In some ways, Cuba Street is the heart of Wellington. The Bohemian street is home to what is usually described as an eclectic mix of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. The thoroughfare is named in honor of early New Zealand Company barque, which arrived in Wellington on Jan. 3, 1840. The city closed the middle section of the street to traffic in 1969, making it a pedestrian-only mall, one of the busiest hubs for pedestrians in Wellington. Since 1995 Cuba Street has been registered as a historic area under the Historic Places Act 1993.
One Tree Hill is a 597-foot-tall volcanic peak in Auckland, which provides stunning views of the area around the city. The area is an important landmark for the native Māori. Sir John Logan Campbell, a native of Scotland known as “the father of Auckland,” is buried on the summit of One Tree Hill. Presuming the Māori would die out, Campbell gave money for a memorial to the Māori atop One Tree Hill. The Māori name of One Tree Hill is Maungakiekie, which means “mountain of the kiekie vine.”
St. Peter’s was designed by an architect from Dunedin using Gothic details, but built along the lines of an English parish church. Anglican roots in Queenstown, however, date to at least 1861. An earlier church was built in 1863 and modified over the years. The oft-photographed stone church, which almost seems out of place in adreneline-driven modern Queenstown, seats 130 people.
Quake City tackles the devastating earthquakes that struck Christchurch, their impact on the city and how the city has worked to rebuild and reinvent itself. The museum first opened as part of the Re:START container mall in February 2013 and moved to its current location in June 2017. Quake City offers a compelling and in-depth look at the earthquakes, both from a scientific standpoint and a cultural one.
In Wellington, New Zealand, Queens Wharf is home to a monument to a dog who took on a larger-than-life personality. During his life, Paddy the Wanderer, an Airedale Terrier, befriended cabbies, workers and seamen. The Wellington Harbour Board adopted Paddy and bestowed him the title of the assistant night watchman. Paddy was tasked with keeping guard against “pirates, smugglers and rodents.” After he died on July 17, 1939, at Harbour Shed no. 1, the locals honored Paddy with a parade. In 1945, Paddy’s friends built a memorial to the pooch with stones from London’s Waterloo Bridge, bombed during World War II. It includes a bronze likeness, a drinking fountain and drinking bowls below for dogs.
New Zealand Parliament is comprised of a series of buildings, including the recognizable Beehive. The complex also includes the Edwardian neoclassical-style Parliament House, which dates to 1922. For anyone interested in learning more about the New Zealand Parliament, visitors can take a tour of the complex. Tour guides offer a history of the legislative body and bring visitors to committee rooms and the floor of parliament.
Rangitoto Island is a 3.4-mile-wide volcanic island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland that reaches s height of 850 feet. The 5,710-acre island is the youngest and largest of the roughly 50 volcanoes of the Auckland volcanic field. It last erupted approximately 600 years ago. Rangitoto is named for the Māori word for ‘Bloody Sky. Its name is derived from the full phrase Ngā Rangi-i-totongia-a Tama-te-kapua , which means The days of the bleeding of Tama-te-kapua. Today, the island is a popular destination for visitors to Auckland, and ferries depart regularly from the city.
First Church is a prominent church in Dunedin and the city’s primary Presbyterian church. The current church, considered to be decorated Gothic style, stands on the stump of Bell Hill, a significant promontory that initially divided the heart of Dunedin in half. Dr. Thomas Burns, the brother of Scottish poet Robert Burns, laid the foundation stone in 1868, but the church was not completed until 1873.
The Edwin Fox Maritime Museum houses what is said to be the “oldest merchant sailing ship still afloat.” The vessel, built in 1853 in India, transported immigrants to New Zealand and Australia and is the only remaining ship that brought convicts to Australia. After its sailing days, the boat was used in the 1880s as a floating freezer and later as a coal store hulk. In about 1950, the Edwin Fox was left to rot on its moorings, but preserved as a museum piece.
The National Maritime Museum celebrates New Zealand’s seafaring history from the voyaging traditions of the Pacific peoples to early European arrivals and modern ocean racing. In Māori, the museum name is Te Huiteananui-a-Tangaroa, the legendary house belonging to Tangaroa, Māori god of the sea. Galleries tell the story of peoples whose lives were forever linked to the sea. Along the way, try your hand at yacht design, relax in a Kiwi style bach, hear the cannon fire and test your sea legs in the rocking cabin. Don’t miss the opportunity to get out on the water aboard one of the museum’s fully restored heritage fleet.
Based on content courtesy of Tourism New Zealand.
The Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, New Zealand’s oldest history museum, focuses on the early settlers to the Dunedin region. The Otago Early Settlers’ Association first founded in 1898, and the earliest iteration of the museum opened in 1908. The current iteration of the museum opened in 2012. It features 14 themed galleries with interactive displays telling the stories from the earliest settlers to more recent arrivals.
