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  • Overview

    The capital city of New Zealand is located at the southern tip of the North Island. Wellington is situated on a splendid harbour and hemmed in by steep hills, creating a compact inner city centre with a mix of historic and modern buildings. It is the second largest city in the country, the energetic centre for culture and arts, and the entertainment, commercial and political capital of New Zealand with an air of pronounced sophistication and vibrancy. Apart from its importance as the capital, it is the main departure point for the South Island.

    Also called 'Windy Wellington', it lives up to its name especially in winter when the lashing winds from the Cook Strait whistle through the wind funnels created by the high-rise buildings of the central business district. The bustling, pretty waterfront area is a sheltered refuge with a graceful promenade, featuring shops, restaurants and various leisure activities. Brightly coloured sails scud across the harbour, with the reliable wind providing excellent sailing and windsurfing opportunities. The ferry to the picturesque Days Bay, one of Wellington's best swimming beaches, affords excellent views of the city from the water. Dominating the waterfront is the Te Papa Museum, the pride and joy of the nation that embodies the quintessence of New Zealand and its people.

    Te Papa Museum

    Te Papa is Wellington's leading attraction and one of the world's largest national museums. It is a tribute to all that is New Zealand; its people and history, natural environment, arts, and culture. Interactive technology and superb displays bring the story to life, with visitors able to experience the explosive creation of pre-historic New Zealand, go on a virtual bungee jump, experience the effects of a volcanic eruption, and much more. Other attractions include a range of magnificent exhibitions featuring some of the country's most important Maori treasures, a modern 'marae' or Maori meeting house, and an informative display on the Treaty of Waitangi.

    Address: Cable Street, Waterfront
    Te Papa Exhibit Te Papa Exhibit Michael Coghlan
    Wellington Cable Car

    The cable car is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Wellington. It takes people to the lookout at Kelburn, where there is a beautiful view over the city and across the harbour. Visitors can either take a return journey or walk back down through the beautifully landscaped Botanic Gardens. At the top terminus there is the small Cable Car Museum explaining its history.

    Address: Cable Car Lane, 280 Lambton Quay
    Wellington Cable Car Wellington Cable Car Phil Whitehouse
    Mount Victoria

    Mount Victoria, locally abbreviated to Mt Vic, is a prominent hill to the east of the centre of Wellington, linked to Mount Albert by a ridge. The suburb of Mount Victoria is a mixture of residential and commercial activity on the western flank of the ridge above the southern end of the Wellington CBD. Mt Vic boasts beautiful views of the city and the suburb is well populated by artisanal cafes and eateries that add to the local feel of the walk. This was also the location where numerous scenes of was shot.

    Address: Lookout Road, Wellington
    Mount Victoria Park Mount Victoria Park Jeff Hitchcock

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    Wellington's climate is mild, with plenty of wind. Summers are mild and sunny and winters are wet and mild. The average temperature in January and February (the two hottest months) is 61°F (16°C) and in July, the coldest month, the average temperature is 47°F (8°C).

    Wellington International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated five miles (8km) east of Wellington.
    Time: Local time is GMT +12 (GMT +13 from the last Sunday in October to the last Sunday in March).
    Transfer Between Terminals: There is only one terminal. Arrivals is located on the lower level while departures is on the upper level.
    Getting to the city: The Stagecoach Flyer bus services tourists between the airport and the city. Shuttle services and taxis all go to the city centre.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies include Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar and Thrifty.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis can be hailed outside the baggage claims area.
    Fascilities: Facilities at the airport include left luggage, bureaux de change, ATMs, bars, shops and restaurants, a parent's room, post office and a tourist information and hotel reservations desk. Disabled facilities are good and those with special needs are advised to inform their airline or travel agent in advance.
    Parking Parking at Wellington International Airport ranges from about NZD 5 per half hour up to about NZD 40 per day for Premium parking, which is close to the terminal. Long-term parking is around NZD 27 for the first day and NZD 12 per day thereafter. The long-term parking lot is situated off Freight Drive and regularly serviced by a free airport shuttle.

    Useful Contacts:

    Wellington is very compact and it is easy to explore on foot, but the public transport option is a good one, for the city has an excellent system. Stagecoach is the name of the local bus service, which operates between 7am and 11.30pm each day, offering a Daytripper pass. The pass is also valid on the City Circular service, a hop-on-hop-off bus, which does the round of the top ten sightseeing spots every ten minutes. Taxis are another option, plentiful and convenient. A cable car connects downtown Wellington to the Botanic Gardens on the hilltop. Ferries ply between Wellington harbour and the village of Eastbourne. Those wishing to explore the outlying regions like the Hutt Valley, Wairarapa wine country, or Kapiti Coast can make use of the Tranz Metro train service.

    There is plenty to do and see in 'the windy city', starting in the city centre with the Parliamentary District. Here you'll find the architectural masterpieces of Wellington, including the Old Government Building, the second largest wooden building in the world; the unmistakable modernist Beehive, the executive offices of Parliament; Parliament House and the Victorian Gothic National Library. Te Papa museum is also one of the city's main attractions with a large variety of exhibitions for all ages to enjoy.

    Venturing further to the edges of the city, the cable car takes people up to the Botanic Gardens for vistas of the city centre and across the harbour to the Hutt Valley, one of the scenic locations used in the filming of 'Lord of the Rings'. Another film site is Mount Victoria, offering sweeping panoramic views of the city and its suburbs, the surrounding hills and bays, and the harbour.

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