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Capital gift ideas with a difference

22 Nov 2013

Looking for great Christmas presents for family and friends? Give the gift of an experience with these capital gifts.

PWT Zealandia 62
Zealandia, Wellington.

Glad tidings with tickets

Give the gift of international art, design and history with tickets to two of Te Papa’s major exhibitions. Direct from Mexico, Aztecs: Conquest & glory will immerse you in an ancient culture of complexity, splendour and dark intrigue (tickets adult $18, child $6), while Colour & Light: Impressionism from France & America features works from the likes of Monet, Degas and Renoir (tickets adult $17.50, child $4).

Nothing says festive season more than festival tickets. From 21 February – 16 March, Wellington will become the stage for the biennial New Zealand Festival, showcasing the best creative talent from throughout New Zealand and around the world. From the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacularto the world-famous light and sound experience Power Plant at the Botanic Garden, there’s something to suit everyone (various ticket prices). If you’re not sure what your recipient would fancy, the Festival has Christmas Gift Vouchers for sale too!

The sun’ll come out this summer… especially if you gift tickets to one of the best-loved musicals of all time, Annie. From its Broadway beginnings to the classic film musical, the heart-warming rags-to-riches story of plucky young Annie’s journey from the hard-knock New York orphanage to the luxurious home of billionaire businessman Oliver Warbucks, is a tale that has been told all over the world for decades and won numerous major awards. Set to hit Wellington’s St James Theatre in May (tickets from $69).

Surprise that someone special with a weekend full of summer fun at Sevens Wellington. From 7 – 8 February, around 200 players, 16 teams and 35,000 fans will converge on Wellington for New Zealand’s ultimate summer sports festival. Every year sees the capital of cool’s streets become a carnival of colour, costumes and camaraderie (tickets $209).

Tickets to a music festival will sure make someone’s Christmas merry. On 15 February, the entire Wellington waterfront will come to life for Jim Beam Homegrown – one day, eight music stages and over 60 acts (tickets $99).

Merry memberships

A Zealandia membership means the lucky recipient can visit this stunning sanctuary as often as they like, all year round. Explore over 32km of beautiful walking tracks, enjoy the changing seasons, and share in the excitement as new species are introduced (adult $62, family $99). Alternatively, purchase a Zealandia by Night tour - Lonely Planet described the tour as a ‘life-changing experience’ (adult $75, child $36 – members receive a 50% discount).

The best little zoo in the world makes Christmas giving easy, with Wellington Zoo gift ideas ranging from Zoo Crew yearly memberships (adult $79, child $39) to close encounters of the furry kind (from $90).

Got a football fanatic in your family? Tickets to a Wellington Phoenix football game at Westpac Stadium are the perfect gift (prebuy adult tickets from $23). Better yet, upgrade to a Phoenix Full Season Ticket Holder pass (adult from $169, child $45) to ensure they get to every game.

Astronomically-minded friends will think you’re a star if you give them a Carter Observatory Star Pass. Season card holders get unlimited entry to the observatory for a whole year and access to a range of exclusive benefits (adult $60, child $25). For something extra special, give a gift that’s out of this world and adopt a star! You’ll receive an Adopt a Star pack which includes a certificate, coordinates and instructions on how to locate your adopted star, a supporter pin and more (stars priced from $50).

Christmas crafts

For a gift that’s uniquely Wellington you can’t go past a flagon of craft beer brewed by one of the city’s best.

Garage Project has been described as the 'darling of the craft beer scene' and by punters as 'rock stars'. Their brews change regularly, and the distinctive names and label artwork always makes them stand out. Favourites include Aro Noir - an inky black stout named for the 'dark side' of Aro Valley; Pils 'n' Thrills - an American-hopped Pilsener inspired by the local roller derby team, and Smoke & Mirrors - a lightly smoked Bock style beer that goes great with barbecue or burgers.

In June 2012 award-winning brewers, ParrotDog, took the plunge and opened their own brewery and shop in the heart of Wellington. There you can pick up a flagon of their award-winning signature beer, BitterBitch, or one of their newer creations. These include; FlaxenFeather, a zesty, golden blonde ale; and Sleuthhound, a full-bodied scotch ale with a hint of smoke. Cheers to that.

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