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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.