Dublin Attractions: Here’s What Not to Miss

If you are embarking on an adventure to Ireland, you will most likely be arriving in Dublin, which is an absolute treat. If possible, don’t make Dublin a quick stopover on your trip. This is a destination that is worthy of our time, energy, and quite frankly, all of your money!

Make sure you have enough time to explore the city and the many incredible Dublin attractions that are on offer! There truly is something for everyone to do, whether that is more cultural and historical or food-based fun, Dublin has everything on offer for you.

There are so many things and we have listed some of the top sights and Dublin attractions. Obviously, we wish we could list them all, but these are a few of our favourites!

As a quick must-know detail: The National MuseumNational Library and National Gallery are located very close to one another, near Government buildings in Dublin 2. All three are worth a visit, not least because they are free of charge! So add them to your to-do list right now.

Make sure to get the Dublin Pass with entry to over 35 attractions!

Top Dublin Attractions

Guinness Storehouse

The Guinness Storehouse retells the story of Dublin’s most famous drink. The exhibition is interesting and is self-guided. Price of entry includes a pint at the seventh floor Gravity Bar, which has good views over Dublin and forms the head of the giant pint of Guinness formed by the atrium. If the taste is a bit too bitter for you, ask for blackcurrant in your pint – but beware, this will upset the purists! Outside tourists will encounter horse drawn carriages for hire. Beware as they charge €30 for the short 2km ride back to the city centre.

Check availability and book your ticket to Guinness Storehouse below:

Old Jameson Distillery

This popular factory tour and whiskey tasting are a definite Dublin attraction. After the video, make sure you raise your hand because they pick four people to volunteer for taste testing later in the tour – which you will obviously want to do!

  • Adult €12.50, students and seniors €10, families €25.
  • Bow Street Distillery, Smithfield, Dublin,
  • Tel: 353 1 8072355.
  • Daily 9:30AM-6PM. Last tour at 5:30. Closed Good Friday and Christmas holidays.
  • www.jamesonwhiskey.com

National Museum of Ireland

The National Museum of Ireland truly is where Archaeology and History come together in the most unique and engaging manner. Other locations include: Decorative Arts & History at Collins Barrack, Benburb Street, Dublin 7. Natural History at Merrion Street, Dublin 2.

  • Free entrance.
  • Kildare Street, Dublin 2,
  • Tel: +353 1 6777444 (marketing@museum.ie, fax: +353 1 6777450),
  • Tu-Sat 10AM-5PM; Sun 2PM-5PM, closed Mon, Christmas Day and Good Friday.
  • www.museum.ie

If you are looking to explore local arts of Ireland, then this is where you need to be as this gallery holds the National collection of Irish and European Art. There really is no excuse to not visit this spot as it offers free entrance. Merrion Square West & Clare Street, Dublin 2 (DART Pearse Station will get you to within five minutes from the Gallery).

  • Tel: +353 1 6615133 (info@ngi.ie, fax: +353 1 6615372),
  • Mon-Sat 9:30AM-5:30PM (till 8:30PM on Thurs) and Sun 12PM-5:30PM. Closed Good Friday and Dec 24-26.
  • www.nationalgallery.ie

Irish Museum of Modern Art

This is where modern & contemporary art come to engage in an enthralling display of artistic expression. From the well-kept formal gardens & on-site café, there is plenty to keep you busy, entertained and full. Better yet, you can also expect free entrance.

Military Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8

  • Tel: +353 1 6129900 (info@imma.ie, fax: +353 1 612 9999),
  • Tu-Sat 10AM-5:30PM (opens 10:30AM on Wed), 12PM-5:30PM on Sun and Bank Holidays. Closed on Mon. Summer Late Opening until 8.00PM on Thursdays from 5 June – 18 September.
  • www.modernart.ie.

Old Library at Trinity College & Book of Kells

The gorgeously illustrated original manuscript of the Book of Kells is the main draw here, but the massive Long Hall of the Old library itself is equally, if not even more, impressive. Save yourself the trouble and just add it to your list of must-see Dublin attractions.

