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NZ Wellington Information

The Wellington region of New Zealand is on the bottom of the North Island and contains the country’s capitol city, Wellington. The entire region contains 420,000 residents, most of whom are located in the city of Wellington. Settled by the Māori centuries before, European settlement of the region occurred in 1839. The planned area of the settlement, called Britannia, was discovered to be marsh like and unacceptable, so a new site was chosen. The original city plans were not modified to reflect the hilly terrain of Wellington, and to this day there are streets running up very steep hills.

Wellington became the capitol of New Zealand in 1865, supplanting the original capitol, Auckland. As the seat of government for the country, it has also become a cultural center for the country. Positioned at the bottom of the North Island, it is the major departure point for travel to the South Island, with regular ferries departing across Cook Straits. The city itself is set on a harbor and surrounded by lush hills. Excellent views of the city can be had by walking to the hills on a number of footpaths that begin at the street level. Cable cars take visitors up to the top the botanical gardens so they can wander down at their leisure.

Te Papa is the national museum of New Zealand. Located on the waterfront, the museum is extraordinarily well planned and known for interesting even the most reluctant of museum goers. The museum offers a complete range of collections including natural history, historical artifacts, contemporary art and contemporary science and industry.

Casual tourists will enjoy exploring this compact city by foot. Most of what Wellington has to offer is in walking distance, and that really is the best way to appreciate the beautiful promenades and interesting architecture. Shopping is diverse with both international and local treasures to uncover. As the capitol city, it offers a wide array of cafes and restaurants, a variety of performing arts and a vibrant nightlife.

Activities in Wellington tend to be along more relaxing lines than the adrenaline-based adventures so prominent in the rest of the country. Walking in the hills, scenic cruises of the harbor and sea kayaking are all popular activities easily found in the city. Unpredictable conditions mean that surfing from the city of Wellington is limited, however there are other opportunities in the region.

There are a number of suburbs that attract Wellington visitors. Lyall Bay, a Southern suburb of Wellington is known for its popular surfing and safe swimming beach. Within easy reach of the city center, it offers a taste of a beachside vacation. To the Northwest is the Kapiti Island, a nature reserve. Scuba diving, sea kayaking and boating are popular ways of exploring the island, though a permit is needed to land on them. Visitors need not worry as the permits are easily arranged through local visitor information centers.

NZ Wellington references