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Overview to Wellington: Travel Guide and Tourist Information
Tucked away at its southernmost tip, New Zealand’s capital Wellington is the first point of call for the many backpackers who come to the North Island. A fairly compact city, it still manages to pack in more than some other cities twice its size.
The ‘Miracle Mile’ of Lambton Quay forms the backbone of the city. A bustling thoroughfare, it snakes through the Central Business District and, along with Cambridge Terrace and Civic Square, provides some of the best shops and the city’s cultural pulse.
To the north of the CBD, Thorndon is the city’s historic quarter and home to the attractive Old St Paul’s Cathedral. The area is also New Zealand’s political heart, with the parliamentary building of the Beehive (on Bowen St), a notable city landmark.
Down on Cable St, Te Papa, the country’s preeminent museum, is housed in a remarkable modern building looking out across the Harbour. High above the city, on the other hand, Mount Victoria and the Botanic Gardens (reached by cable car) compete for the best views.
Wellington has some excellent cheap places to eat; the food court at Wellington Market on Wakefield St and the BNZ Centre Food Court, have a dizzying array of different Asian cuisines to choose from. Nearby Cuba St, meanwhile, is home to a number of cafés.
While Auckland might claim otherwise, Wellington holds itself up as the country’s nightlife hub. And it’s with this firmly in mind that the bars and clubs of Courtenay Place turn up the energy levels and hum with activity most nights.
Out along the coast, there’s great windsurfing at Plimmerton (the city’s not called ‘Windy Wellington’ for nothing) and surfing at Palliser Bay. For a more relaxed time sunbathing on the sands, Days Bay is just a short ferry journey from the city.
The Red Rocks coastline is particularly stunning. A dramatic rocky strip of shoreline, it gives the visitor just a small taste of what lies in store throughout the rest of the country: awe-inspiring scenery and natural beauty.