Dubbed ‘The coolest little capital in the world’ and for good reason. Wellington on the southern part of New Zealand’s North Island is nestled between rolling hills and a beautiful harbour. It may be small but the attractions are huge! After a quick trip across the pond to experience this little capital for myself I discovered these fun-filled family attractions.
Te Papa – National Museum of New Zealand
Leave your thoughts of what traditional Museums are at the door and allow yourself several hours to explore this incredible complex where fantastic exhibits have been designed for curious minds of all ages. One of the large features showcases the birth of New Zealand with dedicated exhibits to the indigenous people, the Maori. The rooms dedicated to the diverse art and visual culture of Wellington has regularly scheduled programmes of events, entertainment, historic and educational displays making this a family favourite every time. And the best part….it’s FREE!
WETA Cave Experience
Discover where the Hobbits were created and see where movie magic comes to life. You will be amazed at how many movies have had props, characters and displays produced here and the Window into the Workshop tour will bring you face to face with some of your favourites. An exclusive inside look awaits where you can watch the artists working up close and observe their creativity first hand. And always keep an eye out for who is around, often you will find co-founders Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor working away amongst the staff.
Wellington Cable Car
Perhaps one of the most popular tourist attractions is the historic Wellington Cable Car. Reaching high into the hills and celebrating 110 years of operation this year. Starting in Lambton Quay in the heart of the CBD the cable car tunnels it way under the corporate towers of The Terrace, stopping at Kelburn Park and climbing up to Victoria University. Once you reach the summit panoramic views over Wellington and the bay will be waiting as are the Cable Car Museum, Carter Observatory and Planetarium and beautiful public gardens.
Covering 225 hectares with 32km of walking trails, this is a nature wonderland. Free guided ranger tours will take you through the park’s displays and beautiful native bushlands to showcase the rejuvenated areas as they may have looked before the arrival of humans. Located just minutes from downtown Wellington, the park houses some of the rarest wildlife in New Zealand, including the famed Kiwi. Night tours are also available for a different experience.
Zest Food Tours of Wellington
There is one thing the locals take very seriously and that’s their food, coffee and wine. Zest Tours offer a gourmet food walking tour of the Wellington streets to showcase the finest of the gourmet stores, coffee roasters, cafes and restaurants. It’s said that Wellington has more bars and restaurants per capita then New York, so this gives an indication of what to expect on your culinary journey. My recommendations would be try the local roasted coffee and fresh food at Prefab café and don’t miss out on the locally produced cheeses. This region is fertile ground for growing fresh produce where farm to table food is widely used and expected.