Bringing Picton's whaling history to life

Whale, whale, whale… what do we have here? Picton’s new National Whale Centre opened last month, and is an inviting tourism hub designed around the area’s famous whale and dolphin activities.

Wellington agency Base Two completed the fit out of the eco tourism centre, pulling the charming sea and forestry views into its design.


The team undertook the centre's requirement for text-heavy stories and intricate imagery, and curated a modern, palatable design. 

Plywood panels flow through the centre, providing display cases and shelves for the centre's merchandise, as well as mossy green graphics consciously made from recyclable materials – and tourists are in for a whale of a time, with the interactive screens and iPads.

Upon arrival, visitors are greeted with and educated by an outsized display mounted onto the richly stained wooden exterior walls of the building. The monotone text display informs visitors about the different range of whale species. 

National Whale Centre's project director Luit Bieringa says the recent launch has been the culmination of many years of planning and fundraising by locally based trustees and donations.

"[The attraction will] showcase New Zealand’s unique position as an ocean nation with over 172 years of whaling history and subsequent shift to more sustainable aquamarine industries that are associated with ecotourism ventures."