  • Adults €9, +€2 for optional guided tour. Students & seniors €8, children under 12 free. Family admission €18.
  • College Green, Dublin 2,
  • Tel: +353 1 896 2320 (adiffley@tcd.ie, fax: +353 1 896 2690),
  • Mon-Sat 9:30AM-5PM, Sun (May-Sept) 9:30AM (12PM Oct-Apr)-5:30PM. Closed Dec 23 – Jan 1.
  • www.tcd.ie

Dublin Castle

Did you know that the Dublin Castle is the former seat of British rule in Ireland? This historical site will grant you access to local history in an engaging and interesting way!

Chester Beatty Library

This exquisite library contains a wide selection of early books and manuscripts, including sacred texts and manuscripts. In fact, it even won European Museum of the Year 2002. So if that’s not enough reason to go and visit, we don’t know what is.

  • Free entry.
  • Dublin Castle, Dublin 2,
  • Tel: +353 1 407 0750 (info@cbl.ie, fax: +353 1 407 0760),
  • Sat 11AM-5PM, Sun 1PM-5PM, Mon-Fri 10AM-5PM (Closed on Mon from Oct-Apr).
  • www.cbl.ie

The Bram Stoker Museum

This is every horror-theme loving person’s type of museum as visitors get to enjoy a frightening tour through the life of Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula. It’s scary, filled with jump-scares and so much fun!

Christ Church Cathedral

Dating back to the 11th century, is the oldest building in Dublin, though it underwent a massive restoration in the 19th century. Particularly interesting is the crypt, which predates the cathedral.

Dublinia & the Viking World

This is a renowned heritage centre, located in central Dublin, at the heart of the medieval city. The exhibitions at Dublinia explore life as it was in the medieval city and the world of the Vikings. Note that discounted admission to the Christ Church Cathedral are available too.

  • Adults €6.25, children €3.75, student €5.25.
  • St. Michael’s Hill, Christchurch, Dublin 2,
  • Tel: +353 1 679 4611 (info@dublinia.ie),
  • March-Sept 10am-5pm, Oct-Feb 10am-4.15pm.
  • www.dublinia.ie

You probably wouldn’t think of these as typical Dublin attractions, but they’re worth it. At the sports headquarters, the 82,500 seat, state-of-the-art stadium, Croke Park. These sports are uniquely Irish. Hurling is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest field sport, with the ball (called a sliotar) reaching speeds above 130 kph. Gaelic football can best be described as a combination of soccer and rugby. To keep the sports “pure,” it maintains an amateur status, with each parish in Ireland having a team – the inter-county games are generally extremely well-supported, so you may have difficulty getting tickets for the bigger matches. Tours of the GAA museum and the stadium are also available, including a chance to try your hand at the sports themselves.

Kilmainham Gaol

The prison where the rebels from the 1916 Easter Rising were executed. It is located slightly outside the city centre and can be reached by local bus (78a). Access is limited to guided tours, which leave every 30 minutes and are very interesting. It is well worth a visit if you are in any way interested in history.

  • Adults: €5.30, senior and groups: €3.70, children and students: €2.10, family €11.50.
  • Inchicore Road, Kilmainham, Dublin 8.,
  • Tel: 353 1 4535984.
  • Open Apr-Sep every day 9:30AM-5PM, Oct-Mar M-Sa 9:30AM-4PM; Su 10AM-5PM.

Phoenix Park

The largest enclosed urban park in Europe. Includes a polo field and Dublin Zoo. The residences of the President of Ireland and the US Ambassador are situated in the park, but are not open to the public. If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the herd of wild fallow deer that inhabit the park!

Glasnevin Cemetery

Situated just two miles from the city centre, Glasnevin Cemetery is currently running a series of walking tours. These tours give a valuable insight into the final resting place of the men and women who have helped shape Ireland’s past and present. The walking tour last one and a half hours and visits the graves of Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Collins, Eamonn De Valera and many other graves of architectural and cultural interest.

  • Adults €5 and under 12 Free.
  • Finglas Road, Dublin 11 (O’connell St 140 or 40),
  • Tel: +353 (0)1 882 6550,
  • Tours: Everyday between 11.30 am and 2:30 pm
  • www.glasnevinmuseum.ie

Dublin Zoo

Located in Phoenix Park and dating to 1830, the Dublin Zoo is the largest in Ireland, and notable for its role in wildlife conservation efforts.

