Wellington, New Zealand North Island

Te Whanganui-a-Tara is the Māori name for the capital of New Zealand. Claiming to be the world’s windiest city, it is located along the Wellington Harbour on the southwest corner of the North Island.

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1 Aotea Quay Ship Terminal in Wellington, New Zealand

By ship, Wellington is the portal to New Zealand’s North Island from the South Island. If you take the Interislander ferry across Cook Strait from Picton, you will arrive at Aotea Quay. Cruise ships also dock at this terminal. When you disembark, it is a 20 minute walk into Wellington Central. The best advice is to take the free shuttle. Save your energy for exploring the marvelous capital city of New Zealand. This travel guide provides a walking tour of all the highlights.

Aotea Quay, Pipitea, Wellington 6035, New Zealand
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2 Railway Station in Wellington, New Zealand

If you travel to Wellington by rail, you will arrive at the Wellington Railway Station – the biggest and busiest in New Zealand. It is ideally located at the north end of Wellington Harbour and near the capital city’s government buildings. The terminal has a Neoclassical design created by architect William Gray Young. It was built during the Great Depression by displaced workers and finished in 1937. This grand main entrance is framed by eight, Doric columns that are 42 feet tall.

4 Bunny St, Pipitea, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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3 Nga Kina Sculpture in Wellington, New Zealand

These nine giant green shells at Kumutoto Wharf were created by sculptor Michael Tuffery in 2012. They portray kina, a sea urchin endemic to New Zealand. This public artwork titled “Nga Kina” is a tribute to the Māori settlement that once lived at this point (Kumutoto Pa) where the Kumutoto stream emptied into the harbor. It now flows beneath an underground tunnel. Kina were fished and eaten by the Māori people for centuries.

33 Customhouse Quay, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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4 20 Customhouse Quay in Wellington, New Zealand

London-based Deloitte is one of the Big Four accounting firms. Their 1,000 Wellington staff members were displaced from the Deloitte House after the Kaikōura earthquake in 2016. They moved into 20 Customhouse Quay in 2018. This fourteen floor office tower along the waterfront offers spectacular harbor views through its reflective exterior accented with a diagrid of crisscross white tubes and diamond-shaped accents.

20 Customhouse Quay, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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5 Queens Wharf in Wellington, New Zealand

There is a delightful and scenic harborside promenade beginning at Kumutoto Wharf, extending through Queens Wharf and alongside Frank Kitts Park. The place to go for a scrumptious selection of restaurants and bars is Queens Wharf. They are typically housed in former dock buildings, sheds and warehouses. An example is One Red Dog, one of the eateries located in the Steamship Wharf Building. It was built for the Union Steamship Company in the late 19th century at Greta Point in Evans Bay and then moved here in 2005.

56 Customhouse Quay, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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6 Lighthouse Slide at Frank Kitts Park in Wellington, New Zealand

A fun place to entertain children along the Wellington Waterfront is the playground at Frank Kitts Park. This lighthouse slide is the centerpiece of the kid’s recreation area. The park was created in 1974 and named in honor of Sir Francis Kitts. Frank Kitts was the longest serving mayor of Wellington from 1956 until 1974. He was also a two-term member of New Zealand’s Parliament.

Frank Kitts Park, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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7 Puppy Love at Frank Kitts Park in Wellington, New Zealand

This adorable little girl clutching a Shih Tzu at Frank Kitts Park is unequivocal proof of the wisdom of the woman who said, “Happiness is a warm puppy.” The quote is from Lucy in the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schultz.

Frank Kitts Park, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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8 Wahine Memorial at Frank Kitts Park in Wellington, New Zealand

At the south end of Frank Kitts Park is the Memorial Wall commemorating historic ships associated with Wellington. Some vessels carried soldiers to wars, others were sunk in battle or during maritime disasters and one transported refugees from Communism to settle in New Zealand. In the center is the yellow foremast of TEV Wahine. In 1968, this Union Steamship Company ferry was battered by Cyclone Giselle, stuck Barrett Reef and capsized at the mouth of Wellington Harbour. The Wahine Memorial was created to honor the 53 casualties and the rescue of over 680 passengers.

