Wonderful, cosmopolitan, quirky Wellington. Famous for its coffee culture, mad nightlife and innovative dining.
Make your way through the city on a trolley bus or go on foot and get delightfully lost in a maze of streets and laneways in the city’s compact CBD.
Wellington’s CBD wraps its way around the harbour in a horseshoe, with Mount Victoria at its southern end providing a great vantage point to view the city. Walking tracks lead through woodland to its summit, or you can drive to the top, passing houses perched precariously on the hillside. At the foot of Mount Victoria, Oriental Parade is a waterfront promenade popular with runners, walkers, cyclists, and when temperatures permit, sunbathers and swimmers.
Starting at the end of Oriental Parade is Courtenay Place, the heart of the city’s entertainment district. Along Courtenay Place, and in the side streets leading off it, are the city’s theatres, movie cinemas, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Two blocks away on the waterfront is Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum.
At the mid-point of the horseshoe the streets around Manners Mall and Cuba Street are home to an eye-candy array of shops and cafes. The northern end of Lambton Quay marks the start of the Government Quarter. The Parliament buildings, including the iconic Beehive, most government departments and many foreign embassies are found here.
Weta Cave tours
Finally, at the far end of the horseshoe is Wellington’s Westpac Stadium, aka the ‘Cake Tin’, home of cricket, rugby and football.
Museums and Galleries
Te Papa Tongarewa, commonly known as Te Papa – Our Place, is New Zealand’s National Museum. Located on Cable Street on the Wellington waterfront there are six floors of exhibitions dedicated to New Zealand's culture and environment, and an outdoor area complete with caves, native bush and wetlands. The museum cares for more than 2 million objects in the national collection and showcases some of New Zealand’s most significant taonga (treasures) including a historical and 21st century carved meeting house, and the only intact specimen of colossal squid on display in the world. Entry is free, and open to the public 364 days a year. Special exhibitions will carry a small charge.
Outside Te Papa, Wellington is home to a number of other noteworthy museums and galleries. The City Gallery located in Civic Square hosts an ever-changing programme of special exhibitions with no fixed collection. The Museum of Wellington City and Sea gives an intriguing insight into Wellington’s history.