Image by Philip Game Getty Images
Yes, there's a mummy and dinosaur bones, but the highlights of this museum are more local and more recent. The Māori galleries contain some beautiful pounamu (greenstone) pieces, while Christchurch Street is an atmospheric walk through the colonial past. The reproduction of Fred & Myrtle's gloriously kitsch Paua Shell House embraces Kiwiana at its best, and kids will enjoy the interactive displays in the Discovery Centre (admission $2). Free guided tours (one hour) depart from the foyer at 3.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The 4th-floor cafe has lovely views of the gardens and surprisingly decent coffee.