New Zealand's capital is, arguably, the country's most cosmopolitan metropolis. It's world-class Te Papa Tongarewa-Museum of New Zealand is a don't-miss attraction, and the burgeoning film industry led, of course, by the Lord of the Rings extravaganzas has injected new life into the local arts scene. Attractive and compact enough to be explored easily on foot, Wellington is a booming destination. Modern high-rise buildings gaze over Port Nicholson, surely one of the finest natural anchorages in the world. View more
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Get acquainted with the essential features of New Zealand's lively capital during this half-day excursion. Begin with a drive along Oriental Bay and stop to admire the splendid view over the city and harbour.
Proceed with the drive through Lambton Quay, Wellington's main business and shopping district. Here, board the cable car for a short ride up to Kelburn. The coach waits at the top to take you next to the Botanical Gardens.
Lady Norwood Gardens
Lady Norwood Rose Gardens boasts over 100 kinds of roses at the height of the season. Continue the sightseeing drive past New Zealand's parliamentary complex, easily recognised by the distinct edifice of The Beehive, which has become the architectural symbol of the country. On the opposite side stands the old government building, one of the largest all-wooden buildings in the world
This tour then concludes back at the ship.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of leisurely walking, with a few steps to climb. It is suitable for guests with limited mobility and those who utilise a wheelchair; however, guests must be able to embark and disembark the coach via the bus steps. At the Botanical Gardens, this is not a guided tour. Order of sites seen may vary.
Enjoy an off-road adventure into some of Wellington's most beautiful scenery along the beaches, over rocks and farmland to fabulous views of Cook Strait and the famous Red Rocks.
Created over 210 million years ago by an undersea volcano, these twisted iron oxide rocks are steeped in Mâori myths. You'll continue along until you reach Tongue Point, home to 600 native fur seals.
As your guide leads you to the best spot for pictures he'll share stories of these heart-warming mammals. Nearby is the Leaning Lighthouse of Wellington. Built in 1915, the decommissioned 65-foot tall tower was one of New Zealand's first automated lighthouses and, yes, it does lean a little.
After refreshments, you'll board your 4WD once again for the ride back to the ship. En-route you'll climb through Devil's Gate, a foreboding rock formation that offers breathtaking views before passing through Owhiro Bay.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking for approximately 50 metres (54 yards) with 10 steps at the lookout point. It involves driving off-road and over rocky ground; the ride may be bumpy at times. This tour is not suitable for guests with neck or back problems, limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. The drive to Tongue Point is approximately 90 minutes and travel is in remote areas with no toilet facilities. Participation is very limited; guests must book early to avoid disappointment. Although the wildlife mentioned above is generally seen on this excursion, their cooperation cannot be guaranteed. Tour sequence can vary. This half-day safari offers a unique view of the rugged beauty of the South Coast where a seal colony is situated.
Discover fresh tastes in New Zealand's café capital on this exclusive tour as you are introduced to the city's local flavours, products, and people. Wellington is said to have more bars and restaurants per capita than New York City and the locals are passionate about their award-winning cuisine and delicious wines.
After a short transfer from the pier to the city, offering a brief glimpse of the Parliament and Old St. Paul's buildings, make your way to a top Wellington restaurant to enjoy a seasonal 2-course lunch with matched New Zealand wines.
Afterwards, stroll behind the scenes of some of the local's favourite Wellington food places with a personal guide. Taste hidden culinary treasures and meet some of the people behind some of the city's best food. Sample some regional cheeses, chocolates, fresh fruits, and other interesting flavours, including indigenous ingredients.
Next, visit Kura, an indigenous art and craft gallery to sample manuka and pohutukawa honeys, and then to Moore Wilson's Fresh where local chefs shop for fresh produce, cheeses, meat and seafood. Sample their delicious range of cheeses, fruits and other products.
Please note: This tour requires an extensive amount of walking, about one mile (a kilometre and a half), at a somewhat leisurely pace. We recommend wearing comfortable shoes. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. Participation is extremely limited; we suggest you book early to avoid disappointment. The order of sites visited may vary.
Explore Wellington's connection with the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy during this memorable excursion to the locations and settings where many of the scenes were filmed. Your guide with knowledge of Wellington and the movies and their production will provide behind-the-scenes insight to where the filming first began.