Frank Kitts Park, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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9 Kayakers on Whairepo Lagoon in Wellington, New Zealand

These high school girls were giggling and splashing during a kayaking field trip in Whairepo Lagoon. This small, man-made inlet of Lambton Harbour is adjacent to Frank Kitts Park. The lagoon was nameless until December, 2015. In the Māori language, whai repo means stingray. On the right is City to Sea Bridge. Since 1994, this footbridge has spanned Jervois Quay and connected the Civic Center with the Wellington Waterfront. The circular building is the Michael Fowler Centre convention centre and concert hall.

Whairepo Lagoon, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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10 Central Business District in Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington is New Zealand’s second largest city with an urban population of about 420,000 people. The central business district is compact. Wellington Central covers less than a quarter square mile stretching from Lambton Quay in the north to this Civic Precinct in the south. Only three of its high rises barely qualify as a skyscraper over 300 feet. The tallest is Majestic Centre at 381 feet.

Whairepo Lagoon, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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11 The Boatshed in Wellington, New Zealand

Star Boating Club was founded in 1866, making it New Zealand’s oldest rowing club. Twenty years later, the members who proudly wear blue and white moved into their third and current shed. This waterfront, Category 1 Historic Place was designed by William Chatfield to be portable. It was relocated several times until reaching its current position along Whairepo Lagoon in 1991. The Boat Shed is also available for special events such as weddings.

The Boatshed, Taranaki Street Wharf, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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12 Kupe Raiatea Sighting of Aotearoa in Wellington, New Zealand

According to Māori legend, Kupe Raiatea was the chief of the Polynesian tribe Hawaiki. In 925 AD, he discovered New Zealand. Also aboard the Matawhourua canoe was Pekahourangi the Tohunga and Kupe’s wife, Hine-te-aparangi. When she sighted land, she exclaimed, “He ao! He ao!” This translates to, “a cloud, a cloud.” So Kupe named the new land Aotearoa meaning “long white cloud.” In 1939, artist William Trethewey created this statuary in plaster. He called it “The Coming of the Māori.” This rendition along the waterfront was cast in bronze in 1999.

Wellington Rowing Club, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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13 Wellington Waterfront Walk in Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington Waterfront Walk is a scenic boardwalk along Lambton Harbour. Savor your stroll as you encounter historic buildings, parks and sculptures plus eateries and bars. On Wednesday through Sunday in the summer, peek inside these shipping containers on Taranaki Wharf. They will be filled with artwork and crafts by local artisans. The popular shopping event is called the Waterfront Pop-up Village.

1 Taranaki St, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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14 Te Papa, Museum of New Zealand in Wellington, New Zealand

Describing the Museum of New Zealand or Te Papa Tongarewa as a cultural and history museum belies the incredible experience awaiting you along the waterfront. On six floors are five collections covering regional arts and history, the Māori and Pacific cultures plus natural history with over 70,000 specimens of New Zealand wildlife. Experience incredible interactive adventures like the Earthquake House. Stare in amazement at a colossal squid. This world record at 14 feet long and nearly 1,000 pounds was caught in the Ross Sea in 2007. Best of all … admission is free. Come see why over one million people annually visit Te Papa (Our Place), more than any other museum in Oceania.

55 Cable St, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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15 Solace in the Wind Statue in Wellington, New Zealand

Solace in the Wind is a life-sized bronze statue of a naked man arched towards the water along the Wellington Waterfront. The sculpture is realistic yet stark, curious as well as haunting and the winner of the People’s Choice Award when it was unveiled in 2008. Prior to then, England-born Max Patté was head of sculpture at Weta Workshop, a New Zealand visual effects company for movies. This first public artwork launched his career as a successful sculptor.

15B Barnett St, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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16 Legend of Wellington Harbor in Wellington, New Zealand

Have a seat here at Chaffers Marina next to Clyde Quay Wharf. Watch the anchored sailboats gently bob and weave. Then read the history of Wellington Harbour. The Māori call it Te Whanganui a Tara. This means the “Great Harbour of Tara.” Tara was the first chief of the Ngai Tara. The tribe settled here in either the 12th or 13th century. According to their legend, the harbour was created by two sea monsters (taniwha). They were big as whales and resembled lizards. Whātaitai was gentle, mild and protective. Ngake was energetic, inquisitive and strong. When the siblings lived in the water in front of you, it was a large, fresh-water lake. Eager to escape to the ocean, Ngake tunneled through the earth until he reached Te Moana o Raukawa (today’s Cook Strait). As water rushed through the new opening, Whātaitai was caught in the eddy and washed ashore. After dying, the taniwha’s spirit became a bird named Te Keo. Now look at the hill behind you. Mount Victoria (Tangi Te Keo) and the ridge of Hataitai suburb is where the remains of the gentle monster turned to stone.

