Wellington Travel Guide

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The cable car and view from Kelburn.

The cable car and view from Kelburn.

Adam Fitting

The Greater Wellington metropolitan area (population 400,000) surrounds and  includes Wellington City, New Zealand's capital, which is a superbly compact city. Set on the shores of a deep harbour and surrounded by a natural amphitheatre of wooded hills, it is New Zealand's trendy weekend destination. It has the most vibrant entertainment district in the country, where you can find some of the best bars, cafes, restaurants and theatres.

Wellington boasts an eclectic mix of shops. With a host of fashion stores and the country's premier department store, the city offers some of New Zealand's best, if not most affordable, shopping opportunities.

With around 400 cafes and restaurants, Wellington's inner city has the highest concentration of eating establishments in New Zealand, earning it the tag 'café capital of New Zealand'.

The city center permanently hosts the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and an opera house. Four professional theatres and a dozen amateur companies operate year-round, so there are live shows every night. A wide variety of live music from jazz to rap can be heard at venues throughout the city. Wellington is also the home of Te Papa, New Zealand's national museum and marae, an incredible blend of cultural heritage, architectural splendor and earthquake resistant engineering.

Posessing a well developed public transport network, travel to most of the urban area does not require a car.

Just 45 minutes by car or rail from Wellington, Kapiti Coast is the recreational playground for the lower North Island, with both beaches and mountains readily accessible. Choose from white water rafting, safe swimming, boating, hunting and hiking, golfing, horse trekking and bush walks.

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