Museum of Wellington City and Sea

A free museum for all the family that charts the role the sea played in shaping modern-day Wellington.

Visit Museum of Wellington City and Sea to look at maritime memorabilia, holographic reconstructions and interactive exhibits that tell of the people and events that shaped New Zealand’s capital city.

The Museum of Wellington City and Sea is housed in The Bond Store, a late 19th-century cargo warehouse. Its exhibits and shows are spread out over three themed floors. The ground floor covers Wellington in the 20th century, the first floor examines the city’s maritime history while the top floor features Wellington’s early years.

Start your visit at The Bond Store exhibit where you’ll wander among hessian sacks, wooden barrels and virtual vermin. The exhibit aims to recreate the original warehouse environment with authentic sounds and smells. Move onto the next gallery space for your first glimpse of The Tall Screen that rises up all three floors. It shows a series of short films about Wellington on a continuous loop.

Make your way up to the next level and view artifacts that chart Wellington’s maritime heritage. Step into the recreation of a captain’s cabin and let the children play at being seafarers in Jack’s Boathouse, an interactive area that includes a dingy and lots of maritime objects. Watch the documentary about the ferry disaster in Wellington harbor. The Wahine sank during a fierce storm in 1968 and 53 people lost their lives.

Finally, head up to the top level to see A Millennium Ago. This 12-minute video installation uses holographic actors and special effects to tell Māori creation legends.

Situated on Wellington’s waterfront, the Museum of Wellington City and Sea is just a two-minute walk from the cable car at Lambton Quay. If you are driving, there is pay parking under Queens Wharf and on the street.

The museum is open every day except Christmas Day. Entry is free.