Chaffers Marina, 22 Herd St, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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17 Boat Sheds at Oriental Bay in Wellington, New Zealand

Oriental Bay is both a harbour inlet and a suburb about a mile from Wellington Central. This popular waterfront begins in the west along Herd Street just beyond Te Pepa, Clyde Quay Wharf and Waitangi Park, a 16 acre greenspace. These colorful boat sheds mark the beginning of Oriental Parade. Originally, 24 of these quaint concrete structures were created in two rows of 12 bays. 14 more were added later. They were built by the Wellington Harbour Board from 1905 through 1922 along reclaimed shoreline. These are Sheds 2 – 13, the earliest of the boat houses constructed in 1905.

Oriental Parade & Herd Street, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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18 Yacht Club at Oriental Bay in Wellington, New Zealand

The centerpiece of the boat sheds at Oriental Bay is the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club. This community of sailing and rowing enthusiasts began in 1840. By the 1870s, they were regularly sponsoring regattas. In 1883, the yachtsmen formed the Port Nicholson Yacht Club (its Royal charter was granted in 1921). This lead to the establishment of the New Zealand Yachting Association in 1891. In 1905, they built the Clyde Quay Boat Harbour (now capable of mooring 72 boats). During World War II, this marina was occupied by the U. S. Navy. In 1958, one of the war-time buildings was converted into this clubhouse. Since being refurbished in 1987, it houses the yacht club and a sailing academy. In 2015, Coene’s Bar & Eatery was added. The restaurant’s name honors Edgar J Coene, the commander of the U. S. Pacific Fleet who occupied the site during the war.

103 Oriental Parade, Oriental Bay, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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19 Freyberg Pool at Oriental Bay in Wellington, New Zealand

Freyberg Pool & Fitness Centre is your destination for fun, relaxation and exercise. In addition to the 110 foot indoor swimming pool, the facilities include a spa, sauna, steam room and well-equipped gym. Club Active membership or day passes are available. Next door is Wellington Ocean Sports Centre. Operated by the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, they offer programs for kayaking, paddleboarding, windsurfing plus sailing lessons.

139 Oriental Parade, Oriental Bay, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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20 Freyberg Beach at Oriental Bay in Wellington, New Zealand

You will not take many steps along Oriental Parade’s scenic, seaside promenade before realizing why this area is a hotbed of summertime activity. Especially popular for swimming, sunning and lounging away a gorgeous day is Freyberg Beach and its neighbor, Oriental Bay Beach. These shorelines were created by importing 22,000 tons of sand. They are dog-friendly and wheelchair accessible. Amenities include a playground, picnic area, waterfront benches, restrooms and a pier. There are also walking, cycling and rollerblading paths. In the center of Oriental Bay is Carter Memorial Fountain. It sprays water 53 feet into the air.

162 Oriental Parade, Oriental Bay, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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21 Boat Café at Oriental Bay in Wellington, New Zealand

There are plenty of places to grab a snack at eateries along Oriental Parade. The most unique option is Boat Café moored at the end of Freyberg Wharf. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks along with captivating views of Oriental Bay. The tug was built in Scotland in 1958 and was named Aucklander while operating in Auckland, New Zealand. When it retired here in 1986, it was renamed Tapuhi II.

139A Oriental Parade, Oriental Bay, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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22 St Gerard’s Church and Monastery in Wellington, New Zealand

Perched atop Mount Victoria on a cliff overlooking Oriental Bay is St Gerard’s Church and Monastery. On the right is the church commissioned by the Redemptorists order of Catholic priests. The Gothic Revival style was created by prominent architect John Sydney Swan. The church is dedicated to Gerard Majella, an 18th century Italian brother. Saint Gerard was canonized in 1904, two years before the church was finished. The adjoining monastery was designed by Frederick de Jersey Clere to create a seamless structure. The brothers took occupancy in 1932. In 1990, the church and monastery were purchased by the Institute for World Evangelisation. ICPE Mission uses the Category 1 NZ Heritage facility as a Catholic training and retreat center.

