Wellington Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Wellington

Wellington, jokingly referred to as "Windy Wellington" for the strong winds blowing across the Cook Strait, is also said to be the “coolest little capital in the world”. The list of the local sights drawing tourists to the city in their thousands is long – from Lambton Quay with its iconic red Wellington Cable Car to Te Papa (the Museum of New Zealand) to Civic Square, home to the City Gallery, the National Theatre for Children and many other cool places of interest. To see them all (well, almost) in one go, try and follow this orientation walk!
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Wellington Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Wellington Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: New Zealand » Wellington (See other walking tours in Wellington)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 16
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 Km or 3.5 Miles
Author: australia
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Civic Square
  • City Gallery
  • Albatross Fountain
  • Frank Kitts Park
  • Old St Paul's
  • Wellington Cathedral of St. Paul
  • Parliament Buildings
  • Beehive
  • Lambton Quay
  • Cable Car
  • Old Bank Shopping Arcade
  • St Mary of the Angels
  • Willis Street
  • Courtenay Place
  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Cuba Street
Civic Square

1) Civic Square (must see)

Civic Square is an open public area at the centre of Wellington. It marks the boundary between the financial district to the north and the entertainment district to the south.

The square is surrounded by council buildings each with a distinctive architectural style: the town hall and council offices, the Michael Fowler Centre, the central library, the City-to-Sea bridge which Capital E is part of is home to the National Theatre for Children and creative technology experiences, and the City Gallery. The main tiled area is the roof to the underground library car park.

The first real plans for the Civic Square date back to 1944.

The project was completed in 1992.
Sight description based on wikipedia
City Gallery

2) City Gallery

The City Gallery in Wellington was first opened in 1980 in a different building. Built in 1940 in an Art Deco style, the gallery's current building originally housed the Wellington Public Library. The Gallery is set in the Civic Square. There you will see the best exhibitions of contemporary New Zealand art, as well as work done by international artists. The art displayed in its temporary exhibitions is extraordinary, and both challenges and captivates the visitors.

Operation hours: Daily 10 am — 5 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Albatross Fountain

3) Albatross Fountain (must see)

The Albatross fountain is to be found by the waterfront. In the evening, when the sun goes down, the fountain is transformed as it is brightly illuminated. The creator of the Albatross is Tanya Ashken, who started out on her creative journey at the age of 7. She is well known internationally for her sculptures of marine creatures and birds.
Frank Kitts Park

4) Frank Kitts Park (must see)

Along the Wellington waterfront there is the fascinating Frank Kitts Park. The park is named in the honor of Frank Kitts, the longest-serving Mayor of Wellington, New Zealand, having held the post from 1956 to 1974. The park is always crowded with people just walking or who are here with their children, who can play in the safe playground situated within the park. The park is also home to a number of wonderful artistic sculptures, the most impressive of them is the water sculpture "The Albatross" by Tanya Ashken.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Old St Paul's

5) Old St Paul's (must see)

One of New Zealand’s greatest heritage places, Old St Paul’s was built by the Anglican Church between 1865 and 1866 on what was originally the site of Pipitea Pā, a Māori settlement on Wellington’s waterfront.

Constructed from fine native timbers, the church is a handsome sight from the outside. Inside, it is simply breathtaking. Spectacular lighting gives the interior a rosy glow, enriching the appearance of brass fittings, stained glass windows and exquisitely embroidered furnishings.

As well as being one of the best examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the world, the former cathedral is a repository of many interesting stories, including that of its own survival. Having served the Anglican community up to the 1960s, it was threatened with demolition after the new St Paul’s was built one block away. Saved, restored and reopened to the public, today Old St Paul’s stands not only as a place of spiritual significance and a venue for special events (including weddings and concerts) but also as a reminder of one of New Zealand's great heritage battles.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-4pm (except on some public holidays and for special events)
Sight description based on wikipedia
Wellington Cathedral of St. Paul

6) Wellington Cathedral of St. Paul (must see)

St Paul's Cathedral is the cathedral church of the Anglican Diocese of Wellington and the seat of its bishop of Wellington.

Work began in 1955, and was completed in 1998. It was constructed in reinforced concrete due to the effects of the 1931 Napier earthquake, making other choices impractical. It began functioning as a cathedral in 1964.

