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Wellington New Zealand

Wellington

Windy and wonderful capital city

Popularly known as the Windy City or Windy Wellington, the nation’s capital is a hilly harbour city with a fascinating mix of old and new architecture. Divided into four urban areas, Wellington’s surrounding suburbs border the horseshoe- shaped harbour. The harbour is fed by the Cook Strait, which separates the North and South Islands and is just 22km wide at its narrowest point. It’s where travellers can take a ferry south but it’s also where the nation’s politicians come to work, which means the place is flooded with civil servants of all persuasions. Home to the third largest population of any New Zealand city, Wellington is a thriving business and cultural base for companies and people who love the ease of life here. As such, it’s also a great place to visit because most activities and sights are within easy reach.

When to go

The summer season from the end of each year to around Easter is the optimum time to make the most of Wellington outdoors, though temperatures rarely exceed 25°C. Thanks to proximity to the Tasman Sea and the South Pacific Ocean, winter can be very windy and wet, with temperatures as low as 4°C, though the city caters well for warm indoor activities.

The biennial International Festival of the Arts rounds out the end of summer with nearly a month of dance, theatre, writers, musicians and all manner of other arty types. Taking place every even year since 1986, it lives up to its name and is the jewel in the crown of the capital’s richly deserved cultural reputation.

Flying with Jetstar

Jetstar flies direct to Wellington from Auckland, Christchurch and Gold Coast*. There are also flights linking the city to other destinations in Australia, South-East Asia and Japan.

*Direct flights between Gold Coast and Wellington are due to commence on 12 December 2014, and are subject to government and regulatory approval.

Find cheap flights to Wellington

Getting around

Metlink Wellington is your one-stop shop for buses, trains and harbour ferries into, out of and around the city. There are four rail lines, over 100 bus routes and four harbour ferry stops. The Snapper smart card is an economical way to pay for buses, taxis, the cable car and even street parking. It’s available at newsagents and other retailers.

Airport information

CBD 8km

Travel time 20 minutes

Taxi Approx NZ$35

SuperShuttle from NZ$22

Aiport Flyer Bus every 20 minutes. One-way NZ$6-12 (adult), NZ$4-7 (child). Journey takes 45 minutes.

Things to do

Top of the cable

Ride the cable car from Lambton Quay in the CBD to the top entrance of the Botanic Garden and Kelburn lookout for spectacular views over Wellington.

Star trek

Take the quick stroll from Kelburn lookout to the Carter Observatory and Planetarium. It’s open late on Tuesdays and Saturdays, weather permitting.

Birds and the bees

Ride the free shuttle from outside the cable-car museum at Kelburn lookout to Zealandia, a 225ha eco-attraction that’s home to some of New Zealand’s rarest birds, reptiles and insects. It’s just 10 minutes from Wellington.

Live and learn

To deepen your local knowledge, visit the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, located on the waterfront near the city’s many bustling cafés and bars. It’s open year-round, thus ensuring that nobody need miss exhibitions under headings like Art, History, Pacific, Maori and Nature.

Lights, camera, action!

Step onto a movie location by visiting Mount Victoria, Hutt River, Harcourt Park, Kaitoke Regional Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, Waitarere Forest or the Wairarapa Region, where many scenes from the The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies were filmed.

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