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Wellington's museums - suggested activity
Te Papa means 'our place' and is considered to be the 'museum of New Zealand'. The building opened in 1998 and since then has shown millions of visitors it's fascinating and unique collection of New Zealand's art, history, memorabilia, natural wonders, treasures and stories as well as hosting many international displays.
One of the finest collections of Maori artefacts can be found here as well as displays dedicated to the many different cultures that make up New Zealand's current population. Make sure you allow enough time to explore museums many floors. The museum is open 10am to 6pm and is free to visit. A small fee may be applicable to some short term visiting displays.
Housed in the iconic Bond Store on Wellington’s waterfront, the Museum of Wellington is dedicated to the preservation and study of Wellington’s rich social and cultural history. It provides a backdrop for the permanent display of the people and events that have made Wellington what it is today. The Museum’s atmosphere is thick with history. The Bond Store dates back to 1892, when it was a cargo warehouse and head office of the Harbour Board. Careful restoration has preserved the building’s striking facade, as well as solid timber beams and the original flooring inside. The latest technology is used to further stimulate your senses. Traditional displays sit alongside interactive exhibits, holographs and a giant cinema screen that stretches the length and breadth of an entire wall, a feature unique in Australasia. The collection includes over 95,000 items. Open 10am to 5pm entry is free.
New Zealand Portrait Gallery
The New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata is a small gallery which tells the stories of New Zealanders through the art of portraiture. The Gallery is located in Shed 11 on Wellington’s waterfront.
Open 10:30am to 4:30pm daily, entry is free.
City Gallery Wellington
Showing art that is sometimes challenging and always captivating from some of the world’s leading artists, City Gallery Wellington is known for world-class exhibitions of contemporary New Zealand and international art. It is located in Te Ngākau Civic Square and is open daily, 11am to 5pm.
Wellington Cable Car
Join locals and visitors alike in a historic trip on the Wellington Cable Car. For over a hundred years passengers have enjoyed the dramatic views of the growing cityscape and the surrounding hills that define Wellington's harbour. This five minute trip to the top of the Kelburn Hill offers a charming escape from the busy city streets. You will enjoy views of the city & harbour Te Whanganui-a-Tara from the indoor or outdoor platforms.
Once at the Kelburn Lookout, you can visit the Cable Car Museum located adjacent to the Kelburn Terminus. It houses the original winding machinery for the cable car system which operated from 1902 until 1978. Take a seat and enjoy a short film about the development of the Cable Car or browse through the gift shop for any last-minute presents! You can also visit the Space Place at Carter Observatory, located two minutes from the top of the Cable Car with multimedia exhibitions and some of New Zealand's most prestigious astronomical artefacts. Enjoy the show in the digital full-done planetarium and explore the Southern skies.
If you have time and feel like stretching your legs, you can choose to walk downhill back to the city through the beautiful Wellington Botanic Garden.