Since it opened in 1902, the Wellington Cable Car has been a symbol of the city. The roughly 2,000-foot-long cable car rises 394 feet above Windy Wellington, taking riders from the heart of New Zealand’s capital city to the Kelburn neighborhood. The cable car, which moves at a constant rate of nearly 18 percent, opened to encourage new residents to move into Kelburn, which was a new neighborhood at the time. By the 1960s and 1970s, there were concerns about the safety of the funicular. But, the cable car was rehabilitated and returned to its former glory. At the top, be sure to visit the Cable Car Museum to learn more about its history.
Julius von Haast, a German geologist, founded the Canterbury Museum in 1867. He used his collection as the core of the museum’s exhibits. The Canterbury Museum opened to the public in December 1867 and moved to its current location in October 1870. The museum is part natural history museum and part history museum. Its extensive holdings include the largest collection in the world of Antarctic objects from the age of exploration and discovery.
The 25-hectare Wellington Botanic Garden in Wellington on the side of the hill between Thorndon and Kelburn. The garden, established in 1868 and classified as a Garden of National Significance by the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture, features a range of protected native forests, plants and seasonal displays. It also features a variety of non-native species, including the extensive Lady Norwood Rose Garden.
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu opened in May 2003 and replaced the former Robert McDougall Art Gallery, which opened in 1932. The Christchurch Art Gallery is home to works by both New Zealand and international artists. Following the 2010 Canterbury earthquake and the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, Civil Defence used the building as a headquarters. The art gallery reopened in December 2015 following extensive refurbishments.
New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, opened in 1998 on Wellington’s waterfront. The museum, a celebration of New Zealand’s identity – the people, culture and environment, features hi-tech and traditional displays. As well as significant collections of New Zealand art, the 16,000-plus taonga / treasures looked after by Te Papa are the largest Māori collection in any museum and cover a broad spectrum of Māori art and culture, from revered and significant cultural heirlooms through to humble everyday items dating from early pre-European times to today. In 2017, the museum was named as one of the top 25 museums in the world by TripAdvisor – the only museum in Australasia to be included.
Auckland Museum is regarded as one of the finest Museums in the Southern Hemisphere and is renowned for its unique collection of Māori and Pacific treasures. It is also a war memorial for the Auckland province. Housed in one of the country’s finest heritage buildings, the Museum tells the story of New Zealand as a nation; from award-winning natural history exhibits to galleries which investigate New Zealand’s cultural origins. Scars on the Heart, the Museum’s war memorial exhibition, tells the story of New Zealand at war, while He Taonga Māori – the Museum’s Māori treasures gallery, displays over 2,000 priceless Māori artifacts, including rare carvings and the last great Māori war canoe carved from a giant Totara tree. Auckland Museum is the only venue in Auckland where visitors can experience a Māori cultural performance daily.
The TSS Earnslaw, a 1912 Edwardian vintage twin-screw steamer, plies the waters of Lake Wakatipu in and around Queenstown. The vessel launched on Feb. 24, 1912, and formerly served New Zealand Railways (NZR), earning the nickname the “Lady of the Lake.” The steamer is said to be the only remaining commercial passenger-carrying coal-fired steamship in the southern hemisphere. Today, the Earnslaw carries tourist passengers across Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm. During the 1.5-hour cruise, travelers can view the steam engine and watch stokers feed coal.
St Paul’s Cathedral is the mother church of the Anglican Diocese of Dunedin. While the first parish church of St Paul was built on the site from 1862 to 1863, work on the modern incarnation of the church began in 1913. Bishop Samuel Tarratt Nevill consecrated the cathedral on Feb. 12, 1919. Construction on a new chancel, which features a more modernist design, started in December 1969 and finished in July 1971.
Waiheke Island is a short and scenic 40-minute ferry ride from Auckland’s central business district. Upon arrival, the picturesque wine-lovers’ paradise feels like a world away. Surrounded by the waters of Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, Waiheke Island has been a long-time haven for free spirits, artists and Auckland families on beach holidays. In more recent times Waiheke’s relaxed joys have also earned international appreciation. Waiheke is the favorite island get-away for Aucklanders attracted by beautiful white sandy beaches and historic sites, a thriving food scene, an eclectic mix of artists, an extensive list of boutique and luxury accommodation, brazen architectural delights and some of New Zealand’s most coveted vineyards and wineries. Waiheke Island is New Zealand’s third-most populated island with a permanent population of around 9,000.
Based on content courtesy of Tourism New Zealand.
The small, but packed Picton Heritage & Whaling Museum is home to more than 2,000 artifacts that help tell the area’s history, including its strong roots in the whaling industry. While the museum has been around for 60 years, its current home on London Quay was built in 1990 on the site of Waitohi Pa.
The Cable Car Museum opened in December 2000 in the former winding house, which operated from 1902 until 1978, at the Kelburn end of the Wellington Cable Car. The museum houses a pair of original grip cars that once ran along the line. No. 1 is in red 1970s livery and features contemporary advertising, while No. 3 was restored in 2005 to a green livery dating to circa 1905; a San Francisco Cable Car bell was also added. If nothing else, the area around the museum offers some of the best views of Wellington.
