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Last updated 08 August 2013
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Wellington Harbour on a glorious day.
Wellington is very picturesque, steep green hills surrounding the harbour, housing nestled in impossible places. Despite being a city of hills it is possible to drive all around the Wellington coastline at sea level. The South coast is dramatic and seems quite remote (home to penguins and a seal colony at Red Rocks)yet the city is only 10 minutes drive away. It is possible to see the South Island from the South Coast or many high vantage points, visibility permitting.
Wellington is like a European city in that it is small (population of 300,000 in the city) which means it’s a great place to walk around and has many great attractions. Its nickname is Windy Wellington because on some days it can blow pretty hard even in the summer. It is cooler than Auckland and does not have high humidity levels which some find so enervating. Don’t bother to bring an umbrella it will just get broken. Have a good coat with a hood or a hat to keep the rain off.
The areas of Wellington could be broken down into the CBD (all of which is officially Te Aro) but also includes Aro Valley home to students and Greenies with pretty painted villas; the southern suburbs of Owhiro Bay, Island Bay and Lyall Bay (home of left hand break surf and the Airport);The eastern suburbs are Miramar (site of the film industry with Weta Workshops, the Weta Cave, Park Street Post Production and the Stone Street Studios)and the picturesque seaside suburbs of Seatoun to Scorching Bay. The hills overlooking the CBD on one side are Oriental Bay/Roseneath and Mt Victoria overlooking Oriental Bay Beach and the waterfront and on the other side Kelburn and Thorndon overlooking The Beehive and Parliament buildings.
Despite Wellington being the capital and filled with government workers it likes to define itself as being young and hip and alternative. There are no malls and dress shops tend towards new young designers or retro and recycled clothing. The coffee culture is world class with numerous boutique coffee houses roasting their own style of fair trade coffee. Theatre is well supported in Wellington and there are always several plays or shows with quality local and international offerings to choose from. Galleries abound with local work and Wellington is of course home to Te Papa the National Museum set in a gorgeous building on the waterfront.
Wellington is the capital and it’s the Government and it’s various departments that give Wellington residents above average incomes and gives Wellington an affluent feel overall though this sector has been in decline along with big business over the last few years and Wellington now owes just as much of its vibrancy and life to the arts and theatres and from the many overseas visitors who come and enjoy its scenic beauty.
Wellington, NZ accommodation.
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Te Papa Museum
The redeveloped waterfront
Trendy cafe scene
The windy aspects of the weather. The wind can be quite cold and brutal, if it’s a day like this head for a museum or cafe.
Anywhere in the Wellington CBD is great for a city break, ideal locations are between Parliament and Mt Victoria. The further from the waterfront, the longer the walk into the city proper. Public transport is great too, so it’s quite reasonable to stay anywhere and commute around.
You can happily see the main aspects of Wellington in a weekend. However if your into discovering more of a city, it would be quite easy to spend 4-5 days here.
Being of a small population the shopping is focussed in the central city. There are a 3 separate shopping areas but you can easily walk between them. Cuba Street - trendy shops, urban fashion and a grungy feel. Leads itself into Manners Mall and around to Lampton Quay, the shops here are more traditional franchised store. The boutique shops dotted through here are more upmarket. Lastly further down the road, past the railway station is some larger scale shops, furniture, homeware stores that have parking available. There are also smaller shopping hubs in Newtown, Kilbirnie, Miramar, Ngaio, Johnsonville,
The public transport in Wellington is good. To get up to the hill side suburbs, there is the cable car, buses and the train line. East towards Miramar and south towards Newtown their are regular buses.
Last updated 08 August 2013
Official tourist info for Wellington City and CBD
Greater Wellington public transport network and timetable
Nothing beats raw local information from people who live it everyday. Here’s our pick of great websites and blogs that focus on Wellington, NZ. Are we missing one? add it here
Walks around Wellington Dept of conservation list of their walks around Wellington
Miniature Wellington - Tilt Shift Time Lapse A wonderful visual feast of Wellington in miniature using tilt shift video technique.
Best free things to do in Wellington What to do in Wellington that's free
Tips and advice for Wellington Airport Blog on just FAQ's about Wellington Airport
Taking the ferry to the South Island Loads of practical info and q & a's on catching a ferry from Wellington to Picton
Indie Travel podcast 5 practical tips for your first time in Wellington
A rustic gem on a rugged coast A blog about experiences in Wainuiomata
Craft Beer Capital A site including maps to all the bars and locations in Wellington selling crafts beers in Wellington