75 Hawker St, Mount Victoria, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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23 Ban Shark Finning Mural in Wellington, New Zealand

Shark finning is the barbaric practice of catching a shark, cutting off its seven fins and throwing the fish back into the sea where it drowns. The $1.2 billion dollar industry harvests over 70 million sharks a year. The fins are sold as a delicacy for shark fin soup. This is banned in most countries but not in New Zealand. In an effort to support the New Zealand Shark Alliance’s lobbying to change the laws, artists BMD created this 165 by 20 foot mural in 2013. The 190 sharks painted on the side of a parking lot represent the number of sharks killed worldwide every minute. The campaign worked. In October of 2014, shark finning became illegal in New Zealand.

100 Cable St, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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24 Circa Theatre in Wellington, New Zealand

In 1881, the Westport Coal Company was founded in Dunedin. By the end of the century, it became New Zealand’s largest. In 1916, they retained Francis Penty to design a brick masonry building for their Wellington office. Unfortunately, by 1948, the coal industry declined and was then nationalized leading to the demise of Westport Coal. The building was demolished in 1994 except for the façade. It was moved to the square along Cable Street shared with the Museum of New Zealand. That same year, the Circa Theatre created their stages behind the historic exterior. This professional acting company – founded by Carolyn Henwood in 1975 – annually presents an exciting schedule of New Zealand plays, musicals and dance.

1 Taranaki St, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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25 Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington, New Zealand

Michael Fowler Centre is the city’s main auditorium and convention center. It is also an outstanding concert hall plus home base to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. NZSO was founded in 1946 and became a crown entity of the country’s government in 2004. This facility next to Civic Square was named after Sir Michael Fowler. He was an architect but also the Mayor of Wellington from 1974 until retiring in 1983, the year Michael Fowler Centre opened.

111 Wakefield St, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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26 Civic Square in Wellington, New Zealand

The longer you spend in Wellington, the more you appreciate how it was constructed as a series of unique and pleasing sections. An exquisite example is Civic Square created in 1991. The inviting plaza is defined by bricks in a herringbone pattern. Encircling it are city landmarks including Town Hall, Central Library, City Gallery Wellington and Michael Fowler Centre in the background. Especially captivating are the public artworks such as 15 sculpted palm trees. The divided pyramid is Te Aho a Māui. This 1991 sculpture by Rewi Thompson represents a split mountain and the legend of how Māui caught a fish so large it became the North Island of Aotearoa (the Māori name for New Zealand).

Civic Square, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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27 Wellington Town Hall at Civic Square in Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington Town Hall was built in 1904 for the City Council and Mayor offices. This Neo-Renaissance structure designed by Joshua Charlesworth was also a concert hall. That ended in 1973 when the ceiling began crumbling during a Kenny Rogers performance. The event led to the construction of its adjacent replacement; Michael Fowler Centre opened a decade later. Town Hall’s auditorium and theater were subsequently restored in 1992 in conjunction with building Civic Square. Beginning in 2013, Town Hall is undergoing extensive earthquake strengthening with plans to reopen in 2021.

109 Wakefield St, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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28 Wellington Central Library at Civic Square in Wellington, New Zealand

Since Wellington Central Libraries were founded in 1893, it has grown to 12 branches with over a million books, magazines, videos and CDs. Beginning in 1940, the Central Library was located in the Art Deco building next door. When this new, three-story library opened in 1991, its old address became the City Gallery Wellington. The contemporary art museum hosts frequently-changing exhibitions plus lectures and education programs. These two structures anchor sides of Civic Square.

65 Victoria St, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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29 Old Bank Arcade in Wellington, New Zealand

In 1861, the Bank of New Zealand was founded in Auckland and established a branch in Wellington the following year. Forty years later, architect Thomas Turnbull was hired to construct BNZ’s Wellington headquarters on this wedge-shaped property along Lambton Quay. After the bank moved in 1985, the building slipped into disrepair until fully renovated in 1999. Then the historic Edwardian Baroque building reopened as the Old Bank Shopping Arcade. The shopping center features a collection of boutique retailers along two floors of the richly-appointed interior.