  • Adults: €15, students €12.50, Senior Citizens €12, children €10.50, family from €43.50 for 4 to €52 for 6.
  • Welington/Zoo road,
  • Tel: 353 1 4748900,
  • M-Sa 9:30AM-4PM in winter and 6.30PM in summer.
  • www.dublinzoo.ie

National Botanic Gardens

Leopardstown racecourse

Located in the southern suburb of Leopardstown/Foxrock, there are regular meetings throughout the year. There is a “Pay as you Play” golf course within the racecourse grounds, as well as bars, restaurants and a nightclub (Club 92).

  • €12.55, with reductions for students and OAPs.
  • Leopardstown, Dublin 18 (From Dublin city centre, follow the N11 south, turn right into the R113 (Leopardstown Road), the racecourse will be on your left),
  • Tel: +353 1 289 0500 (info@leopardstown.com, fax: +353 1 289 2634),
  • www.leopardstown.com.

Dublin Writers Museum

Located in an 18th century house, the museum is dedicated to Irish literature and the lives of individual Irish writers such as Shaw, Joyce, Yeats & Pearse.

  • Adults €7.25, children €4.55, family tickets €21. 18
  • Parnell Square,
  • Tel: 353 1 872 2077,
  • Mon-Sat 10AM-5PM, open until 6PM June-Aug. Sun and holidays 11AM-5PM.
  • www.writersmuseum.com

Gaiety Theatre

The oldest continually operating theatre in Dublin hosts popular musical shows, opera, ballet, dance and drama.

If you have limited time in the city and would like to do a quick tour, there are a few options that you could join all covering the top Dublin attractions. Discover a few options below:


Top Tourist Attractions in Macau, China

Situated on the southern coast of China, the city and region of Macau is a wonderfully diverse destination, attracting tourists from around the world.

Not only is the city on the UNESCO World Heritage List due to its unique Portuguese and Chinese architecture, but it’s also known as the Las Vegas of the East because of its vast array of gambling options—among the many other tourist attractions in Macau.

If taking a trip here, you’ll find plenty of things to do, whether it’s exploring the historical sites or enjoying playing on one of the city’s many slots machines.

Make sure you plan your trip in advance to get the most out of your visit. Here are just a few of the top Macau tourist spots to enjoy.

Top tourist attractions in Macau

Venetian Macao Casino

While Las Vegas may be considered the gambling capital in the western world, in Asia, Macau is by far the best place for those looking for a casino experience. Playing games such as poker, blackjack and slots are an increasingly popular form of entertainment and while many play casino games online, Macau’s gambling venues are the place to be for an evening of luxury and indulgence.

Set on the Cotai Strip, the Venetian Macao Casino is currently the largest casino and luxury hotel resort in the world, spread across 10,500,000 square feet of floor space. There are over 800 gambling tables on the floor and thousands of differently themed slot machines.

Opened in 2007, the Venetian is themed around Venice architecture and decor. For VIP guests and high rollers, there is the exclusive Paiza Club which has individual gaming rooms themed around Asian cities and a 24-hour dining space.

In addition, there are countless bars, restaurants and shops to explore inside the resort. A visit to the Venetian Macao should be planned as a day trip or overnight stay, to give yourself enough time to explore this magnificent attraction.

Nam Van Lake Cybernetic Fountain Show

The Cybernetic Fountain is a popular Macau tourist spot and not to be missed. It is the largest water feature in the whole of Asia with 86 waterspouts and the capability to shoot water 80 metres into the air.

Famous for its laser show, people gather to watch over 280 coloured spotlights glow and dance on the water in an astonishing performance. A series of cannons are also strategically placed to spray water in a coordinated rainbow.

The fountain shows are free for the public to watch, and extra special shows are put on at important times of the year, including Chinese New Year.

Studio City

Another glamorous entertainment resort in Macau can be found at Studio City, which has even more expansion plans underway. The resort has many different entertainment options, including the world’s highest Ferris wheel.

There is also a grand theatre that features The House of Magic, where many of the world’s most talented magicians go to perform. For fans of Batman, there is also the Dark Knight Rises 4D flight simulation ride.

