Wellington is the capital city and third most populated urban area of New Zealand, after Auckland and Christchurch. It is at the southwestern tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range, and it is home to approximately 400,000 residents. The city was named after Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington and victor of the Battle of Waterloo. The Duke's title comes from the town of Wellington in the English county of Somerset. It is New Zealand's political center, housing Parliament, the head offices of all Government Ministries and Departments and the bulk of the foreign diplomatic missions in New Zealand.
A shuttle will pick you up at the pier, and after making other pick ups, will deliver you to the tour departure location downtown for your actual tour departure at 10:00 AM. On this excursion you will travel south within the Wellington central city. Your tour will first take you through the city as your guide points out landmarks and sites and their relevant history. You will see the famous Beehive and Parliament buildings, and Old Saint Paul's Cathedral. The cathedral is an example of 19th century Gothic Revival architecture adapted to colonial conditions and materials. It is constructed entirely from New Zealand native timbers, with stunning stained glass windows. The interior has been likened to the upturned hull of an Elizabethan galleon, with exposed curving trusses and kauri roof sarking. The flags displayed in the nave include the ensigns of the Royal Navy, the New Zealand Merchant Navy, and the United States Marine Corps Second Division, which was stationed in Wellington during World War II.
You will also make a short stop at Lady Norwood Rose Garden. Nestled in the heart of Wellington's Botanic Garden, this rose garden has more than 100 formal beds featuring over 3,000 roses. Among them is a heritage fountain presented by Lady Norwood, in whose honor the garden is named. The roses are a mixture of traditional and modern varieties in fabulous colors. They bloom spectacularly in the summertime, emitting a fragrance that fills the surrounding air. The glorious atmosphere of this garden makes it a must see while in Wellington for great photo opportunities.
On this excursion you will also have the option to take a ride down on Wellingtons iconic cable car at your own expense, for a nominal cost of approximately $3.50 US. The ride down takes approximately 5 minutes. Guests not wishing to ride the cable car will be driven down to the bottom to join the rest of the group before continuing on. Next, you will have a drive around rugged scenic bays.
Lastly, you will also be treated to 360-degree views of Wellington and the harbor from the lookout at Mount Victoria. Mount Victoria was used twice as a location in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
Please Note: At the end of the excursion, you will be given the option to be dropped off on Lambton Quay instead of your cruise ship for some free time on your own. If you choose this option, you will have to make your own way back to your cruise ship, an approximate 20 minute walk.
Reviewer: Louis Suarez
The our operator met us at the port and was very friendly and informative of Wellington. He did go out of his way to make sure we did not miss any of the sites. One stop was filled with several buses and he went on and returned so that we could return and view the old church, gardens and cable cars to the city. Would highly recommend this tour.
Of all our tours, this had the most additional guests which I was worried about at first due to the large bus, however, it was very comfortable and our tour guide was very informative and could navigate the tiny streets of Wellington beautifully. Wellington is a wonderful city and was a great surprise to us. Shore Excursions definitely knows the tours to select. On all our tours we saved a lot of money relative to what was offered by our cruise company. I highly recommend Shore Excursions for your land activities.
Reviewer: Denise Brown
This excursion was just the right length of time for a bus tour. The group was small and the description accurate. We enjoyed all of the neighborhoods and how people live on a very steep mountain and get to work everyday . The cable car was fun but again, the weather didn't allow for any views from Mount Victoria. The capitol city was lovely . I
Sites were good and the bus driver was terrific.
Reviewer: Carlene Dunn
We enjoyed this tour very much. Our guide was excellent. Because it was a beautiful day with no wind, she asked if we'd like to ride further - we all agreed and had a beautiful tour that lasted much longer than the original itinerary!