Mt. Victoria Lookout
Depart the pier for the short drive to Mt. Victoria Lookout. This is Wellington's best vantage point with 360° views of the city and harbour.
Next precede to the film locations located only 10-minutes away. Take a gentle stroll through the picturesque forest of the 'Outer Shire' where Frodo and the Hobbits began their journey. Many scenes were filmed here including the 'Race to the Ferry' and the famous 'Get off the Road' scene. Learn how the films were made while visiting scenes and locations right in the heart of Wellington City.
Travelling to Miramar you'll have the exclusive opportunity to visit "Weta Studios - The Weta Workshop". This experience offers a peek into the magic of Weta and the many films they have worked on. Visitors are given an insight into the movies Weta is best known for as well as given an introduction to processes and creative and innovative thinking that goes on within the walls of this custom built facility. This movie based visitor experience provides a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse into the workings of Weta Workshop. The story of the creative process is told and guided by a member of the talented Weta Workshop crew from the workshop floor using the props, models and weapons they have helped make for the movies. They may even reveal some of the secrets behind the movie magic.
Exclusive video clips are displayed throughout the tour, as well as descriptive boards, describing the process used for different disciplines, such as Armour and Costumes, Weapons and Props, Creatures and Make-up FX, Miniatures and Models, Conceptual Art and Merchandise. The Exhibition space will also reveal the history of the Weta Workshop and what they have been doing over the past 20 years.
You will enjoy a private screening of a 25 minute behind-the-scenes film, which tells the story and history of the film industry in Wellington and features interviews with Weta Workshop co-founders Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, Tania Rodger and Jamie Selkirk.
Return to the cruise terminal, approximately 30-miuntes drive, via Evans Bay and Oriental Bay for stunning views of Wellington city and harbour.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking over unpaved tracks and lawns for approximately 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometres), with a few steps and inclines to negotiate at the lookout point and film locations. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. Lightweight, comfortable clothing and sun protection are recommended. None of the former movie sites visited on this tour were left standing; all were completely returned to their natural state. Space on this tour is very limited; we suggest you book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Experience Te Papa on a private basis and go straight to the heart of New Zealand's culture at this National Museum. A recognised world-leader in interactive and visitor focused museum experiences; Te Papa lets you experience the nation's art, culture and science - all in one breathtaking waterfront location.
Te Papa Museum
Depart the pier on the short, 15-minute drive to the museum. The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is the national museum and art gallery of New Zealand, located in Wellington. 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 museum's principles incorporate the concepts of unified collections; the narratives of culture and place; the idea of forum; the bicultural partnership between indigenous people (Tangata Whenua) and non-indigenous people (Tangata Tiritti); and an emphasis on diversity and multidisciplinary collaboration.
Be provided an escorted, private tour of the collections that are not on public display and that have rarely been seen. This hosted cultural tour will weave you through the Māori exhibition spaces at Te Papa to learn of their unique history through stories and objects. Then go behind the scenes to experience Māori taonga (treasures) close up and be provided an opportunity to engage with the collections staff.
Your tour will conclude with a return to the pier area and your ship.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of leisurely walking, with a few steps to climb. Total distance walked is approximately 250 metres (273 yards). It is not suitable for guests with limited mobility and those who utilise a wheelchair. Ngā Kawa (Back-of-house Protocols): Te Papa is internationally recognised for the way it works with the source communities of our collections and especially the indigenous Māori people of Aotearoa New Zealand. Our team has learned how to manage and care for Māori treasures in culturally appropriate ways. In fact, a full experience of the Māori collections includes understanding and following some of the basic cultural protocols and customs of the Māori people who are the Kaitiaki (cultural guardians) of these collections. For your visit we ask that you observe the following: In the Māori culture, members of the public, men and women, for their own well-being, may be restricted from entering the collection stores from time to time especially if they are experiencing physical challenges (for example, anyone who is unwell or frail and women who are pregnant) Children under sixteen are not permitted in the stores. All food and drinks should be left with your belongings at the Coat/Bag check on Level 1. At all times, stay close to your guide and in case of any emergency, please follow their instructions. Cameras, audio and video recorders are not permitted, unless approval is given by the guide. Water basins are situated outside each of the collection rooms for visitors upon exit of the stores; these are reserved for cultural cleansing after the tour.