Lonely Planet review
Te Papa is the city's 'must-see' attraction, and for reasons well beyond the fact that it's NZ's national museum. It's highly interactive, fun, and full of surprises. Aptly, ‘Te Papa Tongarewa’ loosely translates as ‘treasure box’. The riches inside include an amazing collection of Maori artefacts and the museum’s own colourful marae; natural history and environment exhibitions; Pacific and NZ history galleries; national art collection, and themed hands-on ‘discovery centres’ for children. Exhibitions occupy impressive gallery spaces with a high-tech twist (eg motion-simulator rides and a house shaking through an earthquake). Big-name, temporary exhibitions incur an admission fee. You could spend a day exploring Te Papa’s six floors but still not see it all. To cut to the chase, head to the information desk on level two. For exhibition highlights and to get your bearings, the one-hour ‘Introducing Te Papa’ tour ($14) is a good idea; tours leave from the info desk at 10.15am, noon and 2pm daily in winter, more frequently in summer. Two cafes and two gift shops complete the Te Papa experience, one which could well take a couple of visits.