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About Wellington

New Zealand's capital and cruise port Wellington, is blessed with a wonderful setting, overlooking a glittering harbour filled with bobbing sailing boats.

Behind the gleaming modern skyscrapers of its centre, you will find the city's history well preserved in some outstanding old buildings. Embark on one of our cruises to Wellington and visit the second-largest wooden building in the world, the old Government Building - which was built in 1876.

To see New Zealand's story brought most vividly to life, your Wellington cruise tours include a visit the Te Papa Museum, a multi-level extravaganza of hands-on learning where you can explore a Maori meeting house, take a virtual reality bungee jump or even experience an earthquake.

When Wellington cruises have so much to offer, make time, too, to enjoy lunch with a view on the city's lively waterfront, then take a four minute ride in the Kelburn cable car to see the marvellous views from the top of Mount Victoria.

 

Shore excursions in Wellington

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Forest, Flowers and Funicular

Activity medium

Duration: 3½ hours

Visit New Zealand’s only gardens and forest reserve dedicated to native plants and explore the famed Lady Norwood Rose Garden.

Enjoy a guided tour of Otari-Wilton’s Bush, New Zealand’s only botanical gardens and forest reserve dedicated solely to native plants and animals; it was also once a Maori hunting site. Absorb the sights as you walk through the lush New Zealand forest composed of original and regenerating conifers, to the main attraction, the Canopy Walkway. This tree-top walk enables you to stroll across a 65 foot deep ravine on a stable footbridge to reach the main plant collections area, whilst providing the unique opportunity to see the life from the top of the forest.

After your forest walk, board the bright-red funicular railway for the short ride to Kelburn where your coach will be waiting to take you to Wellington’s 54-acre Botanic Gardens. The gardens encompass both native bush and exotic gardens and the centrepiece is the Lady Norwood Rose Garden. This formal garden boasts over 1,200 varieties of roses. There are approximately 300 modern varieties, 78 climbing roses, and 700 patio species as well as begonias, ferns, bougainvillea, hibiscus, frangipani and gardenias.

The return route affords dramatic views of the city, the harbour and your ship.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach, funicular and on foot. There is approximately 1 hour of total walking over flat and sloping gravel paths, therefore comfortable, flat and enclosed shoes are recommended.

Lord of the Rings and Weta Workshop

Activity medium

Duration: 3½ hours

Join a Lord of the Rings expert guide and discover how the magic of the rings was created.

Begin with an overview of Wellington, New Zealand’s creative capital and the southernmost capital city in the world. Wellington's best lookout is atop Mt Victoria, offering 360° views of the city and its keyhole harbour.

Your drive will continue to where the filming of The Lord of the Rings first began. Take a leisurely walk through the picturesque forest of the Outer Shire, where Frodo and the Hobbits started their journey. Many scenes were filmed here, including the ‘Race to the Ferry’ and the famous ‘Get off the Road’ scene.

Next, you’ll drive to Miramar to visit the Weta Workshop. A behind the scenes glimpse of the magic of Weta offers a fascinating insight into the creativity that goes on within the walls of this custom built facility. The story of the creative process is told as you are guided by a member of the talented Weta Workshop crew. A 25 minute screening will show you 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.

Your return drive will take you via Evans Bay and Oriental Bay for stunning views of Wellington City and the harbour.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by urban bus and on foot. Photography is not permitted inside the Weta Workshop. Please note that due to legal requirements, no film sets remain at the locations. This tour involves around 1 hour of walking over varying terrain, including uneven and inclined footpaths. Flat, comfortable shoes are recommended.

Matiu Sommes Island

Activity high

Duration: 4¼ hours

Discover the beauty of Matiu Sommes Island, which affords fabulous views stretching across to Wellington Harbour.

Join your guide for the transfer to Brandon Street, where you’ll take a short walk to the ferry terminal. Once on board the ferry, relax and enjoy the 25 minute ride across to Matiu Sommes Island.

Upon arrival, your guide will take you on a walking tour of this delightfully tranquil island and sanctuary for wildlife. As the name suggests Matiu Sommes Island has a rich Maori and European history. Once a traditional site of Te Whanganui-a-Tara Maori, the island became a quarantine station, an internment camp and a military defence position.

It now seeks to protect and preserve New Zealand’s native flora and fauna and is home to rare native birds including North Island robins, fluttering shearwaters and kakariki, a colony of little blue penguins. It also has 6 species of native reptiles including the mysterious tuatara. During your walk, your guide will bring the island’s history alive and make a quest to find some of these shy wild creatures.

Your tour will end with the return ferry ride to Wellington and walk and shuttle transfer back to the pier.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by urban bus, ferry and on foot. There is around 2 hours of walking over relatively flat terrain, with one short but slightly steep incline to the island’s summit. Flat, comfortable walking shoes are essential. Please take a bottle of water, a hat and sun protection. It is advisable to take a rain jacket in case of adverse weather. Please note that passengers will join the shuttle bus to Brandon Street and take a 10 minute walk to the ferry terminal. Animal and bird sightings cannot be guaranteed.

Seal Coast Safari

Activity mediumRefreshments included

Duration: 3 hours

Discover Wellington’s wild and rugged south coast on a fascinating 4x4 adventure that visits a colony of fur seals.

Enjoy the rugged panorama of Wellington’s craggy coastline as your 4x4 vehicle passes the ancient Red Rocks, and on to the Leaning Lighthouse at Tongue Point. On the beach at Tongue Point, you will be able to see the colony of fur seals and resident bird life.

Your guide will be available to explain the seals’ life-cycles and mating habits, whilst you view these fascinating marine mammals up close in their natural habitat. During your visit to the colony, refreshments will be served.

Your journey takes you back over the hills of Wellington via the Brooklyn Wind Turbine. Enjoy spectacular views over the capital, as well as the distant mountains of the South Island, the sparkling Tasman Sea and the azure Pacific Ocean.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by 4x4 vehicle and on foot. This excursion is not suitable for passengers with injuries or conditions, which may be affected by the bumpy ride. Pregnant women and infants may not participate. The route involves narrow, winding roads. It is necessary to walk over rocks on the beach to access the seal colony therefore comfortable, non-slip shoes are recommended. There are no public conveniences en route.

The Storm Coast

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 4 hours

Take a scenic drive along Wellington’s wreck-strewn Storm Coast and see dramatic views at Pencarrow Station.

This spectacular drive takes you all the way to Pencarrow Station and beautiful Wellington Harbour’s easternmost point. The Storm Coast scenic route follows the harbour shoreline passing Petone, where Wellington’s first settlers landed. As you drive along this dramatic coastline, you will see quaint coastal villages, bays and hear tales of shipwrecks. View Pencarrow Station, one of the earliest settled sheep and cattle stations in the Wellington area. Here, you’ll enjoy a farm dog demonstration, before continuing on to Wellington’s hidden lakes, New Zealand’s oldest lighthouse and historic Maori sites.

One of Wellington’s best-kept secrets is Pencarrow Lodge. The Lodge sits near the entrance to Wellington Harbour and offers spectacular vistas across Cook Strait to the South Island’s Kaikoura Ranges. Savour these panoramic views whilst enjoying refreshments of tea, coffee and snacks.

During the return drive to the ship, if time permits, there will be a short stop en route at the lovely Days Bay, for you to enjoy some free time.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by urban bus and on foot. There is approximately 40 minutes of total walking, which is leisurely over flat terrain, however 30 minutes is at guests own discretion. Comfortable shoes are recommended.

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