The country’s North and South Island are divided by the Cook Strait. Overlooking the Strait is Wellington: the world’s southernmost capital.
Trendy Wellington is dubbed the Capital of Cool. It’s as if the fresh ocean winds bring in waves of creativity.
Home to less than half a million people, Wellington isn’t New Zealand’s most populous City but it is the country’s political, cultural and culinary capital.
Clinging to the forested mountain slopes that spill out into the harbor is the compact city center. Imaginative street art, vintage shops, a hip café culture incredible scenery, splendid museums, and a touch of tradition make Wellington a breath of fresh air The locals are just as passionate about rugby union as about drinking coffee or locally brewed beer on the waterfront.
Vital to the unique flavor of this eclectic urban mix is the cultural heritage of the Māori people Te Papa, the beloved National Museum, shows how these brave seafarers made their mark in this precious land between the mountains and the sea.
Telling the story of New Zealand is like turning the pages of a mystical book about a faraway land It’s a tale about discovery, ocean currents and starry heavens and wooden boats navigating along the Ring of Fire.
First came the fearless Māori people, who cultivated the country, then the Dutch who gave it its current name, and eventually the British, who laid claim to the land.
Learn more about their navigational techniques in the Carter Observatory See and hear how the rest of the story of the capital unfolded in the Museum of Wellington City and Sea.
Continue your journey back in time in the historical city center: a jumble of architectural styles.
Tour the neo-classical Parliament House and admire the city’s landmark Beehive building.
From Lambton Quay, ride the historic Wellington Cable Car to the top to visit its original Winding House Take in the panoramic views from outside and then slowly make your way back down again along the scenic paths of the Botanic Garden.
When the Wellington Winds subside, the locals flock to the waterfront to warm up in the sun. Join the crowds for a wine or a beer on the wharf or stroll along the boulevard of Oriental Bay Take the kids down to the beach or go fishing or kayaking in the harbor.
In central Cuba Street, poke your nose in a book shop or coffee shop Make your way around the elegant Town Hall, which is now a concert hall and visitor center The building is part of Civic Square, which is full of surprising artworks that appeal to the imagination.
Thanks to their ability for storytelling, the creative locals have given their city global fame when it comes to music, literature and film.
“Wellywood” has been the set for blockbuster movies, such as Avatar and Sir Peter Jackson’s King Kong and Lord of the Rings Come face to face with some of the local villains in the mini museum of the Weta Workshop on the Miramar peninsula.
From the city, hop on a bus to Zealandia, a conservation park. See if you can spot the endangered Takahē and Kākā birds and learn more about the area’s special flora End your day with fine dining followed by a night out in a cozy downtown bar or theater.
Journey south to experience Wellington’s legendary hospitality, clean air and quality of life. Whichever page you turn in New Zealand’s distant capital, you’ll discover that magic and adventure is just around the corner.