Wellington is the capital city of the country of New Zealand and also the second most populous city in the country. It is known as Te Whanganui ā Tara in the local Maori language. The city, located in North Island, covers an area of 444 sq kms and has an approximate population of 397,900 (2013). According to legend, the area around Wellington was discovered and explored by Kupe in the 10th century, though records of Maori habitation in the area are found only from 1280. In 1839, an advance party of Europeans arrived followed by the settlers in 1840. In 1865, the capital of New Zealand was shifted to Wellington from Auckland. Since then, it houses the Parliament building, the Supreme Court, and the head offices of many government offices.
The city of Wellington is located in the southern tip of the North island of New Zealand. Most of the city is built on reclaimed land. The area is prone to earthquakes. Wellington is located on the Cook Strait which separates the North and South islands. The Rimutaka Ranges lie to the east of the city while the Kapiti Coast with its golden beach is located on the north. The narrow Miramar Peninsula forms the eastern part of the city. The Wellington Harbor is built on three islands and is the jewel of the city.
How to reach (transport)
You can travel to Wellington in the following ways:
- The most widely used way of reaching Wellington is by air. The city is served by Wellington International airport that is located in Rongotai near the Miramar Peninsula. It lies 5 kms from the city. Flights are available to a number of domestic destinations and various other destinations in Australia and also from Fiji.
- You can also travel to Wellington by boat. Cruise ships often stop at Wellington Harbor. Regular ferries are also available from Picton which is connected to Christchurch in Southern Island.
- State Highways 1 and 2 run through Wellington. Regular bus service is available to various points in North Island, but it is advisable not to attempt self driving as the road is not very wide.
- Regular trains run from Auckland and commuter trains connect Wellington to a number of nearby towns.
Wellington enjoys a temperate marine climate. Due to its latitudinal location, the city experiences strong winds, and so it is called the windy city. Summers are warm, but winters can be cold if cold southerly winds blow in. Rainfall is average and mostly concentrated in the months of June and July. Frost is common in winter.
Spring and summer are the best time to visit Wellington. However, strong winds can occur any time.
Culture (fairs and festivals) and traditions
Several festivals are celebrated in Wellington. Some of them are as follows:
- The New Zealand Festival is held every alternative year for 24 days in February and March. There are 300 indoor and outdoor events celebrated across several venues. Various visual and performing arts are presented.
- The Wellington Jazz Festival is a four-day event within the New Zealand festival featuring international and local artists.
- Te Ra o Waitangi is celebrated each year to mark the partnership between the crown and the local people called Tangata whenua. The festival begins with a dawn ceremony. Stalls selling Maori and Kiwi influenced Kai are set up and traditional Maori water sport with a ball is played.
- The New Zealand Fringe Festival is a three-week event held in February or March involving music, theater, dances, and bicycle riding. There are more than 100 exhibits and activities.
- Visa Wellington On A Plate is a major food festival held in August where local foods are presented and great deals are offered.
There are several places to visit in Wellington. Some of them are as follows:
- The Wellington cable car offers a fun ride and is the best way to see the city.
- There are several museums. Te Papa is the national museum. The Museum of Wellington City and Sea presents an account of the history of the city while the City Gallery runs various exhibitions of local art.
- Zealandia or the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary is the best place to see the endemic species and wildlife in New Zealand.
- There are several lookout points in the city that offer great views. These include Mount Victoria, Mount Kaukau, Wright’s Hill, and Massey Memorial.
Wellington offers a variety of accommodation to travelers with varied budgets. The 5-star hotels include Bolton and Intercontinental while the 4-star hotels include City Life, Travelodge, Museum Art, West Plaza, Quality, and Wellesley Boutique. Those eyeing a budget hotel can choose the 3-star hotels such as Trinity, Ibis, and Mercure. Besides, there are several good motels like Marksman Motor Inn, The Hallswell Lodge, etc.
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Last Updated : December 21, 2013