Te Papa Tongarewa, the Museum of New Zealand, is one of the most popular cultural attractions in the country. Located in the capital city of Wellington, the museum (referred to simply as “Te Papa”) features exhibits on a range of subjects, such as the history of the country, the Maori culture, the geology of New Zealand, and just about everything else.
Te Papa is one of the main recommendations any tourist will get when visiting Wellington and I will reiterate that 100 times over. You can easily spend a full day–or multiple days–exploring the museum. Every exhibit is packed full of information, objects, art, pictures, and beautiful displays. With 6 levels to explore at Te Papa, it’s almost too much to process in just one visit!
I spent my first afternoon in Wellington at Te Papa, and after nearly 4 hours, I still only made my way up to level 3. I returned the next afternoon to see the rest of the exhibits, and I spent another 3 hours there. With so many different topics to learn about, you’ll never be bored.
Te Papa Museum
One of my favorite exhibits at Te Papa was “Awesome Forces”, which explores the geological forces that created New Zealand. I also enjoyed exploring the entire fourth level, which viewed the country from a more cultural perspective. There were exhibits focusing on daily life in New Zealand over the past century, as well as important cultural events. Honestly though, there wasn’t a single exhibit I didn’t enjoy.
Level 5 is an art gallery, featuring the national art collection. This section of the museum feels like its own place entirely. While most of the museum is quite open, the gallery feels quiet and far-removed. It’s a wonderful space to view the art on show.
Te Papa is the perfect place to bring kids and groups, but it’s also a lot of fun to explore on your own. It’s easy to while away the hours here. As if the incredible amount of (and quality of) exhibits isn’t enough to convince you, the Te Papa is a FREE museum. This is a place I’d gladly pay $20+ to see, but they won’t charge you. That being said, making a donation to the museum on your way in or out is appreciated and well worth it.
Tips for Visiting Te Papa:
- If you find yourself needing a break during your visit, head to the cafe on level 4 for a flat white and a snack.
- If you’re short on time, check out the map beforehand & decide which exhibits you’d most like to see.
- Head to the very top of the museum and check out the viewing deck to see the Wellington waterfront.
Location: 55 Cable St., right along the waterfront
Hours: Open every day from 10 am to 6 pm
Admission: Free entry
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