233 – 237 Lambton Quay, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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30 Old Bank Arcade Clock in Wellington, New Zealand

A visual treat awaits you when visiting the Old Bank Arcade. On the hour, this marvelous musical clock opens like pedestals of a blooming flower to reveal historic scenes of Wellington’s Harbour and Plimmer’s Ark. This 1848 Canadian sailing ship was originally called Inconstant. After being shipwrecked in Willington Harbour in 1849, John Plimmer converted the hull into a wharf and renamed it Plimmer’s Ark. During an 1855 earthquake, the waterfront expanded and the ship’s remains became landlocked. It was then buried under the foundation of the Bank of New Zealand in 1901. The hull was rediscovered in 1997. The salvaged ship can be seen beneath glass within the Bank Vaults of the Old Bank Arcade.

233 – 237 Lambton Quay, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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31 Cable Car to Botanic Garden in Wellington, New Zealand

An iconic experience when visiting New Zealand’s capital city is a ride on the Wellington Cable Car. The funicular began on the drawing board of James Fulton in 1899 while he was designing the suburb of Kelburn located on a hill overlooking the city. The steam-powered railway made its first trip in 1902. It became electrical in 1933 and was replaced with new cars in 1978.

280 Lambton Quay, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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32 Cable Car Tracks to Botanic Garden in Wellington, New Zealand

Every ten minutes, the Wellington Cable Car leaves the station on Lambton Quay and begins its short ascent up 2,000 feet of track. Along the way are stops at Talavera and Salamanca. These are hop-off points for the locals. Most of the million annual tourists who take the scenic journey exit at Kelburn in order to explore Wellington Botanic Garden.

280 Lambton Quay, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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33 Kelburn Lookout at Botanic Garden in Wellington, New Zealand

After departing the Wellington Cable Car, your first activity should be taking a few steps from the terminal and standing on the observation platform called Kelburn Lookout. The scenery is amazing. Below your feet is Wellington Central. In the distance is Wellington Harbour and Mount Victoria. Breathtaking!

1A Upland Rd, Kelburn, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
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34 Cable Car Museum at Botanic Garden in Wellington, New Zealand

For its first 75 years, the Wellington Cable Car relied on elaborate engines and wheels to start, pull and stop its cables. The funicular initially used a stationary steam engine. An electrical winding wheel was used from 1930 until 1978. You can see this second winding apparatus in the Cable Car Museum at Kelburn Station. Also displayed in the old winding house are two vintage cable cars. Grip Car No.3 became operational in 1905. The Relentless Red Rattler gave scenic yet noisy rides from the 1950s until 1978. There are other fascinating exhibits plus films about the cable car in this free museum.

1A Upland Rd, Kelburn, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
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35 Carter Observatory at Botanic Garden in Wellington, New Zealand

Charles Carter was a 19th century construction contractor from England who had a successful career in Wellington. Upon his death in 1896, his riches were gifted to the New Zealand Institute (now called Royal Society Te Apārangi) with the stipulation they build an observatory. This planetarium opened in 1941 near today’s Cable Car Museum. Originally purposed for astronomical research, it shifted focus to educating about space. In 2015, it was renamed the Space Place at Carter Observatory. The digital films, interactive telescope and exhibits explain the universe starting with the Big Bang nearly 14 billion years ago.

40 Salamanca Rd, Kelburn, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
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36 Botanic Garden Walkways in Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington Botanic Garden contains 62 acres of indigenous and non-native trees and plants. Since it was established in 1868 by the New Zealand Institute, this Garden of National Significance has delighted locals and tourists. From the Kelburn Cable Car Station, you can follow a short, circular path or walk down a series of trails back to Wellington Central. During your easy stroll, you will encounter different themed gardens on multiple terraces. This is the Succulent Garden on Myrtle Way. A few more steps along the William Wakefield Way is the Rock Garden.

Treehouse Visitor Centre, 101 Glenmore St, Kelburn, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
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37 Treehouse at Botanic Garden in Wellington, New Zealand

About halfway through the Wellington Botanic Garden is the Treehouse. This is the Education and Environment Centre. This suspended facility doubles as a visitor centre. Step inside to learn more about the garden from the informative displays and exhibits. Step onto the outdoor platform for a terrific aerial perspective of the gardens and trails.

