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Wellington, New Zealand

A city experience that will reveal the creative, political and cultural nature of New Zealand, but still provide blockbuster scenery. High-energy enjoyment is the theme for Wellington.


Wellington region, New Zealand

Wellington Region includes Wellington City and the south-western portion of the North Island.

General Facts

As of June 2005 Wellington City's estimated population was 185,100. The Wellington regional estimated population was 460,300.

Wellington is New Zealand's capital. It is a superbly compact city, set on the shores of a deep harbour and surrounded by a natural amphitheatre of wooded hills.

Wellington is New Zealand's trendy weekend destination and has the most vibrant entertainment district in the country, where you can find some of the best bars, cafes, restaurants and theatres.

With around 400 cafes and restaurants, Wellington's inner city has the highest concentration of eating establishments in New Zealand, earning it the tag 'café capital of New Zealand'.

Wellington boasts an eclectic mix of shops. With a host of fashion stores and the country's premier department store, the city offers some of New Zealand's best shopping opportunities.

The city is home to the Royal New Zealand Ballet and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, as well as national dance, drama, opera and musical groups. Four professional theatres operate year-round, so there are live shows every night.

Wellington is also the home of much New Zealand heritage, including Te Papa, New Zealand's national, leading edge museum.

Main Attractions and Activities

Exploring Wellington's waterfront on foot is a pleasant way to spend a morning or afternoon. Start at Queens Wharf and follow the harbour around past Te Papa and Chaffers Marina to Oriental Bay, where you will find cafes and an enticing stretch of golden sand.

Just 45 minutes by car or rail from Wellington, Kapiti Coast is the recreational playground for the lower North Island, with both beaches and mountains readily accessible. Choose from white water rafting, safe swimming, boating, hunting and hiking, golfing, horse trekking and bush walks.

Te Papa Museum, Wellington, New Zealand
Te Papa Museum, Wellington

Catch the Cable Car from Lambton Quay up to the Botanic Gardens then wander down through 26 acres of specialist gardens, native bush and lawn areas to historical Thorndon, New Zealand's oldest suburb. Or take in the 360 degree panoramas of Wellington city, harbour and the Cook Strait from the top of Mount Victoria. Drive, catch a bus or walk up via the green belt to the summit.

Wellington city and region are home to numerous scenic mountain biking tracks. In 1998 the world championships were held on Mount Victoria. Hire a bike and burn off some energy on one of Wellington's many mountain biking tracks.

Increase your knowledge of New Zealand with Maori Insight Tours and the Maori Art Studio. The Maori Art Studio features wood carving, fibre arts, pounamu (greenstone or jade), bone carving, painting, clay works, basketry and stone sculpture. The Maori Insight Tour helps visitors to understand and appreciate the beauty of Maori Art and Culture.

Don't Miss

  • Te Papa - Museum of New Zealand, where the stories of the nation are revealed in interactive displays
  • Parliament Buildings Old Government Buildings - the second-largest wooden building in the world
  • Old St Paul's Cathedral - a fine example of wooden Gothic architecture
  • Cable car
  • Botanic Gardens
  • Capital E
  • Zoological Gardens
  • Otari Native Botanic Garden
  • Mount Victoria lookout
  • Courtenay Place nightlife
  • Theatre or concert performance
  • Katherine Mansfield's birthplace
  • The Wellington waterfront
  • Southward Car Museum, Kapiti Coast - Australasia's largest private collection of vintage and veteran vehicles
  • The Lindale Agriculture Centre, Kapiti Coast
  • Museum of Wellington, City and Sea

Main Centres

  • Wellington city - capital of New Zealand
  • Porirua - a major retail centre and home to Pataka, museum of Pacific art and culture
  • Hutt City - across the harbour from Wellington city
  • Upper Hutt - at the base of the Rimutaka hills
  • Kapiti Coast - with its warm, relaxed climate