, New Zealand

Te Papa Tongarewa is New Zealand’s National Museum. It opened in 1998 on the Wellington waterfront.
Te Papa is recognized as a world leader in the new wave of innovative and interactive museum experiences, and has achieved an international reputation for excellence. Since opening, Te Papa has attracted well over 1 million visitors every year.

It is a celebration of New Zealand’s identity – the people, the culture and the environment and features hi-tech and traditional displays. As well as significant collections of New Zealand art, the taonga (treasures) looked after by Te Papa comprise the largest Maori collection held by any museum in New Zealand, and number almost 16,000. These cover the broad spectrum of Maori art and culture, from the most highly revered and significant cultural heirlooms, through to the most humble of day-to-day items, from very early pre-European times to today.

Address
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
55 Cable Street, Wellington, New Zealand

Website: www.tepapa.govt.nz

 

 

Cable Car Museum and Botanical Garden in Wellington

Map: Cable Car and Botanical Gardens
Map: Cable Car and Botanical Gardens

One of Wellington’s most popular tourist attractions, the cars run from Lambton Quay in the commercial heart of the city and emerge in the Wellington Botanic Garden where the Lookout, Carter Observatory, Planetarium and Cable Car Museum are located.

The view from the lookout includes the city’s central business district and out across the harbour to the Hutt Valley, Eastbourne and Mt. Victoria.

Visitors can take a return trip from the city, or walk back down through the gardens and Thorndon (New Zealand’s oldest suburb) or historic Bolton Street cemetery, emerging across the road from Parliament.
From the top of the cable car take a stroll through the Wellington Botanic Garden which offers over 26 hectares of specialist gardens, native bush and lawn areas. Located in the garden are: an Education and Environment Centre in the aptly named Treehouse; the award winning Lady Norwood Rose Garden, with over 106 formal beds; the Begonia House; the Bolton Street Memorial Park, where many of the city’s pioneers are buried; the Carter Observatory, New Zealand’s national astronomy centre; the Sundial of Human Involvement and a great adventure playground.
Address
1a Upland Rd, Kelburn, Wellington

Website: www.museumswellington.org.nz/cable-car-museum/

Museum of Wellington City & Sea

Museum of Wellington City & Sea
Museum of Wellington City & Sea

Within the walls of this historic 1892 waterfront warehouse is a world class museum that celebrates Wellington’s intriguing history.
Highlights include a film depicting a century of life in Wellington told through the eyes of Wellingtonians, a show depicting Māori creation legends, and the Wahine Disaster Gallery.
Address
Queens Wharf, 3 Jervois Quay, Wellington
General Admission
free

Website: www.museumswellington.org.nz

 

Archives New Zealand – Permanent Exhibitions, Archives New Zealand’s Wellington Office

New Zealand’s most significant historical records

The Treaty of Waitangi is not a single large sheet of paper but a group of nine documents: seven on paper and two on parchment. Together they represent an agreement drawn up between representatives of the Crown on the one hand and representatives of Māori iwi and hapū on the other. The Treaty is named after the place in the Bay of Islands where it was first signed on 6 February 1840, but it was also signed in a number of other locations around the country in the following months. © Archives of New Zealand(photo: courtesy of Archives of New Zealand)
The Treaty of Waitangi is not a single large sheet of paper but a group of nine documents: seven on paper and two on parchment. Together they represent an agreement drawn up between representatives of the Crown on the one hand and representatives of Māori iwi and hapū on the other. The Treaty is named after the place in the Bay of Islands where it was first signed on 6 February 1840, but it was also signed in a number of other locations around the country in the following months. © Archives of New Zealand(photo: courtesy of Archives of New Zealand)

The Treaty of Waitangi is not a single large sheet of paper but a group of nine documents: seven on paper and two on parchment. Together they represent an agreement drawn up between representatives of the Crown on the one hand and representatives of Māori iwi and hapū on the other. The Treaty is named after the place in the Bay of Islands where it was first signed on 6 February 1840, but it was also signed in a number of other locations around the country in the following months. © Archives of New Zealand

Archives New Zealand’s Wellington Office has three exhibition spaces which are open to the public Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and Saturday 9am – 1pm.
They are located on the ground floor of Archives New Zealand’s Head Office at 10 Mulgrave Street. All exhibitions are free.
Permanent Exhibitions The Constitution Room has a permanent display of some of New Zealand’s most significant historical records, including the Treaty of Waitangi, the 1835 Declaration of Independence of the Northern Chiefs and the 1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition.
Address
10 Mulgrave Street, Wellington

Website: http://archives.govt.nz/

Wellington Data & Facts

Population

ca. 400.000

Land Area:
City: 28,990 hectares or 290 sq km.

Airport
Wellington International Airport is only ten minutes drive from the city centre. There are regular buses, taxis and shuttles. It is a busy airport with regular trans-Tasman flights.

It is approximately 10 km/15 minutes from the airport to the city centre.

Taxi costs vary quite a bit: flat rate taxi rates are approx. 20-25 NZ dollars but if you do not take a flat rate offer you might pay by the meter and that can be ca. 30-35 NZ dollars.

A shuttle can be taken into the city for $15-20. The Stagecoach Flyer bus service regularly leaves the airport and goes as far as Upper Hutt.
For Public transport options and fares please see next section.

Public Transport / Getting around
Wellington bus and train network website is: www.metlink.org.nz

Location
Located at the bottom of the North Island, Wellington is a convenient mid-point in New Zealand, close to the South Island.

Visitor Center
Wellington i-SITE Visitor Centre
corner of Victoria and Wakefield Streets (Civic Square), Wellington

Climate & Temperatures in Wellington

Average Temperatures:
Summer max. temp. (January): 20.3C (69F)
Summer min. temp.: 13.4C (56F)
Winter max. temp.: (July): 11.3C (52F)
Winter min. temp.: 6.2C (43F)

Annual rainfall mean: 1249mm

Sunshine hours:
More than 2035 hours per year.

Website for Weather: www.metservice.com

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