Old St Paul’s was built in 1865-66 and constructed from New Zealand native timbers. Rev. Frederick Thatcher designed the Gothic Revival structure, which served as the Diocese of Wellington of the Anglican Church between 1866 and 1964. The building was nearly demolished in the 1960s. However, a civic organization formed to save the structure from demolition.
Weta Workshop was founded in 1987 and develops special effects for movies and television shows. It formed a digital division, Weta Digital, in 1993. The studio is perhaps best known for its work with Kiwi director Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings films. The company is named for the weta, one of the world’s largest insects. Today, visitors can tour the studio to learn more about the process and see sets in use for various productions.
Sky Tower, located at the corner of Victoria and Federal Streets in the heart of Auckland, is telecommunications and observation tower offering some of the best views in New Zealand. The 1,076-foot-tall tower, the 25th tallest tower in the world, is the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere. The tower, built between 1994 and 1997, is today an iconic structure in Auckland’s skyline and is home to the only revolving restaurant in New Zealand.
After the 2011 Christchurch earthquake heavily damaged the Christchurch Cathedral, Japanese architect Shigeru Ban designed the Cardboard Cathedral pro bono to serve as a transitional cathedral. The Cardboard Cathedral, part of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch, opened in August 2013. The A-frame in style structure rises 79 feet tall and uses 86 cardboard tubes sitting on top of 20-foot-long shipping containers. Despite its controversial design, the transitional cathedral is a popular destination for tourists to the city. The Anglican Diocese built the structure on the site of St John the Baptist Church, the first church built in permanent materials by Anglicans in Christchurch. The 2011 earthquake destroyed the church.
For anyone interested in learning more about the history of Wellington, the Wellington Museum is an absolute must. The centerpiece of the museum is the building itself. The museum is located in the Bond Store, which sits in the heart of Wellington’s waterfront district. Leading architect Frederick de Jersey Clere designed the 1892 heritage building. The museum features a mix of stories about the community of Wellington and maritime history, including information about the 1968 Wahine disaster, a deadly ferry disaster that claimed the lives of 53 passengers.
Queenstown Gardens contains a mixture of exotic and native trees and plants, which visitors can enjoy from the garden’s variety of trails. In addition to its flora, the gardens offer beautiful views of Lake Wakatipu, the Frankton Arm and Queenstown. The first mayor of Queenstown, James W. Robertson, and the nurseryman at the time, Mr. McConnochie, planted the first two trees, English oaks, in the gardens in 1866 to celebrate the incorporation of the borough. However, the gardens did not officially open until 1867, and significant planting started at that time.
The Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial opened on Feb. 22, 2017, the sixth anniversary of the 2011 earthquake that claimed the lives of 185 people. The memorial, located in a gentle curve of the Avon River in the heart of Christchurch, pays respect to those who died, were seriously injured and survivors. The memorial’s name, Oi Manawa, means “tremor or quivering of the heart.”
The Christchurch Botanic Gardens traces its origin to 1863. That year, an English oak was planted to commemorate the marriage of Prince Albert and Princess Alexandra of Denmark. The gardens are located next to the loop of the Avon River and Hagley Park. The gardens, which cover 21 hectares, are home to a collection of local and exotic plants. Its collection includes plants from across the globe.
MOTAT – Museum of Transport and Technology – opened in 1964, and is the largest museum of transport, technology and social history in New Zealand. It houses a number of outstanding collections.
The Bridge of Remembrance in Christchurch, New Zealand, is dedicated to as a memorial to those who participated in World War I and World War II as well as conflicts in Borneo, Korea, Malaya and Vietnam. The Cashel Street bridge over the Avon River initially opened in 1873. Mrs. Wyn Irwin is credited with raising the idea for a memorial atop the bridge in a July 24, 1919, letter to The Press on 24 July 1919. Lord Jellicoe unveiled the monument on Armistice Day (Nov. 11) in 1924. It closed to vehicle traffic in 1976. Following the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, New Zealand spent more than NZD 2 million to strengthen the historic bridge.
Albert Park was laid out in the 1880s and is famous for its stunning views of Auckland and the harbor. The park stands on the site of the former Albert Barracks, which was built in the 1840s and is among Auckland’s early European military forts, which itseld was buolt on the site of Te Horotiu pa. A statue of Queen Victoria was erected in the park following her Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The park is also home to a Boer War memorial.
Pukeahu National War Memorial Park honors New Zealanders who served overseas and commemorates the more than 30,000 New Zealanders who died during a conflict. It was created in 2015 to enhance the National War Memorial. “Pukeahu is a special place for New Zealanders and visitors to reflect on this country’s experience of conflict and our role in peacekeeping and how this has helped shape our national identity,” Deputy Chief Executive Delivery, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage Tamsin Evans said in a December 2018 news release.