New Zealand With Kids - Day Seven, Wellington

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

A lovely sunny day today and lovely temps, we headed out early and caught the Wellington cable car up the hill to the absolutely magnificent Botanical Gardens where we first admired the amazing view over the harbour.

We then wandered the hilly landscape between gorgeous themed gardens – begonia, ferns, roses, camellia, and the most magical, fairylike hydrangea valley nestled amongst the trees. I have honestly never seen anything like it; I was totally smitten and this is one of the finest gardens I've ever seen.

The kids enjoyed the fabulous play equipment then we went to the Carter Observatory to see a 40 minute film presented on the domed ceiling of the theatre. Absolutely brilliant – one of the best doco films I’ve seen. Not only totally fascinating and intriguing and mind boggling in terms of content, but also in terms of the way it was presented – the graphics and animation were quite extraordinary and the kids were also mesmerised.

At the end of the film, the guide (herself an astronomer) took us through a look at the Wellington night sky and explained how to find certain stars and constellations. Loved it. We then wandered around the impressive observatory displays. A visit to this observatory is really great value for money – about NZ$46 for a family.

Afterwards we checked out the little Cable Car Museum (free!) right at the top of the cable car run back into town.

We then grabbed an ice cream, some traditional NZ lollies (including their famed chocolate fish) and a fantastic coffee and jumped on the cable car again for the city.

Back on flat land, we wandered through the Wellington Museum City and Sea (free!) which has an interactive exhibition of art to attract the young, and some really superb historical accounts of life on the sea and the formation of Wellington, with astonishing and very beautiful displays of ships and interactive displays. One thing the New Zealanders do extraordinarily well is create stunning museums.

There was also a really cool interactive art display for children, where the kids enjoyed being creative. The museum has put out a complementary activity book for kids to take home for just $2, which was absolutely superb.

After some serious culture-busting, Husband took the kids to the park where they bungy bounced and played, while I took a walk around Civic Square (where you'll find the Art Gallery (closed) and the Library, as well as Capital E for kids (which seemed ot have nothing going on, which was strange for school holidays).

I then took in the superlative Te Papa Museum, which was hosting a European Masters exhibition.

There are 6 floors of bliss here with ever-changing exhibits and permanent ones showcasing the formation of New Zealand and loads of Maori treasure. There’s also a really great section outlining how the earth is formed, and a wonderful natural world section.

I just loved it and think it's one of the best museums I've ever seen. Children would adore it - there is so much for them to do and see and enjoy. It’s truly one of the most amazing museums and art galleries I’ve seen and... it's free!

I met the fam back at the apartment where we had a little rest then headed back down to the harbour to shop at a groovy inner city supermarket – New World – where we got a quiche for dinner. We then went for a drink at the Brew House again where we played a roudy round of cards.

New Zealand with Kids - Day Three, Auckland
New Zealand with Kids - Day Four, Rotorua
New Zealand with Kids - Day Five, Rotorua
New Zealand with Kids - Day Six, Lake Taupo, Palmerston North, Wellington
New Zealand with Kids - Day Eight, Wellington
New Zealand with Kids - Day Nine, Inter Islander ferry, Picton, Blenheim, Christchurch
New Zealand with Kids - Day Ten, Christchurch
New Zealand with Kids - Day Eleven, Christchurch
New Zealand with Kids - Day Twelve, Queenstown
New Zealand with Kids - Day Thirteen, Queenstown
New Zealand with Kids - Day Fourteen, Queenstown, Glenorchy, Arrowtown, Wanaka

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