Posts Tagged With: wellington

Top 5 New Zealand Museums

New Zealand is full of rich, wonderful and culturally significant museums. I have chosen my Top 5 favourite museums across the whole of this beautiful country. Enjoy!

1. Te Papa, Wellington



Probably New Zealand’s best museum, Te Papa has something to offer everyone. The museum’s website tells you when visiting Te Papa you will ‘discover the stories of New Zealand’. From the historic right up to the contemporary (The Lord of the Rings included!) the museum has a huge number of displays and art work, and hosts exciting events and amazing exhibitions.

The content and layout of the museum is brilliant. The variety of items in the museum, along with the innovative and interesting design make for a fantastic visit. Favourite sections of ours were the sections about New Zealand’s native wildlife, as well as the 20th century displays.

It is a place that has to feature on your Wellington itinerary!

  • Opening hours: 10am-6pm, 365 days a year.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Location: 55 Cable Street, Wellington.


2. Otago Settlers Museum


IMG_0538The Otago Settlers Museum tells the stories of the people of Dunedin from the earliest settlers through to those who have recently arrived. The museum traces the lives of the settlers – indigenous Māori, the early Chinese, and other migrant groups – and their technological innovation, domestic life, fashion, art and transport.

It is an incredibly innovative and well-planned out museum. It has lots of interactive sections, and an amazing array of items covering a large period in history.

Immigration boat reconstruction

A special area of the museum is the reconstruction of being under deck on a boat that would have brought immigrants into New Zealand – it is dark and has all the noises as part of the reconstruction.

They state on their website they are ‘New Zealand’s newest and most innovative museum experience’ so be sure to check them out.

  • Opening hours: 10am-5pm, except for Christmas Day.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Location: 31 Queens Garden, Dunedin.

3. World of WearableArt™ and Classic Cars Museum, Nelson


IMG_6772.jpgA unique collaboration of two very different interests, the ‘WOW’ (World of WearableArt) and car museum offers the chance to see the world-class collection of classic cars, as well as amazing wearable art from all around the world.

The selection and layout of cars is absolutely brilliant. The information about the cars is excellent and the cars are arranged thoughtfully, with extreme care taken over their preservation.

The fashion art gallery is very innovative and unique and unlike anything we have seen before. It contains over 60 World of WearableArt garments which are fascinating to see.

This museum is a fantastic collaboration and you find something for everyone on your visit.

  • Opening hours: 10am-5pm, except for Christmas Day.
  • Cost: $24 for adults and $10 for children, concessions also apply.
  • Location: Cadillac Way off Quarantine Road, Annesbrook, near Nelson.


4. Auckland War Memorial Museum

IMG_9650A very popular museum, the Auckland War Memorial Museum is a large museum with a huge array of displays and exhibitions. It is set in a beautiful location with a view looking down towards the city.

Their website states they are ‘New Zealand’s first Museum’, and that the museum ‘tells the story of New Zealand, its place in the Pacific and its people’. It also has one of the top three heritage libraries in New Zealand.

IMG_9624The collections it houses include pre-eminent Māori and Pacific collections, social and military history collections, significant natural history resources and arts and pictorial collections. The museum is also highly involved in local education programmes.

With such a variety of collections, and in such a beautiful location overlooking the city, this museum is a must-visit on your trip to Auckland.

  • Opening hours: 10am-5pm, except for Christmas Day.
  • Cost: $25 for adults and $10 for children, free/donation for NZ residents.
  • Location: The Auckland Domain, Parnell, Auckland.


5. Southward Car Museum, Paraparaumu


IMG_1352Named after its namesake – Sir Len Southward – The Southward Car Museum is a wonderful collection of over 400 cars and bikes and really is a fantastic place to visit.

Their website claims they are the ‘largest and most comprehensive car museum in the southern hemisphere’ and their selection of vehicles are in beautiful condition and are really well presented in a huge exhibition hall. They also have a lower level within the museum, which is down some steps housing yet more cars.

More off-the-beaten track than the other museums in this list, this museum will not disappoint and may prove to be a highlight of your trip!

  • Opening hours: 9am-4.30pm, except for Christmas Day and Good Friday.
  • Cost: $17 for adults and $3 for children.
  • Location: Otaihanga Road, Paraparaumu, approx an hour’s drive north of Wellington.

