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Tags : Walking Tour

Timings : 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Time Required : 2-3 hours

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Parliament Building Tours, Wellington Overview

The Parliament Building is one of the most visited and exciting attractions for tourists, especially those who take an interest in watching live debates and learning more about the world's political systems. Visitors are taken on guided tours seven days a week of the Parliament Building in New Zealand, an essential legislative structure located on Lambton Quay in Wellington.

The building consists of the Parliament House, which was established in 1922; the Parliament Library, which was established in 1899; "The Beehive", which is the executive wing of the Parliament and was established in 1977 and the Bowen House, which has been operational since the year 1991. The central Parliament house building comprises the debating chamber, the speaker's office, the visitors' centre and the committee rooms. The tour guides give detailed information about the workings of the Parliament and the government apparatus in New Zealand, along with details on being an active citizen. Visitors can also see the various artworks and objects in the Parliamentary Collection.

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Daily Public Tours

Public tours operate from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. everyday with a group size limit of 25 people, and it is highly advised to make bookings a full business day before one’s planned visit as it tends to get crowded and to also reach at least 15 minutes before the commencement of the public tour as there might be a risk of losing the booking.

The tours are not operational on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, 2 January, Waitangi Day and Good Friday as the Parliament building remains closed on the aforementioned days. 

Introducing Parliament Tour: The tour lasts for an hour and the tour guides provide information on the history and parliamentary processes while taking the group through various buildings like the Banquet Hall, the Parliamentary House, the Debating Chamber the Legislative Council Chamber (LCC), the Grand Hall, the Parliamentary Library, select committee rooms, the Base Isolators and a walk through the Galleria. 

Highlights of Parliament Tour: The tour is held during school and public holidays and lasts for half an hour, wherein the group of visitors is taken to and briefed through the debating chamber where the House of Representatives meet for the formulation and passing of various laws. Along with the debating chambers, the group is also taken through select committee rooms and the Banquet Hall.

Kids in the House Tour: The tour lasts for a total of 45 minutes and operates during school holidays, as it is specifically designed for children from the ages of 5 to 12 years. An interactive, informative tour, it provides the children with knowledge about the Parliament processes.

They are also given a ‘Passport to Parliament’ booklet each wherein they can stamp stickers for each venue that they visit through the duration of the tour. The tour includes a visit to the Debating Chamber, the Legislative Council Chamber (LCC), the Grand Hall, the Parliament House Foyer, the Speaker’s Corridor, the Parliamentary Library, the Galleria, the Banquet Hall and select committee rooms. 

Self Guided Outdoor Tour: Visitors can choose to roam about the accessible Parliament grounds with the help of a map that can be collected from the Tour desk in the Visitor Centre which includes information on the leaders, buildings, history and the political past of the country. At an average the tour takes around 40 minutes. 

Art and Private Tours

Visitors are taken on an informative tour that focuses on the artworks which are a part of the Parliamentary Collection. The tours are run on a monthly basis and last 90 minutes per tour, and visitors interested in the same need to make prior bookings.

Visitors can also request for private tours with tailored interests for group sizes of 20 people or more with a maximum limit of 42 people per group. Separate charges are levied on these and bookings need to be made at least a week before the planned visit. 

Public Gallery

Visitors can watch debates taking place live from the public galleries in the Debating Chamber, where Members of Parliament discuss current issues, answer questions and vote on the legislature. Bookings should be made prior to the event and visitors can find out the timings for the House being in session from the sitting programme.

The galleries are opened 15 minutes before every sitting and a second security check is carried out before the visitors can enter and take their seats in the galleries. There is a strict dress code that is followed, so visitors are advised to dress appropriately like not wearing hats, unless for religious reasons, and wearing shoes at all times. 

How To Reach Parliament Building Tours

  • Visitors can reach the venue both by public and private transportation.
  • The Parliament building is located at a ten minute walk from the Wellington Railway Station and the closest bus stops to the Parliament building are located on Lambton Quay and Molesworth Street.
  • Vehicle parking is not available on the Parliament grounds but metered parking is available on Molesworth Street at a rate of NZD 2 per hour and also on the surrounding streets outside the perimeter of the grounds. 

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