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Tourist Places To Visit In Wellington Region
Wellington in New Zealand is as picturesque a capital as there can ever be. The Oriental Bay crowns its southern side while hugged by distant mountains on the other. There are many places of historic and cultural tourist value in Wellington that are unique to the city. There are as many tourist places to visit within the Wellington city, especially around the Central Business District, as there are at the outskirts. With a wide variety of options, there is no doubt you will find something appealing in the capital city.
Te Papa Tongarewa
Overlooking the waterfront of Wellington is the esteemed Te Papa Tongarewa, a museum dedicated to the long history of the city and New Zealand. The intriguing architecture adds flavour to the age-old artefacts that are on display here. The exhibits vary from fossils of flora and fauna to cultural items like photographs and stamps. The various exhibitions focus on highlighting Maori culture and other aspects of New Zealand's History. The museum is open every day and can be visited between 10 am and 6 pm.
The place where movie magic is born, the Weta Studio is responsible for some of our favourite films. This is a place where movie freaks can experience the efforts that go into set designing and costume making. You will be able to see up close props and miniatures form your favourite movies including Lord of the Rings series, Avatar and so on. There are a number of tours you can register for depending on what aspect of the studio you want to explore. The Weta Caves Workshop tour is one of the most popular. To make this trip even more magical, visit the Studio Gift Shop that sells everything from collectables and replicas to costumes and jewellery.
Old St. Paul’s
A short walk away from the gorgeous waterfronts sits a beautiful Gothic structure known as Old St. Paul’s. While the cathedral served for many years before the construction of the New St. Paul’s. Nevertheless, the church is frequently visited and is a popular wedding destination. It is best known for its breathtaking architecture that is very roomy; and the native timber that was used to construct it gives a warm glow to the interior of the cathedral that is only accentuated by the stained glass windows and remarkable acoustics.
The first of its kind, the Wellington Zoo is home to over 500 animals of all kinds and from all around the world. They are known for their conservational efforts and for their interactive environment. In the many hectares that constitute the zoo, they have predatory animals like lions and cheetahs, primates like chimpanzees, endangered species like the Malaysian sun bears birds like kiwis, ostriches, little penguins and many different varieties of reptiles. They even have many species of spiders! Interactive experiences include close encounters where you get to meet the zoo’s contact animals. At The Nest Te Kohanga, you get to watch animals being nurtured back to health. They offer a ton of other exciting services at the zoo.
A few miles off the coasts of Wellington is a nature reserve that is responsible for major bird restoration in the past century. Now that they have succeeded in reverting the landscape to native bushes, they have opened up to tourism. The tours can be guided or unguided and can be a day trip or include an overnight stay. The guided tours come with delicious meals and stay in a quaint cabin or tent. The island is the perfect place for bird watching. After restoration, many seabirds use the island for breeding. Over a 1000 little-spotted kiwis now inhabit the island. It is also home to a number of endangered birds.
Space Place in the Carter Observatory is a wing open to the public, to educate and entertain them with the mysteries of the night sky and outer space. They have exciting interactive galleries that have models of black holes and the likes. You can also learn about the importance of astronomy in the lives of the Maori and listen to their star-lores and about Matariki, the celestial event that indicates the Maori New Year. You can experience first hand what it feels like during a rocket launch! They also hold regular sky tours and other shows in their planetarium dome. The Thomas Cook telescope at the observatory is open to the public on some night, so if the night is clear make sure you use this opportunity to star gaze at the southern skies.
Wellington Botanical Garden
A short ride up Wellington’s iconic cable car is the quaint outskirts of Kelburn. The finest attraction here is the enormous botanical garden that is home to a wide variety of native and coniferous flora. Though initially it was designed to grow conifers, now it is home to all kinds of plants and trees. The Lady Norwood Rose Garden is a delight for those who love a romantic display of roses. Another attraction here is the gorgeous Victorian-style Begonia House. It is a great place to spend the afternoon and is close to other tourist attractions like the Carter Observatory.
Wellington’s Famed Wineries
Wellington is known for its wine. In fact, only an hour away from the Central District lies the famous wine trail of Wairarapa; a series of villages sprawled over lush green hills and valleys. The closest of them, Martinborough is known for its first class pinot noir. If you love the countryside then a cycling tour is highly recommended and if you can visit other towns further up like Gladstone and Masterton then you will see no experience can compete with this one. The yearly Wairarapa Wine Harvest Festival is the best time to visit the region.