There are other wonderful museums that could have made this Top 5 list, so feel to share yours with me! 🙂

Categories: Activities, New Zealand, North Island, Photographs, South Island, Top 5 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Year in windy Wellington

Monday 31st December – Thursday January 3rd 2013

Wellington cable car

Gollum at Wellington airportI am rather behind with my blog postings (due to difficulty finding free wifi where I am currently) but am now up to writing about our New Year Adventure in Wellington – the middle of middle-earth! Despite having been to New Zealand twice before and having been here since September we had still not yet visited Wellington. Almost everyone we had met had told us how much they loved Wellington (or Welly as it is affectionately known) and declared we just had to visit. So we thought the perfect time was New Year – as we could spend a few days exploring and take in the supposedly spectacular fireworks. Unfortunately the weather had other ideas . . .

Us enjoying Wellington waterfrontI will take you back to New Years Eve, as we checked out of our lovely suite at the Heritage in Queenstown, dropped our hire car back and waited for our flight. We enjoyed some nice potato wedges and ice cream at the airport (definitely one of my favourite airports!). We left Queenstown and after a pretty bumpy first part to the journey soon arrived in Wellington. We took the bright orange airport bus to our accommodation – and it was certainly nice that the airport was closer to the city centre than in Auckland! We hopped off the bus at Courtney Place and walked the last part to our accommodation – called ‘At Home‘. This had recently won an award for ‘Top 25 hotels in the South Pacific’ so we had high hopes, and it didn’t disappoint! The living space was large – we were in a one bed apartment, and the owners seemed very friendly. The apartment had everything we needed and we overlooked Te Papa museum so were in a great location. That evening we headed out for a walk along the waterfront and grabbed a takeaway pizza. By this stage the wind was pretty strong and unfortunately they cancelled the New Year’s fireworks – which was a real shame. We still headed down to the waterfront for the New Year countdown though which was a nice way to see in 2013.

IMG_8036The following morning we decided to take a trip on the famous cable car, which we really enjoyed. It took us up to a viewpoint with great views over the city and we took a nice walk back down to the city centre through the Botanical gardens. The cable car was pretty cheaply priced at a $6 return. In the afternoon we headed to the amazing Te Papa museum – which is free! Situated just across from our apartment, it wasn’t far to go and we were right in the midst of (in our opinion) New Zealand’s best museum. The content and layout of the museum is brilliant. It was pretty busy as it was New Year’s day, but we were able to explore some levels of the museum and take in all of the amazing exhibits. The variety of things in the museum, along with the innovative and interesting design made it a fantastic afternoon. I enjoyed the section about New Zealand’s native wildlife, as well as the 20th century displays. My husband enjoyed learning about the treaty.

Embassy theatre

That evening we had booked to see The Hobbit (for a second time!) at the world-famous Embassy Theatre – where they held the world premiere of The Hobbit. It was great to be in the same building, and it was also a stunning cinema – so beautiful and quaint inside and watching the film there was incredibly comfortable and really special. Something we won’t forget in quite some time!

The following day we had planned to take a walk up Mount Victoria but the weather was pretty crazy and the wind so strong that we decided to spend more time at Te Papa museum. Te Papa signWe spent more time exploring (when it was less busy) and covered as much of the museum as possible. I enjoyed seeing the LOTR trolls in the entrance area, along with a huge real gingerbread house – it was great! Other areas we explored were about Maori history and culture, and 19th century history. We also enjoyed looked at some of the art up on the higher levels. Definitely a must if you are visiting Welly! And an incredible bargain as it is free!

That evening the wind got up to incredibly gale force strength so we relaxed in our room. We watched things blowing around in the streets and people really unable to walk because it was so strong. We heard that some flights heading into Welly were cancelled or delayed. The following morning the wind had luckily subsided as we were flying out, and our taxi driver taking us to the airport said he had lived in Welly for a long time and it was the craziest and strongest wind he had ever witnessed there! We headed to the airport then for our flight back up to Auckland.

Wellington streetsOverall we did really enjoy our time in Wellington – especially seeing it so soon after the premiere of The Hobbit and feeling some of that special atmosphere. It has a pretty waterfront and a nice smaller city feel than Auckland. I do think though that a lot of hype can also make it difficult when you finally arrive somewhere – as we perhaps (being honest) may have been expecting a little more from Welly. I think strangely we saw it at its crazy busiest (New Year’s Eve), were disappointed by the lack of fireworks, yet also saw it pretty quiet (as locals commented) as lots of people head out of the city for New Year. So perhaps we didn’t see it at its complete best, but a great time we had nevertheless. Now on to the next part of our ‘unexpected journey’ . . . !  🙂

Categories: Accommodation, Activities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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