The hotel has over 1,600 upscale rooms and, for guests in Star Tower, there is a private heated indoor pool and health club. One of the resort’s best features is its Tech-Based Entertainment (TBE) Park that centres around virtual reality tech as well as motion tracking and projection mapping.

In terms of dining options, there are a number of restaurants offering a huge range of different cuisines, from traditional Chinese dishes and Portuguese snacks to American style burgers and even a McDonalds.

A-Ma Temple

Temples are popular tourist attractions in Macau. And for visitors hoping to explore historical sites with great cultural significance, the A-Ma Temple is well worth a visit. The temple is the oldest in the city and is said to be the place where Macau’s name is derived from.

It is the temple to the sea goddess Mazu and is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within the grounds you will find a memorial arch, gate pavilion, Buddhist pavilion, prayer hall and hall of Guanyin. There is also the hall of benevolence which is thought to be the oldest part of the temple.

Taipa village

Another characterful Macau tourist spot is Taipa village. The village has influences from both Portugal and the Mediterranean, as well as traditional Chinese architecture. While you won’t find gaming venues here, there are a number of unique shops and dining options to explore between tours of the authentic heritage attractions.

Taipa was once known as a fishing village with most residents making their living from the fishing trade, you can find out more about its history at the Museum of Taipa and Coloane History. There is also the Tin Hau Temple and the Pak Tai Temple, both are small but full of rich history and are a place for quiet reflection and tribute offerings.

Taipa is easily accessible from other tourist spots in Macau, with direct walkways from both The Venetian Hotel and Galaxy Macau for your convenience.

The Biggest Tourist Attractions in Uganda

Uganda “The Pearl of Africa” is efficiently endowed with a variety of habitats plus corresponding flora and fauna with a diversity of attractions to act as a focus for tourist attractions making it the number one tourism destination in the whole of East Africa.

But, what the biggest tourist attractions in Uganda, that you absolutely CANNOT miss out on?

Keep reading to find out.

Biggest tourist attractions in Uganda

Below are some of the activities that visitors can take part in while in Uganda.

Gorilla Trekking

Almost half of the population of the rare Mountain Gorillas also referred to as “Man’s shy cousins” are found in Uganda. Gorilla trekking in Uganda is the number one tourist attraction in Uganda and a must do for every visitor to Uganda whether for the first time or not. In Uganda, the activity is done in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in South-Western Uganda.

Several volcanoes known as the Virungas run through the western section of the East African Rift Valley, forming part of the border between Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. These magnificent mountains are also a haven for the endangered Mountain gorillas hence the activity is also done in Rwanda and Congo.

Chimpanzees Tracking

Tracking the noisy Chimps is another one of the exciting tourist activities in Uganda. Chimpanzees are man’s closest relatives, they mainly communicate by drumming trees, screaming or hooting and are tracked down by following their unique sounds.

Chimpanzee tracking is done in Kibale Forest, Murchison Falls at Kaniyo Papidi and Queen Elizabeth National Park Kyambura Gorge area. An opportunity to watch the impressive chimps climbing, playing, mating, feeding, looking after their young, and responding to the presence of human beings. Plus spending a night in the Kibale jungle six meters up in a tree house.

The Mysterious Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha

A visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park should include the two hour drive to the Ishasha sector of the Park with its extraordinary tree climbing lions plus other wildlife that is found in the area. Besides Ishasha, these mysterious animals are found in only one other place which is the Lake Manyara region of Tanzania. 

Ishasha Plains with its tree climbing lions, its abundant wildlife, its scenery and unique lodging opportunities should not miss on your tour itinerary in East Africa.

Bird Watching 

Uganda has over 1,000 bird species recorded although it is just about the size of Great Britain. It is a transitional point of the Savannah of East Africa and the western rainforests, making it Africa’s absolute and thrilling birding destination.

With over 10% of the entire world bird species and almost half the bird species known on the African continent, it is the most stunning destination for bird watchers.

