In late 2010, Lonely Planet awarded Wellington the number four spot in the top cities of the world. The city is spread across hilly terrain and is well known for its erratic weather and gale force winds. In spite of this, the CBD exudes charm and bustles with life. There are a number of top attractions in Wellington that are well worth a visit.
Te Papa Museum
Te Papa museum is situated on the waterfront in Wellington central. Housed in a modern building, it is a recognized world leader in interactive and visitor-focused museum experiences. Permanent exhibitions include New Zealand’s geology and natural environment and the stories of New Zealand’s indigenous people, the Māori. A popular interactive exhibit is a room where the motion of an earthquake is simulated. Entry is free although there may be a charge for certain exhibitions.
The Cable Car
The Cable Car is an iconic Wellington attraction with its base station on Lambton quay – one of the main shopping areas in the city. The cars run under the corporate towers of The Terrace and emerge in Kelburn, continuing past Victoria University to the Lookout, Carter Observatory and Planetarium and the Cable Car Museum. The Cable Car runs every 10 minutes from 7am – 10pm on week days and 9am – 10pm on weekends.
The Botanic Gardens
Wellington Botanic Gardens feature 25 hectares of unique landscape, protected native forest, conifers, specialized plant collections, colorful floral displays, and views over Wellington city. In 1844, the New Zealand Company set aside land for a Botanic Garden reserve. At that time the land was covered in dense podocarp forest including rimu, totara and matai. The Garden was established in 1868 and trees were grown from seedlings. Some of these trees are still there and number among the oldest exotic trees in New Zealand. There are many entrances to the gardens and they are only a minute or two from town.
The Carter Observatory offers a virtual journey through space in their new planetarium – a state-of-the-art full-dome digital theatre. The experience allows people to take steps through space as they walk through the world-class interactive multimedia space experience. Carter also offers some of New Zealand’s most prestigious telescopes and astronomical artifacts. The observatory is open 7 days a week from 10am until 5pm, with late night stargazing every Saturday until 9pm.
Wellington City Sights Bus
The Wellington City Sights bus offers an all day travel ticket. It circulates around 12 of the best Wellington attractions and people can jump on and off as they please. It is a convenient way to get to the city’s leading attractions which include theaters, wildlife, museums, boutique shopping and the Beehive – home to Parliament.
Zealandia is located one mile from the Wellington CBD and has been described as “the most accessible mainland conservation island in New Zealand and one of the most significant urban conservation projects in the world.” The reserve is situated in a valley and visitors can walk through native forest and see and hear some of New Zealand’s rarest wildlife in its natural environment. A museum and coffee bar complete the experience.
Wellington is a beautiful city with much to offer tourists. There is something to suit everyone and although the weather may be unpredictable, there is a good balance of indoor and outdoor activities.