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WELLINGTON REGION



 

           Volcanic hills circumscribe its nearly circular harbor, protecting Wellington from the stormy currents of the Cook Strait that marks the southern terminus of the North Island. At the base of the hills glass and steel high-rises form the curtain wall of New Zealand's modern capital. Further uphill and away from the harbor apex are tight rows of classic wooden Wellington townhouses colorful and prim in bright pastels and gleaming alabaster. The business of government has not hi-jacked this very residential city, but reinforces its place as a cultural center with some of New Zealand's most important museums and theaters with a lifestyle of casual elegance reflected in its affinity for ocean sailing, clubby golf, fashionable shops, excellent regional wines, fine dining, and smart open-air cafés.

ABOVE: 'ORIENTAL BAY TOWNHOUSES' — PHOTO WELLINGTONNZ.COM

New Zealand's Capital Has
Unique Style & Casual Elegance.

          Wellington and its region offer great museums, a magnificent harbor, miles of empty  beaches, world class golf, trendy boutique wineries, an important off-shore wildlife preserve, and connections to the South Island.

Attractions in Wellington city

Wellington - city & harbor view at dusk from Mt. Victoria. Photo credit: Ian Trafford - Tourism New Zealand.
Wellington — city & harbor at dusk from Mt. Victoria
Photo credit: Ian Trafford - Tourism New Zealand

• Wellington's harbor district is now the city's central attraction, offering several fine museums, restaurants, a broad bathing beach, kayaking in the harbor, and strolling along the harbor's long promenade.

• New Zealand's parliament building, known as the Beehive for it unusual architecture may be visited.

• SHOPPING & DINING: center city Wellington offers many stores, galleries, restaurants, and open-air cafés.
-

 

• THE BOTANIC GARDENS: take Wellington's famous cable car up Kelburn Hill to explore the city's famous hilltop Botanic Gardens.

• MT. VICTORIA: A high point (literally) for many visitors is the winding drive up Mt. Victoria to the park at the top. Park the car. Enjoy a walk with an unforgettable view of Wellington, its harbor, and the nearly surrounding barrier mountains.

Wellington: cable car on Kelburn Hill by Botanic Gardens. Photo credit: Ian Trafford - Tourism New Zealand.
Wellington: cable car by Botanic Gardens
Photo credit: Ian Trafford - Tourism New Zealand 

 

Attractions outside Wellington city

Kapiti Island gives its name to the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand north of Wellington. The island is a noted nature reserve and bird sanctuary. Photo © Home At First.
Kapiti Island gives its name to the west coast
of New Zealand north of Wellington. The
island is a nature reserve & bird sanctuary.

Photo © Home At First

        Broad, empty beaches, windswept dunes, links golf courses, and a noted wildlife sanctuary are found along the Kapiti Coast north of Wellington.
        The valleys east of Wellington offer outdoor activities and a small but notable wine producing region at Martinborough.

• GOLF ON THE KAPITI COAST: The west coast north of Wellington offers 3 excellent golf courses: Paraparaumu Beach, Levin Links, and Waikanae G.C.-

 

 

-• KAPITI ISLAND NATURE RESERVE: The important offshore Kapiti Island nature preserve and bird sanctuary offers only 50 visitors each day the opportunity to see many of New Zealand's unusual birds in pristine habitat. A visitor's permit must be secured before making boat reservations to the island.

• North and east of Wellington are scenic parklands for hiking and picnicking in the hills of the Upper Hutt Valley, and the small but well-respected regional Wineries clustered in the town of Martinborough.

 

Lodgings: Top quality bed and breakfast lodgings in and near the lively center of Wellington. All HOME AT FIRST Wellington lodgings are in locations ideal for exploring Wellington city and the region. Regardless of location, all HOME AT FIRST lodgings provide quality accommodations (as a minimum: comfortable bedroom with private bathroom), a scrumptious breakfast daily, and gracious hosts eager to help their guests enjoy a successful visit to Wellington city and region.

See Sample WELLINGTON CITY Lodgings.

Classic central Wellington town house Bed & Breakfast lodging. Photo © Home At First.
Classic central Wellington townhouse
bed & breakfast lodging

Photo © Home At First

 

 Getting to/from the Wellington region:

Boarding the Air New Zealand domestic shuttle at Wellington Airport. The scenic flight to Nelson on the South Island takes just 35 minutes. Photo © Home At First.
Boarding Air New Zealand's domestic  shuttle
at Wellington Airport. The scenic flight to
Nelson on the South Island takes just 35
minutes and is rarely affected by weather.
Flying does cost slightly more, but the
convenience, comfort, and reliability
make flying the better choice.

Photo © Home At First

          HOME AT FIRST guests will travel by rental car, normally coming from Rotorua/Taupo or from Hawke's Bay. Expect a scenic 5-8 hour drive from these points, depending upon route taken, origination point, and destination. Most guests will depart Wellington by air for the South Island of New Zealand, after dropping their rental cars at the Wellington airport.
          Alternatively, ferry services depart Wellington harbor for Picton on the South Island several times each day. Ferries, however, require 3-3½ hours for the crossing, which can be uncomfortable (or even cancelled) by conditions on the notorious Cook Strait. From Picton the drive to Nelson takes at least 2 hours; to Christchurch at

 

least 5 hours.

Getting around Wellington & the region

• GUESTS STAYING IN Wellington can use rental car or park the car and use local buses for in-town transport. Area roads are well-maintained and well-signed, but — especially during the commuter rush — heavily traveled. Visitors can use public transportation (bus & train) in and around Wellington to avoid parking and traffic congestion. Trains operate frequently (usually hourly) and are fed by local buses on coordinated schedules. Fares are reasonable.

Colorful houses line Wellington's Oriental Parade. The winding, harborside boulevard is often crowded with cars. Photo © Home At First.
Colorful houses line Wellington's Oriental Parade. The
 winding, harborside boulevard is heavily traveled.
Wellington, like San Francisco, is crowded among
several steep hills that line a great harbor. In
town, expect hilly driving, a warren of one-way
streets, limited parking, and lots of traffic
.

Photo © Home At First

 

Rainy Day Activities

Te Papa, New Zealand's national museum. Photo © Home At First.

New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa, is
located along the harbor promenade on the
 Wellington waterfront. In good weather a
visit to Te Papa is easily combined with a
stroll along the waterfront and visits to
other museums and restaurants.

Photo © Home At First

          Wellington's climate is normally friendly, but on the odd rainy days the city has plenty to offer, especially:

• TE PAPA: New Zealand's national museum is a treasure house of all things Kiwi, including a wealth of native Maori history and culture. Plan to give the 5-story museum at least 2-4 hours. Open daily. Admission is free, but parking is not.

• THE BEEHIVE: New Zealand's parliament building offers free hour-long guided tours, plus the chance to observe the House of Representa- tives in action. Admission is free, but parking is not. Open daily, except holidays, but best to visit on weekdays, when the House may be in session.

 

 

Learn more about HOME AT FIRST's travel program to: NEW ZEALAND.

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