Government House

Government House, Wellington

Government House
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Historic Sites • Government Buildings
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A beautiful heritage building, Government House in Wellington is the principal residence for New Zealand's Governor-General. Designed in the office of the Government Architect, John Campbell, the designer of Parliament Buildings,the house was built between 1908 and 1910. A major strengthening and refurbishment project was undertaken in 2008,with the official reopening taking place in March 2011. Built mostly of wood, Government House has eight guest suites and a self-contained apartment for the Governor-General, as well as a ballroom, conservatory, sitting rooms, service rooms, kitchens and offices. The formal rooms can be visited by the public,schools and community groups Visitors may also tour the gardens if the weather is fine.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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HKS
1 contribution
Feb 2021 • Friends
Excellent tour. Very informative. Heather was a fantastic guide and very kind in the squeezing my mother and I in at the last moment. Absolutely stunning building and garden and so accessible both in price and parking (free). Every Kiwi should do this tour and learn something new about the history of their country. I did not know the Bledisloes bought and gifted Waitangi grounds to New Zealand after Government refused to. A precedent for future irreconcilable land disputes perhaps?
Written 27 February 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

roaming_kiwi58
Christchurch, New Zealand2,722 contributions
Jan 2021
Government House is the home of the Governor General (upstairs). Downstairs the extensive rooms are used for official functions throughout the year.
You can do tours of the house and gardens. They are advertised on the website and you have to book ahead. It is not far from Wellington Hospital. We do not live in Wellington, and we joined a friend and took the bus to get there. You do have to walk uphill from the bus stop.
The visitor centre is spacious, with lots of information about the history of the building and previous governors general.
Your iD is checked. You are not allowed to take any bags on the tour with you. There are cubby holes in the visitor centre where you can leave your bags, coats etc. There are also toilets available.
We were a group of 15, including 2 children. The guide, Heather, was excellent, and she also worked to keep the children engaged as well as all the adults.
The ballroom was at the end of a renovation, and not yet restored to its full glory, which was a pity. We saw many of the downstairs rooms, the long hall, the magnificent conservatory. There are lots of items of interest in all the rooms. Note the carpet in one of the reception rooms. It has a fern pattern on it and it has long and very dense pile. You can push your finger well down into it. Apparently they mow it about every ten years, trimming the top couple of millimetres off the pile, to refresh the carpet and make it look like new!
We also did a walk around part of the grounds. The complete experience took about 2 hours.
Government House is well worth visiting and I am not sure many NZers realise you can book a tour at no charge. It is well worth visiting.
Written 9 February 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Naina-Damani
London, UK1,032 contributions
Feb 2020
Government House in Wellington is the principal residence of the Governor General of New Zealand. Beautiful iconic architecture.
Written 2 December 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Agnes D
Auckland, New Zealand45 contributions
Oct 2020
Booked the tour and it was great. Tour guide was informative and seeing the building up close give one a perspective of the style and age and one realize how NZ has moved on from the English-ness.
Written 19 October 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

nzworkingmum
Wellington, New Zealand105 contributions
Oct 2020 • Family
You will need to reserve a spot in advance on their website so plan in advance (I missed out a few times as I wasn't prepared enough). Following that you'll get an email outlining which gate to go to and what to bring.
The tour starts in the visitor centre and it is worth getting there a bit earlier so you have time to look at the exhibits which detail previous Governors-General and their role. The tour proper starts with a couple of short videos and then you enter the main house. No bags are allowed in the main house but you can take phone/cameras. Our guide was Heather who is a source of all sorts of information and coped admirably with the barrage of questions from my daughter.
There is plenty of artwork in the rooms you visit including Hotare and McMahon and gifts from visiting dignitaries (including a golden apple from the Sultan of Brunei). I didn't feel rushed at all. We ended with a walk through the grounds.
The tour was 2 hours plus, with plenty of places to sit if you need to (just don't sit on the throne...). If you can fix it to visit on a sunny day you will get the full affect of the garden outlook. Parking on site and toilets in the visitor centre.
Written 8 October 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

nzaudrey
Wellington, New Zealand14 contributions
Jul 2020
During the tour our guide revealed the history and stories behind Government House and our Governors General. Our guide, Owen, was engaging, knowledgeable and articulate. For me the highlight was viewing the superb New Zealand art displayed in the house..
The tour was fun for our whole family group. My mother, in a wheelchair, was well looked after and able to participate in the whole tour of the house.
Written 26 July 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Barry
2 contributions
Jul 2020
We took the Government House Tour in Wellington with our 3 very active grandchildren aged 10, 8 and 6. I was a bit apprehensive that they might not be engaged but in all respects it was amazing. Owen our guide was engaging, inclusive, articulate and very interesting. He had a superb manner with children and adults and made it memorable. He is completely natural and unpretentious as he explains and uncovers the beauty, functions, history and people of this hidden gem. The house itself is beautiful and has been lovingly restored. If you have a couple of hours free then I would unreservedly recommend you book this tour
Written 16 July 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

SKS
1 contribution
Jun 2020
Tour guide was capturing, informative and humorous. The tour was well worth the 1 hr 30min. Really enjoyable and interesting.
Written 21 June 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kiaorajack
3 contributions
Jun 2020
Really worthwhile and enjoyable tour. Both Owen and Heather are very welcoming and knowledgeable. It was wonderful to learn about Government House, its occupants, contents and history. Highly recommended - we are so glad we visited.
Written 21 June 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Lynleyfish
Cambridge, New Zealand910 contributions
Dec 2019
I can highly recommend this tour. It is a hidden gem of Wellington.
Heather was our tour guide and was fantastic. She is so knowledgable of the house. We were guided through the lower level of the house and even briefly metthe Governor General. What a lovely lady she was too!

I would do this again next time I'm in Wellington.
Written 3 June 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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