The wooden Lady Chapel is on the "north" side of the cathedral. The Lady Chapel was moved to Wellington Cathedral from its original site in Paraparaumu in 1990.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Parliament Buildings

7) Parliament Buildings (must see)

Situated on a 45,000 square meter site, The Parliament Buildings house the New Zealand Parliament. The Parliament Buildings include: the Parliament House, the Executive Wing, the Parliamentary Library and Bowen House. An earlier wooden Parliament House was destroyed by fire in 1907 along with all other parliament buildings except the library. A competition to find a replacement design was announced by Prime Minister Joseph Ward in February 1911 and 33 designs were entered. The winning design, by Government Architect John Campbell, was selected by Colonel Vernon, former Government Architect for New South Wales. As another of Campbell's entries won fourth place, the actual design is a combination of both entries. The design was divided into two stages. The first half, a Neoclassical building, contained both chambers and the second half Bellamy's and a new Gothic Revival library to replace the existing one.

Despite cost concerns, Prime Minister William Massey let construction of the first stage begin in 1914, but without much of the roof ornamentation or the roof domes. The outbreak of World War I created labour and material shortages that made construction difficult. Although the building was unfinished, Members of Parliament moved into it in 1918 to avoid having to use the old, cramped Government House (which housed the Governor). In 1922, the first stage was completed (the second stage was never built). The building was finally officially opened in 1995 by Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand, after its comprehensive strengthening and refurbishment.

The land intended for the second stage of Parliament House is occupied by the Executive Wing. This building conceived by British architect Sir Basil Spence in 1964, largely designed by the Ministry of Works, was officially opened by Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand in 1977. The government moved into the building in 1979. Due to its distinctive shape, it is referred to colloquially as "The Beehive".

Completed in 1899, the Parliamentary Library is the oldest of the buildings. It stands to the north of Parliament House (to its right, looking from the front). The library was designed in Gothic revival style and was fire resistant, being constructed of masonry. The third story of the design was not built to save money. It had an iron fire-door separating the library from the main entrance section. This saved the library from the fire of 1907 which destroyed the rest of the (wooden) parliament buildings. Coincidentally, exactly the same thing happened in Ottawa in 1916—with fire doors saving the Library when the Centre Block of the Canadian Parliament burned. Like Parliament House the library was strengthened and refurbished in the 1990s. It still houses Parliament's library.

8) Beehive (must see)

After the scottish architect Sir Basil Spence provided the original conceptual design of the Beehive in 1964, it was built in stages between 1969 and 1979. The Beehive is the common name for the Executive Wing of the New Zealand Parliament Buildings. The building is ten stories (72 m) high and has four floors below street level. The core of the entrance foyer is decorated with marble floors, stainless steel mesh wall panels, and a translucent glass ceiling. The Beehive's brown roof is made from 20 tonnes of hand-welded and seamed copper. It has developed a naturally weathered appearance. The building is extensively decorated with New Zealand art. On the inner wall of the Banquet Hall is a large mural by John Drawbridge portraying the atmosphere and the sky over New Zealand.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Lambton Quay

9) Lambton Quay (must see)

Lambton Quay (once known as "Beach Street") is the heart of the central business district of Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. Lambton Quay is named after John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham, the first chairman of directors of the New Zealand Company.
Lambton Quay, Willis Street and Courtenay Place form what is known locally as the Golden Mile. Much of the city's retail trade is now centered a little further south around Manners Street and Cuba Street, but Lambton Quay remains a major commercial thoroughfare. It is also of administrative significance, with the New Zealand Parliament Buildings towards the northern end. The Wellington cenotaph is also located at this end, next to Parliament.
The Wellington Cable Car runs from Lambton Quay to the top of the Botanic Garden.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Cable Car

10) Cable Car (must see)

The Wellington Cable Car is a funicular railway, rising 120 m over a length of 612 m. It is widely recognised as a symbol of Wellington.

The Cable Car has two cars, which start from opposite ends of the line and pass in the middle. They are attached to each other by a 30-mm diameter cable, supported by 120 rollers, which runs round a pulley at the top of the hill.

The normal operating speed is 18 km/h (5 m/s), with a maximum passenger load of around 100 (30 seated, 70 standing).

The Cable Car is used by slightly under a million people each year. In the mornings and evenings, it is used by commuters travelling between Kelburn and the city; at other times of the day, it is used by people travelling between the city and the Wellington Botanic Garden, by students attending Victoria University and living in nearby student hostels, and by many tourists, especially during summer.

Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 7am – 10 pm; Saturday: 8:30 am – 10 pm; Sunday & Public Holidays: 9 am – 9 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Old Bank Shopping Arcade

11) Old Bank Shopping Arcade

Old Bank Shopping Arcade is located in a building that was previously occupied by the Bank of New Zealand. The buildings original design belong to Thomas Turnbull. Opened in 1999, the arcade has exclusive boutiques, many of them owned by local New Zealand designers. You will also see an animated clock that tells the historical story of Plimmer's Ark. There are cafes and restaurants too.
Sight description based on wikipedia
St Mary of the Angels

12) St Mary of the Angels (must see)

St Mary of the Angels is a Catholic church.

The building, is classified as a "Category I" ("places of 'special or outstanding historical or cultural heritage significance or value'") historic place by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

The current building was opened in 1922, and is the third church built on the Boulcott Street site.

Architecturally, the design is traditional Gothic of French influence. Also innovative in that it is 'the first occasion ferro-concrete was used for a church of Gothic design'. It is built of reinforced concrete and brick with a timber roof supported by concrete arches with steel tie rods.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Willis Street

13) Willis Street

Willis Street is located at the heart of the central business district of Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. Willis Street is one of the four 'quarters' of downtown Wellington, the others being centered on the Cuba Quarter, Courtenay Place and Lambton Quay.
The two tallest buildings in Wellington, the State Insurance Building (formerly known as BNZ Tower) and the Majestic Centre, are both located on Willis Street. There are a large number of heritage buildings registered by Heritage New Zealand in Willis Street, including St John's Church and Henry Pollen House.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Courtenay Place

14) Courtenay Place

Courtenay Place is the main street of the Courtenay Quarter in the Wellington, New Zealand inner-city district of Te Aro. It is known for its entertainment and nightlife. Many restaurants are open late and most of the bars stay open until dawn. It contains offices, accommodation, tourist shopping, entertainment, food, art and buskers offering many genres of free performance. Pedestrian traffic is substantial around the clock. Lambton Quay, Willis Street and Courtenay Place form what is known locally as the Golden Mile. Every two years Courtenay Place is home to many of the New Zealand International Arts Festival events.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

15) Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (must see)

The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is the national museum and art gallery of New Zealand. It is branded and commonly known as Te Papa and Our Place; "Te Papa Tongarewa" is broadly translatable as "the place of treasures of this land".

The 36,000 square meter building opened in 1998.

The History Collection includes many dresses and textiles, the oldest of which date back to the sixteenth century The History Collection also includes the New Zealand Post Archive with around 20,000 stamps and related objects.

The cultural collections include collections on photography, taonga Māori (Māori cultural treasures), and pacific cultures.

The long term exhibitions of cultural objects focus on New Zealand history, Māori culture and New Zealand's natural world. The hands-on and interactive exhibitions focus on engaging particularly young visitors and include both indoor areas and out-door areas built and planted for the purpose.

All permanent exhibitions are free.

Opening hours: Daily 10 am − 6 pm (except Christmas Day).
Sight description based on wikipedia
Cuba Street

16) Cuba Street (must see)

Cuba Street is one of the most prominent streets in Wellington, New Zealand. The section between Dixon Street and Ghuznee Street is a pedestrian mall. It is one of the more bohemian areas of Wellington, and is the home to an eclectic collection of cafes, op-shops, boutique, small fashion stores, art galleries, and music shops. It is the center of one of the four 'quarters' of downtown Wellington, the Cuba Quarter. The northern end is more commercial, with an abundance of retail stores, cafes and restaurants. While the southern end (known as the 'top' of Cuba Street, or upper Cuba) is more sparsely occupied but has seen a revival in recent years.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Wellington, New Zealand

Create Your Own Walk in Wellington

Create Your Own Walk in Wellington

Creating your own self-guided walk in Wellington is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Landmarks Walking Tour in Wellington

Landmarks Walking Tour in Wellington

New Zealand is a set of islands in the Pacific Ocean that was isolated from the rest of the world for many centuries. Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, is a city rich in history and culture as it is populated by immigrants from around the world. This self-guided tour will lead you through some of the outstanding landmarks of this magnificent city.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 Km or 3.5 Miles
Historical Churches Walking Tour

Historical Churches Walking Tour

When immigrants first arrived in New Zealand they brought their beliefs. Most of the first settlers were Christians. The second church built in Wellington, in 1855, still stands today and is a great historic site. This self-guided tour will help you explore the churches and other religious monuments of Wellington.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 Km or 3 Miles