Top 5 Wellington Attractions

Top 5 Wellington Attractions

City: Wellington
State: North Island
Country: New Zealand

The capital of New Zealand, Wellington is also the cultural center of the country, a hub of the film and special effects industry. Known for being the city with the strongest wind speeds, Wellington is widely regarded as one of the world's most livable cities. The area is notable for its large Maori and Pacific Island communities, the indigenous population of New Zealand.

Here are the Top 5 Tourist Attractions to visit in Wellington, all of which hold important cultural or historical significance. All these are permanent locations which can be visited and viewed at any time throughout the year.

1. Museum Of New Zealand / Te Papa Tongarewa


Museum Of New Zealand / Te Papa Tongarewa (Purchased Stock Image)

The Museum Of New Zealand / Te Papa Tongarewa in downtown Wellington is considered the country's national museum and art gallery. Broadly classified into 2 sections, focusing on the past, and the future respectively, the museum houses over 2 million artefacts, curated over 150 years. The exhibits span art and photography, history, Pacific cultures, natural environment (fauna and flora), and Maori culture. Highlights include the world's largest specimen of a rare colossal squid, Gallipoli The Scale Of Our War, and the treasured stone Pounamu.

2. Mount Victoria Lookout

Mount Victoria Lookout (Purchased Stock Image)

Rising 196 metres above sea level, the Mount Victoria Lookout offers stunning panoramic views of Wellington, the city, harbour, airport, and beyond. A fantastic hiking trail, the area also features the New Zealand National War Memorial, and a memorial to Richard Byrd, the American aviator who made the first flight over the South Pole. Part of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy was filmed here, in particular, the 'Escape from the Nazgul' scene where the frightened hobbits hid from the Black Riders in dense forest undergrowth, while on the road to Bree.

3. Space Place At Carter Observatory

Space Place At Carter Observatory (Purchased Stock Image)

Named after Charles Rooking Carter, the Space Place At Carter Observatory is the longest serving national observatory in New Zealand. Located at the top of the iconic Wellington Botanic Gardens, this space museum features a digital planetarium, and a exhibition centre showcasing the origin and scale of the universe, as well as the role of star clusters for the Maori and Polynesian cultures. Night viewings of the constellations via the Thomas Cooke telescope are held thrice weekly for the public.

4. Red Rocks Reserve

Red Rocks Reserve (Purchased Stock Image)

The Red Rocks Reserve is an outdoor coastal walk along the coast of Wellington, well known for its unique geology. Steeped in Maori history, the area was formed by undersea volcanic eruptions, with iron oxide giving the rocks their vibrant amber red colour hue. The place is also a gathering point for a New Zealand fur seal colony, comprised of bachelor males who were unsuccessful in courting a female. There are historic gun emplacements and lookouts spread along the coastline, and the clear night sky offers fantastic views of the stars. I even spotted a shooting star during my visit here!

5. Zealandia

Zealandia (Purchased Stock Image)

Formerly known as the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, the area now called Zealandia is a protected natural area in Wellington, New Zealand. A large self-contained habitat, it showcases natural, native flora and fauna, which may be difficult to spot elsewhere. These include plants like the towering evergreen rimu / dacrydium cupressinum, the large vibrant tree fuchsia / fuchsia excorticata, or the mousehole tree / ngaio / myoporum laetum whose leaves repel mosquitoes and sandflies. Rare native birds such as the flightless and noisy takahe, the sturdy and curious weka / Maori hen, the shy little spotted kiwi bird, or the honey eating stitchbird / hihi may be seen here.