The City of Wellington is New Zealand’s political capital and its center for culture and arts, with a unique blend of heritage, culture, entertainment, arts, and excellent cuisine. With beautiful hills and a rugged coastline, the Port of Wellington is blessed with a breathtaking harbor. Covering a limited area, tourists do not have to travel far to sample everything – the shops, art galleries, theaters, and wonderful restaurants. The city offers an excellent network of walking and biking trails as well.
Port of Wellington is home to one of New Zealand’s most popular attractions, the interactive Te Papa Tongarewa museum. This national museum contains five floors of New Zealand’s best art, history, and nature with displays of its people, wildlife, geology, and culture. Guided tours are available. The museum contains the Earthquake House where visitors experience the natural phenomenon. It holds an exhibit telling the Maori’s story from the discovery of New Zealand to the arrival of the Europeans. The Te Papa Tongarewa museum is well worth an afternoon’s visit.
The Port of Wellington Cable Car is a very popular attraction. Running from Lambton Quay to the Kelburn Botanic Garden every ten minutes, the cable car takes riders to a vantage point for unequalled views of the city and the harbor. At the overlook are a fascinating cable car museum, the Carter Observatory, and the Skyline Restaurant.
The Port of Wellington’s Karori Wildlife Sanctuary is a mainland island where endangered native plants and animals are protected from predators and viewable by the public. Including native birds, weta (the dinosaur of the insect world), tuatara (a lizard-like reptile), and other indigenous life, the Sanctuary is staffed by scientists and students who do research to learn how to restore and protect New Zealand’s indigenous species.
The Museum of Wellington City & Sea at the Port of Wellington’s Queens Wharf presents the story of Wellington’s past, including its maritime history. Including special effects and interactive exhibits, visitors take a trip through the city’s history to the modern Port of Wellington. A dramatic 12-minute show explains the Maori creation legends. An exhibit also offers stories of the city’s history from the people who lived it that visitors can hear over an old telephone. The city’s maritime history is recounted, from the first waka to today’s container ships, on the museum’s central floor where you can steer the ship’s wheel from the Captain’s cabin.
Visitors to the Port of Wellington will not want to miss Plimmer’s Ark, an old wrecked ship (the Inconstant) that was used as a market until a bank was built on top of it about a hundred years ago. While renovating the bank in 1997, they found the ship’s timbers. Today, visitors can ride an escalator down through the vault doors to see the under-glass remains of the ship’s bow.
In the 1980s, Frank Kitts Park was one of the first steps in the redevelopment of the Port of Wellington’s waterfront area. Today, the park is fully-equipped for recreation. Dragon boaters practice and race at its shores. Children giggle while they enjoy the playground. People picnic while enjoying marvelous views of the hills and harbor or attend concerts and other events. Bungy jumpers take a two-story jump. The park offers paddle boats and a waterside promenade where scooters, skaters, runners, joggers, and walkers enjoy the afternoon. The park also contains some very interesting public art.
Travelers who want to visit the Port of Wellington by sea can find a long list of scheduled cruises at the Cruise Compete website.