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Wellington Sightseeing Guide - Visit notable attractions and landmarks

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The New Zealand capital has a wealth of heritage preserved in its ancient buildings and streets, more so than any other city in the country. A combination of its setting on a hillside overlooking the water and profusion of high profile government buildings and museums has led to this status.

The buildings in downtown Wellington display unique architecture in the form of the Beehive Building and the Old Government Building, which is entirely wooden. You can see them while traveling on the vintage Wellington Cable Car, which provides access to the stunning Wellington Botanic Garden.

Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa)

More so than any other museum in New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa is simply amazing and is one of the best museums you will ever visit. It features a good look at the Maoris and New Zealand of old, to modern, interactive exhibits and a neat café. You will find the museum on Cable Street not far from the waterfront.

Wellington Cable Car

One of the star attractions that all visitors should try out, the Wellington Cable Car takes you from town up to Kelburn and the Botanic Gardens. It is a historic tramway/funicular that goes from downtown to take in Kelburn Park, through tunnels and onto the Botanic Gardens and Carter Observatory. A popular route is to take the cable car up and walk back down via the Rose Garden.

Beehive Building

New Zealand's most distinctive building, the Beehive Building, is located along Lambton Quay amid the Parliament Buildings complex and is noted for its beehive shape. Designed by Sir Basil Spence in 1969, the modern-looking structure is typical of Wellington, helping it to achieve its unique look and feel. Visitors can tour the Beehive Building along with the others in the complex.

 

Wellington Botanic Garden

Located right over the city and accessible via cable car, the Wellington Botanic Garden is well over 100 years old and covers 62 acres. Plants and trees of the world are on display and the views from the cable car and on the way down to the Rose Garden are fine. November through May is the best time to see the gardens.

Dowse Art Museum

Dowse Art Museum is Wellington's finest arts and crafts institute, boasting a huge variety of New Zealand contemporary art. They have an excellent mobile program at the museum that shows off glassware, sculpture, pottery, photography and jewelry.

Old Government Building

One of the world's largest all-wood buildings, the Old Government Building in Lambton Quay is pretty unique as it looks like it's made of stone. It was built in Italian-Renaissance style and can be combined with a trip to the Beehive Building.

Plimmer's Ark

This ancient ship can be found underneath the Old Bank Arcade, Lambton Quay. The story goes that a bank was built over an ancient wreck, which was at the time a market, and it was rediscovered on renovating. Visitors can still see the timbers on foot by going through the bank's vault doors.

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