Wellington

Wellington is the political and cultural capital of New Zealand - and enjoys a friendly rivalry with Auckland, which is twice the size and not shy in stating its own case to be the capital! Situated on a large natural harbour, the city has much to offer with something of interest for everyone.

Te Papa Museum - New Zealand's pride and joy

New Zealand is rightly proud of its innovative and high tech national museum. Featuring extensive collections documenting the lives of the Maori and early settlers whilst also celebrating the beauty of the natural world. A virtual bungy jump and an earthquake simulator are the pick of the interactive activities. And if that's not enough then the museum also houses one of the country's finest restaurants.

The Parliament District

Includes the famous Beehive building, often mistaken as the parliament. The Old Government Building is one of the largest wooden structures in the world, but look closely because at first it looks like it's made of stone. Also worth a visit is the Museum of Wellington City and Sea, with its compelling account of the city's worst disaster when the Cook Strait ferry, Wahine, sank in the harbour in 1968 with the loss of 53 lives.

Outdoor Activities

Not surprisingly ‘windy Wellington' is a fine place for windsurfing, both in the harbour and along the nearby coast. The Makarara Peak Mountain Bike Park, just west of the city centre, has plenty for those who prefer two wheels. Kayaking and surfing are also popular and there is a 14m indoor climbing wall in the centre. Hire shops, tuition and tours are plentiful. There are good walks in the city and surrounding areas, including the popular Red Rocks Coastal Walk. Most take 2-4 hours to complete and route details are available at tourist centres.

A Food Lovers Paradise

Wellington is undoubtedly the best place to go for food and drink in New Zealand, with more restaurants per capita than New York, it is claimed. There is a vibrant café culture, and weekend ‘brunches' are a local speciality. The daytime food courts of Jervois Quay offer all manner of specialities from around the world, with an especially strong Asian influence.

Cable Car and Botanic Gardens

Wellington's iconic cable car has run from Lampton Quay up to Kelburn for over 100 years, with good views over the city from the lookout point and café at the top. A pleasant way to return is by strolling through the botanic gardens and then down through Thorndon, passing the Prime Minister's residence and the birthplace of New Zealand's most distinguished author, Katherine Mansfield.

Harbour Trip to Somes Island & Day Bay

For the best views of Wellington from the water and a great day out take the ferry (three departures a day) to Somes Island and Days Bay. A popular café is available at Days Bay, and there are kayaks and windsurfers for hire. A short walk from the wharf is the unusual Logan House, carefully built to blend into the landscape.