Treehouse Visitor Centre, 101 Glenmore St, Kelburn, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
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38 Seasonal Flower Beds at Botanic Garden in Wellington, New Zealand

Founders’ Entrance is Wellington Botanic Gardens’ main gate on Glenmore Street. If you are walking downhill, this will be your initial exit. Just before it is the Seasonal Flower Beds. This garden is visually exceptional with a lovely fragrance. Have a seat among the sculpted bushes. Examine the small boy with doves in the center of Joy Fountain. They were craved by Alex R Fraser from Hinuera stone. The ornamental bronze frogs around the basin spray water from their mouths. The benefactor for Joy Fountain was Martin James Kilgour. His gift was unveiled in 1946.

Hicks Park, Glenmore St, Kelburn, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
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39 Lady Norwood Rose Garden at Botanic Garden in Wellington, New Zealand

After leaving the main gate of Wellington Botanic Gardens, walk a short distance along Glenmore Street and reenter at the Centennial Entrance. You will soon arrive at the Lady Norwood Rose Garden. Among the 110 flower beds are over 300 varieties of roses. Take your time meandering through the garden’s geometric design. Then visit the Begonia House. This greenhouse has more flowers and plants plus a gift shop and the Picnic Café. This rose garden is named after the wife of Sir Charles Norwood, the initial owner of Dominion Motors and former councilman and mayor of Wellington. It seems fitting Mrs. Norwood’s first name was Rosina.

101 Glenmore St, Kelburn, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
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40 Seddon Memorial at Bolton Street Cemetery in Wellington, New Zealand

Botanic Garden Walkway comes to an end at Bolton Street Cemetery. This main graveyard from 1845 until 1892 was separated into Anglican, Jewish and public sections. The gravestones display the names of prominent mid-19th century citizens, soldiers and politicians. This granite monument honors one of Wellington’s most influential residents. Englishmen Richard Seddon immigrated to New Zealand as a teenager in search of gold. He quickly rose in politics. From 1879 until 1906, he was a member of New Zealand Parliament. For 13 years, Seddon was the longest serving Prime Minister of New Zealand. When he died, a legislative bill was required to bury him in the closed Bolton Street Cemetery. In the 1960s, when the Wellington Urban Motorway was designed to cut through the historic graveyard, the city displaced 3,700 graves.

Seddon Memorial, Kinross St, Kelburn, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
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41 Reserve Bank of New Zealand in Wellington, New Zealand

New Zealand did not have a central bank until 1934. Prior to then, currency was printed by a network of trading banks. The Reserve Bank initially issued the New Zealand pound, a reflection of its British origins. In 1967, the currency became the New Zealand dollar. Locals call their money the Kiwi. Since 1989, the Reserve Bank has had broad power including monetary policy and oversight of the financial sector. You can learn more history about New Zealand’s economy and money by visiting this Reserve Bank Museum.

2 The Terrace, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
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42 Wellington Cathedral of St Paul in Wellington, New Zealand

Two St Paul Churches were built in the city before the Anglican Diocese of Wellington was founded in 1858. Nearly one hundred years later, the cornerstone for Wellington Cathedral of St Paul was laid by Queen Elizabeth. Cecil Wood, John Bentley and Miles Warren were commissioned successively as architects to manage the cathedral’s three construction phases. The entire project extended from 1938 until 1998. The tower was added in 1984 and contains 14 bells. The salmon-colored structure is built of reinforced concrete to make the cathedral resistant to earthquakes.

45 Molesworth St, Thorndon, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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43 Parliamentary Library among Parliament Buildings in Wellington, New Zealand

Architect Thomas Turnbull is credited with the exquisite Victorian Gothic design of the New Zealand Parliamentary Library. The impetus for constructing the library was Richard Seddon while he was New Zealand’s 15th Prime Minister. Seddon laid the foundation stone in 1898. The Parliamentary Library was finished the following year, making it the oldest government structure among the Parliament Buildings. The facility is still used by Members of Parliament and their staff.

Parliamentary Library, Molesworth St, Pipitea, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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44 Parliament House among Parliament Buildings in Wellington, New Zealand

New Zealand Parliament was founded in 1854. The government is a constitutional monarchy. The governor-general represents the head of state who is the United Kingdom’s monarch. Inside the Parliament House are the chambers for the legislative branch called the House of Representatives. This consists of 120 Members of Parliament (MPs) plus a Speaker and a Leader of the House. The Neoclassical Parliament House designed by John Campbell has been part of the Parliament Buildings complex on Lambton Quay since it was finished in 1922.

