The good thing about the Beehive is as soon as you see it, you know what it is.
Distinctive, then? You bet. Beautiful? We-ell... If you were to do a straw poll, – and let’s face it, it’s the kind of place where a bit of polling goes on – it’s hard to say if you’d get a majority of fans for the aesthetic of the place. But it is much loved and is deeply symbolic of our nation.
As with anywhere history is truly made, it’s a fascinating spot. And if you like your architecture and environment more European, well, the airport’s this way... no, just kidding! The ‘old’ Parliament House still stands, all stone (walling) and solidity, and busy bureaucratic bees still hive away (sorry) on Important National Business within their ordered walls. You won’t be able to gain access to them, of course, but strolling the corridors of power, or even their vicinity is a brilliant addition to any holiday. It’s a reminder, too, that while New Zealand may be a young nation, there is still a significant weight of history.
If you really want to do some MP-spotting, you’re more likely to see them at The Backbencher over the road in Molesworth Street. Much more convivial too, to be fair.
There are excellent tours, both detailed and captivating (which is more than can be said of the debating chamber some days!) And if you want a look at that, the public gallery is open any time when Parliament is sitting. From the gallery, you can watch MPs answer questions, dodge questions, orate at length and sometimes snooze. Oh, and vote on potential legislation.
The magnificent Parliamentary Library nearby is a must-visit as well. Great at any time, the whole thing is a good option on one of those rare (!) rainy Wellington days.