Yesterday, I spent a few hours in the museum. Today though, I decided to enjoy the rest of it.
Te Papa is a large museum in the heart of Wellington with over 6 storeys. As an added bonus, it’s completely free. The first level is an animal/plant exhibit, an earthquake section, and an exhibition on Gallipoli. The second floor is about the impact people have had on the land, the third is on the Maori and Pacific Islanders culture, the fourth looks at modern history, such as immigration, technology and politics, while the fifth/sixth are dedicated to New Zealand art.
I’ll say this, I’ve paid money to get into museums that weren’t this good. It’s incredibly well put together. Yesterday I spent the better part of 90 minutes just wandering around the animal area. Their biggest prize is a giant, colossal squid that was caught by fisherman at the North Pole. It’s the largest that’s ever been found, and is currently encased in a kind of gel case so it can stay on display.
They also have a great earthquake area, including a house where you can feel a small simulation of what it would be like, and some accounts of earthquake stories.
The second floor is mostly looking at the damage caused since the western settlers arrived – although it also has a very entertaining video of life from a sheep’s eye view, while the third has a section on the Waitangi Treaty, and stories of immigration from all the ethnic minorities and refuges who have made their way to New Zealand.
The fourth is the most chaotic. There’s a lot of smaller exhibits, looking at things like abortion and gay rights, as well as looking at what it was like for Maori’s growing up in the recent century.
Finally, the top floor is the art floors. Which are surprisingly interactive – there’s a section for sketching your own face, another for playing with light spectrums, and a giant wall covered in magnetic words to make poems and words. I have to drag myself away after about an hour to actually look at some of the paintings.
All in all, I spend at least 5 hours at the museum, and it’s well worth it. I’m still astonished I didn’t have to pay an entry fee. This is a must do in Wellington.
When I finally head out, my last stop is the Victoria Mount, which is just 25 minutes’ walk from my hostel. It’s a small mountain, but it’s covered in forest and plants. Several scenes form Lord of the Rings were actually filmed in this area.
My boots are definitely not the best choice for this – they’re designed for streets and not dirt pathways, but I managed to make my way up to the top to see the view.
Most of Wellington is built on the hills, so what you see is mostly the city, but on the South side, you see the ocean heading out towards the Southern Island. Considering it’s not that difficult a walk, it’s a great view for limited effort, so long as you have the footwear to get down steep mud. I end up wandering around the base as well looking for anywhere that might look familiar, but fail and head on back to the hostel when darkness hit. To be honest though, the green forest is tranquil considering it’s in the middle of a city, that any part of it could be middle earth.
Tomorrow I’m going to wander round the beach front and just explore the city before I head back to Auckland on an all day bus on the 9th so that I’m back in time to start work. Been an expensive trip, but well worth it.