Wellington New Zealand
Hemmed in by hillsides around a magnificent harbour, Wellington is NZ’s capital. Locked in an age-old struggle for hip supremacy with Auckland, ‘Welly’ prides itself in its cultural and artistic wealth. Given the relatively small population, there’s an astounding number of quality restaurants, cafés, bars, galleries, shops and theatres here. And it’s certainly better-looking than Auckland: timber Victorian houses terrace up steep valleys from the waterfront in an almost San Franciscan manner.
In recent years Wellington has stamped its place firmly on the world map as the home of NZ’s dynamic film industry, earning itself the nickname ‘Wellywood’. When the film crews hit town, the whole mood of the city lifts, and there’s a palpable sparkle in the air. Acclaimed director Peter Jackson still calls Wellington home; the success of his Lord of the Rings films and subsequent productions have made him a powerful Hollywood player, and have bolstered Wellington’s reputation.
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Recommended things to do & see
Our top picks for Wellington
Te Papa, the 'Museum of New Zealand', is an inspiring, interactive look at NZ's history and culture. The striking construction took five years to build and since opening in 1998, it has attracted over nine million visitors. Combining innovation and approachability, it's affectionately dubbed 'Our Place', celebrating the essence of NZ and its people.
The much-loved City Gallery reopened late in 2009 after renovations and the addition of a new wing. Expect surprises:
the gallery’s a little cracker that secures acclaimed contemporary international artists as well as unearthing and supporting those at the forefront of New Zealand’s scene. Excellent Nikau Gallery Cafe on-site.
Wellington Botanic Gardens
The expansive, hilltop Wellington Botanic Gardens can be conveniently visited via a cable-car ride (nice bit of planning, eh?). The hilly 25-hectare gardens boast a tract of original native forest along with varied collections including a beaut rose garden and international plant collections. Add in fountains, a cheerful playground, sculptures, duck pond, cafe, magical city views and much more, and you’ve got a grand day out. The gardens are also accessible from the Centennial Entrance on Tinakori Rd (Karori bus 3).
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