Uganda’s 10 most commonly sought after birds include the following; hoe bill stork, African green broadbill, Green-breasted pitta, Nahans francolin, brown chested pullover, Karamoja apalis, black bee eater, rwenzori turaco, red fronted anti pecker, purcell’s illadopsis. There are several guides with expertise in birding who are always ready to give you every detail about birds in East Africa.

Quad Biking

Quad biking is an exciting activity where tourists ride on motor bikes while exploring the destination of their choice, the activity is offered mainly at Bujjagali Falls on ”the great River Nile”  and does not need any experience. It is a four wheeled bike and can ride on all terrains and very suitable for all age groups. 

This is done down the length of the Nile close to the Bujjagali Falls. The exciting safari runs for a number of hours as you explore the beautiful countryside up to top view point. Free training is offered to those who cannot ride and it is done before the safari.

The various packages offered include: a full day, an evening, 3 hours, two hours exploration, and a one hour trip.

The activity is also available for game drives in Lake Mburo National Park where you are able to view game at a very close range and around the “Romantic” Sipi falls on Mount Elgon.

Wildlife Safaris

Tourist attractions in Uganda include; national parks, forest reserves, wildlife reserves, cultural heritage sites, specific natural features for example mountain peaks and gorges, areas of specific scenic interest like mountains and craters. Among the significant activities are launch/ boat trips on Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Park, game drives in Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo, Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley National Parks, plus nature walks.

Numerous trail-networks have been intended in most of the protected areas to cater for nature walks, you will enjoy the tranquility of the wild broken now and again by the charming bird melodies and the cool breeze blowing the leaves atop the tropical trees. Unlike other countries in Africa, the word “safari” in Uganda refers to a very close encounter with animals, people, nature and the environment. Ugandan safaris offer a direct, appropriate and uncontaminated experience with wildlife.

Mountaineering, Hiking and Volcano climbing

Many tourists have the desire to participate in activities that provide them with the challenge, thrill or intense experience. Some of these tourists want to test their physical skills in new or unusual ways with activities such as mountain climbing, hiking etc. 

Mountaineering on the snow capped Rwenzori Mountains also known as “Mountains of the moon”, hiking on Mount Elgon, “The world’s largest mountain caldera” and Volcano climbing in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

The Rwenzori Mountains are at the border of Uganda and Eastern Congo, they provide a charming variety of terrain (from Rainforest to high altitude glaciers). These mountains are not as famous as Kilimanjaro on account of there relative inaccessibility and the effect of rebel activity in the late 1990s, otherwise the area is currently safe and accessible for visitors. A multi-day trip to any of these Mountains is highly recommended for those in love with challenging activities.

White Water Rafting

Uganda offers the best white water rafting on the Mighty River Nile in Jinja as compared to any other place in Africa. This is a must do on your adventure trip to Africa.

Other Water sports include Boat ridescanoeingkayakingbungee jumping and swimming on the Nile and the various lakes within the country. The river is gifted with many water falls & rapids, making it a popular water rafting place in the world. There are various opportunities to swim, relax and observe the rich wildlife including the red-tailed monkeys and a variety of birds such as the fish eagle, numerous cormorants and otters.

Sport Fishing

For those who love the activity and those who want to experience it, Uganda is the place to be. With a third of the country being covered in water, Uganda offers the finest opportunities for sport fishing.

The most common fish caught is the Nile perch which weighs an average of 60Kgs although there is a recorded great catch that weighed 100Kgs. These are plentiful in Uganda’s largest Lake Victoria which is also the 2nd largest in Africa, and also in the mighty river Nile. Other species in the Nile include the ferocious fighter and the tilapia, while the tiger fish is unique to Lake Albert. The Murchison Falls is an additional destination for sport fishermen.

Tourist attractions in Uganda
Lake Albert, Uganda

City Tours in Uganda

Not all tourist attractions in Uganda include nature and the outdoors. This includes a trip around the capital area zone. The capital area encompasses Kampala (do a Kampala cultural tour), Entebbe and Jinja (do a Jinja tour) plus areas between them.

