Museums and galleries
Te Papa55 Cable StPhone: +64 4 381-7000Hours: F-W 10:00-18:00, Th 10:00-21:00Price: Free (except for the occasional special presentation)New Zealand's national museum contains interesting exhibitions on the country's history and culture and includes several shops. It has the only complete colossal squid on display. Museum of Wellington City & SeaHours: Daily, 10:00-17:00, closed 25 DecPrice: FreeQueens Wharf. A well-presented museum of the history of Wellington, including its maritime history.
City GalleryCivic SquareLacks a permanent collection but runs a consistently avant-garde set of exhibits. It also has the excellent caf, Nikau, attached to it.
Carter Observatory40 Salamanca Rd, KelburnPhone: +64 4 910-3140Hours: 10:00-17:00Price: $18Recently re-opened, Carter offers a state of the art planetarium show, along with multi media exhibits show how early Mori, Polynesian and European settlers navigated their way to New Zealand.
Plimmer's Ark. Under and in the Old Bank Arcade on the corner of Lambton Quay and Customhouse Quay - near Plimmer's Steps. A hundred years ago a Bank was built on top of a wrecked ship that had been used as a market. When they renovated the building they discovered the ship's timbers and preserved the remains in the building! Just take the escalator down through the bank vault doors.
Parliament BuildingsMolesworth Street, ThorndonPhone: +64 4 817-9503Home of New Zealand's lawmakers and leaders, the complex consists of the Beehive (or Executive Wing), Parliament House and the Parliamentary Library. The grounds of Parliament are open to the public, and free tours of the buildings are available from the visitor centre located between the Beehive and Parliament House. For security reasons, you need to leave all your belongings at the visitor centre and clear a security checkpoint.
National Library of New Zealand, corner of Aitken and Molesworth Streets (across the road from the Cathedral and Parliament). The library regularly holds exhibitions.
Turnbull House, Bowen Street (just across the road from Parliament Buildings). This imposing brick mansion now seems small and out of place amongst the surrounding high-rises.
Old Government Buildings opposite Parliament at 15 Lambton Quay. This is the largest wooden building in the southern hemisphere and the second-largest in the world. It is now the home of Victoria University Law School.
Old St Paul's, (one block east of Parliament). This was the Anglican centre for decades. Superseded by the new cathedral north of Parliament, this one is popular for weddings and funerals.
Elmscourt an historic art deco apartment block on the corner of The Terrace and Abel Smith Street.
Statues and sculptures appear in some intriguing places around town. Famous prime ministers, memorials, and works of art have all been erected in the streets of Wellington, including:
Memorial statues to two prime ministers in the grounds of Parliament as well as a bicentennial memorial to Captain Cook's 1769 discovery of New Zealand.
The Cenotaph on the corner of Lambton Quay and Bowen Street, just outside the Parliament Grounds, is where a Dawn Memorial Service is held every ANZAC Day (25 Apr).
Behind Parliament, on the corner of Museum and Bowen Streets, is a small park with 3 sculptures in block.
On the corner of Lambton Quay and Stout Street, the fallen column was created from a column and letters from the State Fire Insurance Building demolished in the 1980s..
On Lambton Quay, opposite Cable Car Lane, the two stainless steel monoliths with pimples are actually a poem in Braille!
Where Lambton Quay meets Featherston Street there is a wind mobile.
The Bucket Fountain in Cuba Mall - a real splash, for many years.
The Wellington City Council website provides a guide to its public art: Wellington City Council Public Art Guide. More information and a walking tour guide is available at Wellington Sculptures.
Wellington City is surrounded by hills, so there are a number of good vantage points.
The Wellington Cable CarPhone: +64 4 472-2199Hours: Daily until 22:00Price: $2.50 one way, $4.50 return. Concession prices are available for children, students and senior citizens over 65From Lambton Quay (next to the McDonald's). The easiest way to get a nice view of the city and harbour, the Cable Car runs on rails from Lambton Quay to the Botanic Garden in Kelburn every ten minutes.
Mount Victoriaoff Lookout Road196m high, this is the best lookout in Wellington. The full 360-degree view is a great place to see the the airport, the harbour, the CBD and the Town Belt with just a turn of the head. It takes about an hour to walk up from Courtenay Place. Many tourist buses go there but also a lot of the locals, especially at night to 'watch the view'.
Mount Kaukauoff Woodmancote Road, Khandallah455m high, and easily recognisable by the 122-metre television transmitter atop it. A great lookout point, but not as close to the city as Mt Victoria.
Wrights HillMore views, and WWII underground tunnels which are open to the public on public holidays for a small fee.
Brooklyn Wind Turbineoff Ashton Fitchett Dr, BrooklynAnother great place to go to get an excellent view of the city, the harbour, and Cook Strait, plus experience the wind! The turbine was built in 1993 to test the potential of turning Wellington's infamous wind into useful electricity.
Massey MemorialMassey Road, MiramarAn interesting place to go if you want to see a large memorial in the middle of nowhere, with a good view of the surrounding harbour. The memorial's namesake is William Massey, Prime Minister of New Zealand between 1912 and 1925.
Karori Wildlife Sanctuary (Zealandia)Waiapu Rd, KaroriHours: Daily 10:00-17:00 (last entry 16:00), closed 25 DecPrice: $18.50, child $9, more for guided toursA predator-proof fence encloses an old water catchment area, forming a mainland island that provides a natural haven for endangered native birds, tuatara, wt, and other indigenous flora and fauna, safe from introduced predators. By far the most convenient place in the country to see rare New Zealand wildlife.
Matiu/Somes IslandPrice: $18.50Out in the middle of the harbour, this island has its share of history. It was once a quarantine station for immigrants, and later (and more extensively) for animals. It was also an internment camp for "dangerous" individuals during both World Wars. The ferry leaves from Queen's Wharf and Day's Bay (on opposite sides of the harbour). Only at certain times will the ferry stop at the island and only upon request. The best choice is to leave Queen's Wharf at noon and return at 14:30 or 15:25.