The Wellington Museum, a Victorian-era warehouse on the Wellington waterfront, showcases the city’s stories and secrets. Get a taste for life in early Wellington, and follow its development from tribal land to colonial port—filled with sailors and seafarers—to, as coined by Lonely Planet, the “coolest little capital in the world.”
Visit the Wellington Museum through a self-guided audio tour or with a city tour that includes the museum in its itinerary. Inside, step back into back-in-the-day Wellington through replicas of old buildings, such as the Bond Store warehouse and Jack’s Boathouse. Read and experience the region’s histories as told by British settlers and by the Maori, who first made this land their home.
Witness the TEVWahine tragedy, considered to be New Zealand’s worst maritime disaster, in a documentary made by renowned New Zealand filmmaker Gaylene Preston. And in the Attic, a steampunk space full of strange tales and curious artifacts, kids and the young at heart can get transported with the Nga Hau “time machine”—a video installation that brings you face-to-face with settlers from decades past.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Wellington Museum is ideal for history buffs and families with children.
General admission is free for all.
The museum’s FLUX space hosts theater, music, and other events.
Buy a souvenir—perhaps a book about the wharf’s most famous dog, Paddy the Wanderer—at the museum shop.
The entire museum is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. Manual wheelchairs are available to borrow.
How to Get There
Right on Queen’s Wharf, just behind TSB Bank Arena, the Wellington Museum is hard to miss. It’s a few minutes’ walk from most Wellington highlights, including the cable car and Te Papa Tongarewa (Museum of New Zealand), as well as the cruise ship terminal.
When to Get There
The museum is open from 10am to 5pm every day except December 25. It’s most popular in the early afternoon, so to avoid the crowds and explore the exhibits at your own pace, arrive at opening or a couple of hours before closing.
Discover Wellington Harbour’s History
Wellington Museum offers tours to visitors who want to have a richer experience and hear the best stories as told by a museum guide. All tours include food and drink; a popular option takes you across the harbor after a fish-and-chips lunch to visit Matiu/Somes Island, a tranquil reserve with a few stories of its own.
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- Wellington Outer Green Belt
- Weta Workshop
- City Gallery Wellington
- Wellington Cable Car
- Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa)
- New Zealand Parliament (Beehive)
- Space Place at Carter Observatory
- Cuba Street
- Old St. Paul's
- Wellington Botanic Garden
- Mt. Victoria Lookout
- CentrePort Wellington
- Zealandia Ecosanctuary
- Hutt Valley
- Red Rocks Reserve (Pariwhero)