Here you get to see the Source of the Nile, Bujagali falls, Ziika forest, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Ssezibwa Falls, Kasubi Tombs, National Museum, Bahai Temple, Uganda Martyrs shrine, Rubaga and Namirembe Cathedrals, Entebbe Botanical and Zoological gardens, Uganda Wildlife Education Center, Theaters like Bat Valley Theater, National theater and Theater La Bonita, Nommo Art Gallery, Cinemas like Cineplex cinema, dancehalls and night clubs, Educational institutions like Makerere University, Namboole stadium, Conference centers, Shopping and marketing places like St. Balikudembe Market (Owino Market).

Cultural Tours in Uganda

Uganda as a country is well endowed with different ethnic groups and cultures hence visitors have the opportunity to explore a diversity of cultures from the cultural dress, food, dances and beliefs. A chance to visit the Batwa “Pygmies” a group of people who have lived most of their lives in the forest feeding on wild fruits and raw meat.

During the even years, the Opening of the circumcision season is on in Mbale for the Bamasaba, don’t miss the exciting Kadodi (Imbalu) dancers plus the real circumcision exercise including a trip to the romantic Sipi Falls and a tour of the Nyero rock paintings.

Ssese Islands trip

Lake Victoria is one of the main tourist attractions in Uganda. The Ssese Island Zone covers all the Islands within Lake Victoria in the territorial boundaries of Uganda. Here visitors enjoy activities such as; bird watching plus other forms of Eco-tourism, scenic viewing, boat rides, sport fishing, swimming and diving, sunset cruises.

Here, you will also find the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary where visitors can participate in the feeding of the chimpanzees, watch the animals play and most of all contribute to their well-being and overall conservation of the species.

Tourist attractions in Uganda
Lake Victoria in Uganda

Lake Bunyonyi Trip

Nature’s prime Island Lake Bunyonyi is the deepest Lake in Uganda approximately 6500ft deep, located in Kabale district also known as the Switzerland of Africa. The district is characterized by a cool climate best for a soothing Holiday.

Lake Bunyonyi is dotted with at least 20 small islands with amazing people and historical facts. Here, one can enjoy a weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city, the trip can be included on the itinerary to one of the major destinations or climaxed with a visit to the Batwa (Pygmies) & most of all an encounter with Man’s shy cousins, the gorillas.

Activities around Lake Bunyonyi include; Boat rides, Hiking, Bird watching, cultural visits. Bunyonyi locally means “many small birds.”

Camping Safaris in Uganda

Camping in the wild in Uganda is quite a great experience. Just a piece of cloth between you and the typical African night. A choir of nocturnal birds, insects, laughing hyenas and distant roaring lions lullabies you to sleep. Sitting around an open camp fire having a barbeque dinner with the skies bright over head is the real way of appreciating Africa’s magic. There are several campsites and camping facilitates in all our safari itineraries, to any tourist destination of your choice.


Wellington Attractions Not to Miss

Not many travelers know much about Wellington, but this picturesque town is packed with attractions.

We’ve rounded up the top Wellington attractions to keep you busy while visiting. You shouldn’t get bored in Wellington, New Zealand with these travel tips.

Wellington attractions, New Zealand
Wellington attractions, New Zealand

Related Read: Things To Do in Wellington for Under $5

Top Wellington attractions

Te Papa

The national museum. Good if you have children to entertain on a rainy day. But also without kids it’s definitely a highlight of Wellington. Free (except for the occasional special presentation).

Museum of Wellington City & Sea, Queens Wharf

A well-presented museum of the history of Wellington, including its maritime history. Free.

It is open 10AM-5PM every day except 25 December.

City Gallery, Civic Square

Lacks a permanent collection but runs a consistently avant-garde set of exhibits. It also has the excellent cafe Nikau attached to it. 

The Wellington Cable Car

From Lambton Quay (next to the McDonald’s), 04 472 2199. Open 7 days until 10PM. The easiest way to get a nice view of the city and harbor, the Cable Car runs on rails from Lambton Quay to the Botanic Garden in Kelburn every ten minutes. $2.50 one way, $4.50 return (Concession prices are available for children, students and senior citizens over 65).

Frank Kitts Park

A great place to wander around, with walls to climb, inline skates, and jet ski rental.

Karori Cemetery 

An interesting picnic spot.

Elmscourt 

An historic art deco apartment block on the corner of The Terrace and Abel Smith Street.

