1. The Airport

When you visit Wellington and you are still on the plane taxing, make sure you pay close attention to the airport and have your camera ready. It is a complete artwork itself and it's like it has come out of the "Lord of the Rings" movie. A "Middle of Middle-Earth" sign will welcome you to the city, which unfortunately I captured last minute but lost the picture. Nevertheless, if you don't have the chance to see that, there are even more exciting things to see inside the airport.

2. Mount Victoria Lookout

It's definitely one of the must-visit places when in Wellington. The 360° view from the top makes it the best lookout point to enjoy the stunning panoramic views of Wellington city, including the harbour, the airport and the Town Belt amongst others.

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Just below the lookout on Mt Victoria stands a "Richard Byrd memorial". According to NZHistory site "Richard Byrd was an American polar explorer and aviator, who used New Zealand as a base for his Antarctic expeditions for 27 years and made his New Zealand base during his second Antarctic expedition (BAE2). He also visited the city during each of the expeditions he led under the auspices of the United States government. As a symbol of enduring friendship between the United States, land of his birth, and New Zealand, the country with which he was so closely associated in his great adventures. It consists of a monument in the form of a polar tent, the front of which is built up with rocks from Antarctica. At the centre of the monument is a bronze bust of Byrd made by Thomas V. Johnston. Byrd faces out of the polar tent towards the sea and Antarctica. Underneath the bust are three plaques which commemorate his achievements. It also commemorates Paul Siple, another Antarctic explorer who served in all of Byrd's expeditions."

3. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Te Papa is New Zealand's bold and innovative national museum and a recognised world leader in interactive and visitor-focused museum experiences. You have the opportunity to experience New Zealand's art, culture and science. -Free entry

This magnificent carving Waharoa, lies on the first floor at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington. It was curved by Neke Kapua and measures 6.6 x 1.2 metres.

  • Gallipoli: The scale of our war exhibition

An exhibition that you don't want to miss. It brings together the craftsmanship of Weta Workshop and the research and storytelling expertise. It is a great way for everyone to learn history and discover the Gallipoli campaign in World War I through the eyes and words of eight Anzacs who experienced first-hand the horrors of the battlefield.

The exhibition is available from April 2015 to April 2019.

"The giant sculptures took about 24,000 hours to create, along with cutting-edge technology that was used to create 3D maps and projections, miniatures, models, dioramas, and a range of interactive experiences that bring New Zealand's Gallipoli story to life." wellingtonnz.com

  • Te Marae exhibition

A top-rating international exhibition that represents the diverse art and visual culture of New Zealand's indigenous people, the Maori, by sharing their stories to the visitors. the meaning of the marae experience, and acts as a showcase for contemporary Māori art and design.

"Te Marae offers a singular experience within Te Papa and is also unique within Aotearoa (New Zealand). It is Te Papa’s response to the challenge of creating an authentic yet inclusive marae (communal meeting place) for the 21st century. The space comprises a marae ātea (place of encounter) and wharenui (meeting house) that cater for all the purposes such places customarily serve. It is also a living exhibition that interprets for visitors the meaning of the marae experience, and acts as a showcase for contemporary Māori art and design." tepapa.govt.nz

  • DreamWorks Animation: the exhibition

I was pretty lucky to have experienced the Dreamworks Animation exhibition which was accessible at Te Papa from December 12, 2015 to March 28, 2016. Visitors had the opportunity to discover the creative production from an early sketch, to the final completed project of classic animations like Kung Fu Panda, Shrek, Madagascar and How to Train Your Dragon. Original artworks and models, behind-the-scenes interviews and spectacular interactive experiences were also available.

  • Mountains to Sea exhibition

The last in line exhibition I visited at the Te Papa was “Mountains to Sea”. As you can figure out from the title, the exhibition presents New Zealand’s various creatures and plants from the high mountains to the deep seas.

Here is where you can find the the only colossal squid specimen on display in the world, weighing 495kg.

The colossal squid

The colossal squid

4. Wellington's Botanic Garden

Although I could spent a few more hours exploring every inch of the green, exotic forest, a quick visit to the "Botanic Garden" is ideal for some fresh air at a colourful floral oasis. 

5. The Weta Workshop

This is an essential visit for any fan -or not- of “The Lord of the Rings”, “Hobbit”, “Avatar”, “King Kong” and many more famous movies, when visiting New Zealand and actually do the complete tour.

Weta Workshop is a special effects and prop company based in Miramar, New Zealand, producing effects for television and film. Weta Workshop's output came to worldwide prominence with director Peter Jackson's film trilogy The Lord of the Rings, producing sets, costumes, armour, weapons, creatures and miniatures. (Wikipedia)

Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures during the tour, and I have also lost many pictures from my phone, but here are a few shots taken with my camera.

"The Larder" restaurant

Before or after you finish your Weta Workshop tour don’t forget to have a quick snack at the famous Larder restaurant. It is just around the corner from the Studios and is definitely worth the visit.

You can find out more about my trip to Wellington here.

location: Wellington, New Zealand