Wellington, New Zealand - Stein Travel
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Wellington

The capital city of New Zealand, Wellington is located at the southern tip of the North Island. It is situated on a splendid harbour and hemmed in by steep hills, creating a compact inner city centre with a mix of historic and modern buildings. It is the second largest city in the country, the energetic centre for culture and arts, and the entertainment, commercial and political capital of New Zealand with an air of pronounced sophistication and vibrancy. Apart from its importance as the capital, it is the main departure point for the South Island.

Also called 'Windy Wellington', it lives up to its name especially in winter when the lashing winds from the Cook Strait whistle through the wind funnels created by the high-rise buildings of the central business district. The bustling, pretty waterfront area is a sheltered refuge with a graceful promenade, featuring shops, restaurants and various leisure activities. Brightly coloured sails scud across the harbour, the reliable wind providing excellent sailing and windsurfing opportunities. The ferry to the picturesque Days Bay, one of Wellington's best swimming beaches, affords excellent views of the city from the water. Dominating the waterfront is the Te Papa Museum, the pride and joy of the nation that embodies the quintessence of New Zealand and its people.

In the city centre the Parliamentary District is the architectural masterpiece of Wellington, including the Old Government Building, the second largest wooden building in the world; the unmistakable modernist Beehive, the executive offices of Parliament; Parliament House and the Victorian Gothic National Library.

The cable car takes people up to the Botanic Gardens for vistas of the city centre and across the harbour to the Hutt Valley, one of the scenic locations used in the filming of 'Lord of the Rings'. Another film site is Mount Victoria, offering sweeping panoramic views of the city and its suburbs, the surrounding hills and bays, and the harbour.

Information & Facts

Climate

Wellington's climate is mild, with plenty of wind. Summers are mild and sunny and winters are wet and mild. The average temperature in January and February (the two hottest months) is 61°F (16°C) and in July, the coldest month, the average temperature is 47°F (8°C).

Getting Around

Wellington is very compact and it is easy to explore on foot, but the public transport option is a good one, for the city has an excellent system. Stagecoach is the name of the local bus service, which operates between 7am and 11.30pm each day, offering a Daytripper pass. The pass is also valid on the City Circular service, a hop-on-hop-off bus, which does the round of the top ten sightseeing spots every ten minutes. Taxis are another option, plentiful and convenient. A cable car connects downtown Wellington to the Botanic Gardens on the hilltop. Ferries ply between Wellington harbour and the village of Eastbourne. Those wishing to explore the outlying regions like the Hutt Valley, Wairarapa wine country, or Kapiti Coast can make use of the Tranz Metro train service.

Language

The official languages in New Zealand are English and Maori.

Money

Local currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD), divided into 100 cents. Most businesses accept MasterCard and Visa, and while Diners Club and American Express are also widely accepted in the main tourist centres, they might have limited acceptance elsewhere. Travellers cheques and foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and some hotels. ATMs can be found in all towns and cities.

Night Life

Wellington hosts a vibrant nightlife scene with a selection of pubs, bars and clubs all within a relatively short distance of one another in the city. Whether you're after a big night out, dance clubs, live music, chilled bars or quirky decor, Wellington has something on offer for everyone.

San Francisco Bath House is a popular live music venue in Wellington and plays host to a number of local bands, while Mighty Mighty is another great venue, with interesting decor, for those wishing to catch a live band. Good Luck is more suited to those who enjoy alternative music genres, it has a great dance floor and a chill-out area. Hope Bros is a trendy restaurant by day, and at night the tables are cleared and packed away to make room for a soon to be packed dance floor. Finally, the drum and bass scene is becoming more and more popular in New Zealand and Sandwiches is the place to go if drum and bass is your thing.

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