Oriental Parade

A new beach. However if you are not from somewhere really cold it is unlikely that it will be hot enough for you to be in desperate need for a swim. There is a spa pool (jacuzzi) in Freyberg Swimming pool (on Oriental Parade) which is inexpensive if you enjoy “people soup”.

Karori Wildlife Sanctuary

End of Waiapu Rd, (first left after the Karori Tunnel). 10AM-5PM (last entry 4PM) every day except 25 December. A predator-proof fence encloses an old water catchment area, forming a mainland island that provides a natural haven for endangered native birds, tuatara, and other indigenous flora and fauna, safe from introduced predators. By far the most convenient place in the country to see rare New Zealand wildlife.

Plimmer’s Ark

Under and in the Old Bank Arcade on the corner of Lambton Quay and Customhouse Quay – near Plimmer’s Steps. A hundred years ago a Bank was built on top of a wrecked ship that had been used as a market. When they renovated the building they discovered the ship’s timbers and preserved the remains in the building! Just take the escalator down through the bank vault doors. 

Parliament Buildings, the Beehive (or Executive Wing), and the Parliamentary Library.

The grounds of Parliament are open to the public. Known as the hill, Parliament grounds are at the foot of Molesworth and Bowen Streets, where they meet Lambton Quay.

Parliament House in Wellington, New Zealand
Parliament House in Wellington, New Zealand

National Library of New Zealand

Corner of Aitken and Molesworth Streets (across the road from the Cathedral and Parliament). The library regularly holds exhibitions.

Turnbull House, Bowen Street (just across the road from Parliament Buildings).

This imposing brick mansion now seems small and out of place amongst the surrounding high-rises.

The Old Government Buildings

With the cenotaph in the foreground and NZ Post headquarters behind. Old Government Buildings opposite Parliament at 15 Lambton Quay. This is the largest wooden building in the southern hemisphere and the second-largest in the world. It is now the home of Victoria University Law School.

Old St Paul’s (one block east of Parliament)

This was the Anglican center for decades. Superseded by the new cathedral north of Parliament, this one is popular for weddings and funerals.

Statues and sculptures

Statues and sculptures appear in some intriguing places around town. Famous prime ministers, memorials, and works of art have all been erected in the streets of Wellington.

Wellington Central Library, (in the city square, next to the information centre)

It’s huge with great places to sit and read or if you bring your laptop to connect home via one of the city’s paid-for wi-fi networks. Entry is free.

Matiu/Somes Island 

Out in the middle of the harbour, this island has its share of history. It was once a quarantine station for immigrants, and later (and more extensively) for animals. It was also an internment camp for “dangerous” individuals during both World Wars. The ferry leaves from Queen’s Wharf and Day’s Bay (on opposite sides of the harbour). Only at certain times will the ferry stop at the island and only upon request. The best choice is to leave Queen’s Wharf at noon and return at 2:30 or 3:25.

The Botanic Garden

The Botanic Garden is a nice place to go for a picnic, or just an afternoon walk. You can take the Cable Car from Lambton Quay for a quick 5-minute trip to the top; but it is not designed to be exciting, despite being photogenic. If you’re keen on walking up, take the lifts in the The James Cook Arcade (or one of several others along Lambton Quay) up to The Terrace, head south uphill until you reach Salamanca Rd. Head uphill up Salamanca Rd until you reach Victoria University. A set of stairs on the opposite side of the road to the Hunter Lawn goes uphill right to the top of the Gardens.

If you already shelled out for a Daytripper ticket, just catch the Mairangi bus, get off at the stop after the University, and walk back along Upland Rd until you reach the Cable Car Museum. At the top of the Gardens, there are several attractions:

  • The Cable Car Museum has two of the old cars in semi-restored and fully-restored condition and some of the original Cable Car machinery from the system that was replaced in 1978. *
  • The Lookout has a great view day or night, and the large map next to the round tree usually has a few pamphlets with maps of the Gardens.
  • The Carter Observatory is a stones throw from here. This is the perfect place to explore the Garden from, or wander back to the city. 

Bolton Street Memorial Park

Watch out for the friendly black cat who haunts this hillside cemetery. If you’re returning from the Botanic Gardens by foot, this is great place to meander through and check out the epitaphs of early pioneers and historical figures. 