Parliament House, Molesworth St, Pipitea, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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45 The Beehive among Parliament Buildings in Wellington, New Zealand

The architectural standout on the 11 acre Parliament Buildings campus is the Executive Wing. Within its ten stories are offices for the Executive branch including New Zealand’s Prime minister plus cabinet ministers. Locals loving call it The Beehive because its round and tapered design by Sir Basil Spence resembles a traditional skep bee house. The iconic structure was topped with copper before opening in 1977.

1 Molesworth St, Pipitea, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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46 Turnbull House in Wellington, New Zealand

The Turnbull House is the former residence of Alexander Horsburgh Turnbull. A merchant by trade, his passion was books. By the time he died in 1918 at age 49, he had leveraged his family inheritance to assemble over 55,000 books, manuscripts and artifacts with a focus on New Zealand. He designed this brick home in 1916 to accommodate up to 60,000 books. This Alexander Turnbull Collection became the nucleus for the New Zealand National Library.

11 Bowen St, Wellington 6160, New Zealand
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47 Wellington Cenotaph among Parliament Buildings in Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington Citizens’ War Memorial is adjacent to the Parliament Buildings. Also called the Wellington Cenotaph, the memorial initially honored the fallen soldiers from World Wars I when it was finished in 1931 and dedicated the following year on Anzac Day. The Carrara marble tribute was later extended to the soldiers of World War II. The winged equestrian sculpture on top was the work of Richard Oliver Gross. The tall structure in the background is the Bowen House. The 22 story government building is part of the parliamentary complex and offices the New Zealand Prime Minister and other Members of Parliament.

Lambton Quay & Bowen St, Pipitea, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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48 Old Government Buildings in Wellington, New Zealand

In 1841, the British Empire allowed New Zealand to separate from New South Wales (Australia) and become a Crown Colony. This made them dependent on a United Kingdom appointed colonial governor. In 1852, the British Empire created seven self-governing colonies in Australasia. This encompassed six colonies in Australia and one in New Zealand. This resulted in New Zealand having both a central and six provincial governments. These were later subdivided into nine provinces. When this system become unmanageable for effective government, the Centralists pushed for the abolition of the provinces in 1876. The surviving central democracy was headquartered in this Renaissance Revival building on Lambton Quay which had opened in the same month. What is remarkable about the Old Government Buildings is they were built entirely of kauri, a Tasmanian hardwood. This is the world’s second largest timber building. After the government moved to the Parliament Buildings, the Old Government Buildings were restored. Since 1996, they have been part of the Pipitea Campus for the Victoria University of Wellington. Inside is the law school (Faculty of Law).

15 Lambton Quay, Pipitea, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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49 Supreme Court Building in Wellington, New Zealand

The Judiciary is one of three branches of New Zealand’s government. Since 2004, the highest level of the four courts is the Supreme Court. In 2010, the five members of New Zealand’s Supreme Court moved into this colorful contemporary structure featuring a lattice cladding of recycled bronze. The abstract screen represents pohutakawa and rata trees. The courthouse is adjacent to the Old High Court Building built in 1881 with a Neo-Palladian design. The two facades create a sharp visual contrast. Interestingly, there is a separate court system that deals with Māori land.

85 Lambton Quay, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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50 Public Trust Building in Wellington, New Zealand

The Public Trust of New Zealand was founded in 1873 as a government agency to manage estate assets when the beneficiary was a minor or otherwise needed financial assistance. They occupied this Edwardian Baroque building from 1909 until 1982. It was designed by John Campbell. This Scottish architect is best remembered for creating extraordinary government landmarks in Dunedin located across Cook Strait from Wellington in the South Island. After the Public Trust Building underwent extensive reconstruction following the 2013 Seddon earthquake, it became the offices for the Ministry for Culture and Heritage in 2015.

131-135 Lambton Quay, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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51 Woman of Words Sculpture in Wellington, New Zealand

Kathleen Beauchamp was born in Wellington in 1888 and had a brilliant yet brief career (she died at 34 tuberculosis) writing short stories and journal entries under the pseudonym Katherine Mansfield. Many of her works mirrored her conflicts in New Zealand, troubled romances plus her empathy for the repressed Māori people. In 2013, sculptor Virginia King created this tribute titled, “Woman of Words.” The artist used a laser to cut Kathleen Mansfield’s quotes into the stainless steel female figure.

151 Lambton Quay, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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