Te Papa, meaning our place, draws together collections that feature New Zealand's natural, social and political experience, exhibiting through the prism of both European and Maori cultures. Entry to the permanent collection is free, though admission to some special exhibitions and events may need a ticket, and guided tours have a charge. Highlights include Te Marae, the earthquake simulator, and the awesome but terrifying colossal squid.
You'll need a full day to explore the museum, and there are two cafes where you can reflect and recharge between exhibits. The shop has a great range of books, design items and tasteful souvenirs.