Red Rocks/ Seal Colony

This is one of the great Wellington attractions. Red Rocks is an interesting walk named for its distinctive red rocks (probably Jasper). Take the number 1 bus to the end (Island Bay). Walk across the park towards the ocean and hang a right. There is another bus, number 4, that goes to the end of the road, but only at certain times. Travel west (right side, if facing the water) until you run out of road. Here you will find a disused quarry and a soon-to-open visitors center.

The walk along this beach is pleasant but rocky and often very windy, so dress accordingly. If one walks for about 1 hour you will come across a distinctive pass though the rock face. Just on the other side of this is a seal colony that is worth the walk. Please bear in mind that these are wild animals and so require a certain level of respect, so keep your distance and do not get between them and the sea, especially if you value your health!

Continuing on from here, you will eventually arrive at Makara (but this is a long distance, and the seal colony is a recommended turn-around point).

Red Rocks in Wellington
Red Rocks in Wellington


Offbeat attractions in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is known for its amazing beaches, but the lesser-known historic sites have been gaining popularity lately, for good reason too.

We have a few of the best picks on the island here for you:

South Bolgoda Lake

The Bolgoda Lake offers plenty of opportunities to have a fun-filled day, as water sports are quite the hit here. Being the biggest natural freshwater lake on the island, this lake spreads out across the districts of both Colombo and Kalutara with a mighty 350 square km to its name.

Canoeing and kayaking are favourite things to do for the people who visit the place, and you should try it too, as it can be a very calming experience to sit out on the lake with nothing but deep waters around you, as you make your way through the gentle waves.

Nachchimale

In a typical Kalutara travel guide, the next place on the list would be Nachchimale, the Buddhist hermitage that is also a meditation centre. Only people interested in actual meditation should visit the place though. If you are a noisy bunch travelling for joy, its best to forego this visit as the monks here are serious about the worship and meditation they do and can be quite offended if you cause disturbances in any way.

Fa Hien Cave

Yatagampitiya, the village in which Pahiyangala resides, is about 5km away from the town of Bulathsinhala in Kalutara. One of the more prominent places to visit in Kalutara District, the cave is frequented by school children for class trips and such. The place is also a popular picnic site; therefore, if you like the quiet and peace, visiting the cave on weekends and Poya days aren’t advised. The cave itself is about 400ft above sea level, the inner ceilings go up to 175ft height and the cave stretches out to a length of 200ft.

According to blogs, this is one of the oldest known places in Sri Lanka, and if the measurements are right, about 3,000 people can stay inside the cave at a time without it getting too uncomfortable. Divided into four parts, the cave has restricted lanes too, which are now blocked and not accessed by the usual visitor due to the dangers that lie within it.

The Archaeological Departments in Sri Lanka dug a pit and found human skulls that date back to about 37,000 years, based on the carbon dating available in the United States of America. A few weapons from the same era were found in the pit too, and it is believed that these weapons were made out of animal bones and heavy stones.

They were used to kill deer, monkey, porcupine and more animals that were easier to hunt down with minimal weapons. With the evidence collected from the pit, archaeologists also say that, apart from the meat, the people of that time also ate snails and wild fruits. The residents of the cave were known as Pahiyangala Manawakaya or Pahiyangala Man and are said to have prominent bone structures, like broad jaws, huge teeth, a short vertebral make-up and an immense palette.

Berwuala Light House

Located on the Barberyn Island this lighthouse is also known as the Barberyn Lighthouse. Built back in 1889, this structure has seen many a natural disaster, like the Tsunami in 2004 and stood tall through it all. You can reach the lighthouse by getting a fisherman with a ferry to take you there for a price.

It usually will not cost you more than Rs.3000 for a round trip, therefore, beware of being scammed with higher fares. The lighthouse itself is not accessible now, but you can walk around the tiny island freely and explore the place.

The island is not crowded during the off-season, and you are also allowed to take a dip in the sea and cool off if you want to. Camping on the island hasn’t been allowed in recent times, but if you are really interested, you can always ask around and see if it is possible to get a permit to camp overnight.