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New Zealand’s capital has long blossomed into a charismatic, world class city.Wellington rose to the challenge and earned an upgrade to the coolest little capital in the world and the 4th top city to visit in Best in Travel 2011.
Embraced by a natural amphitheatre of ocean and hill, Wellington merges big city culture with small town charm. A lively energy pulses through what is celebrated as New Zealand’s arts, film, coffee, culinary, craft beer, events and political capital. Wellington is also known as a socially and environmentally conscious city. Declared nuclear weapon free over 30 years ago in 1982, it was also the first capital city in the southern hemisphere to gain Fair Trade status, and is home to the world-leading Zealandia sanctuary.
Long celebrated as New Zealand’s arts and culture capital, Wellington is home to the country’s major arts institutions such as Royal New Zealand Ballet, NZ Symphony Orchestra and the National Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa. Innovative specialist local museums and engaging public sculpture form a creative trail throughout the city.
The central business district is Wellington’s economic engine-room and community meeting place. The city’s reputation as New Zealand’s events capital and commitment to memorable and world class event experiences is a key contributor to the city consistently being named New Zealanders’ favourite destination in the Mood of the New Zealand Traveller survey. Great boutique and high street shopping can be found down Lambton Quay and the surrounds streets, while the bohemian quarter centred around Cuba Street and the theatre district around Courtenay Place are popular nightspots.
The production capital for The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit films and many other international blockbusters, Wellington has been described by Guillermo del Toro as Hollywood the way God intended it.
Wellington restaurants have taken out the supreme Cuisine Restaurant of the Year award more times than should be fair. Tucked between two of New Zealand’s finest wine and producing areas, the city is part of a regional of exceptional taste. Wellington is said to have more bars and restaurants than New York and is also considered the craft beer capital courtesy of a trail of specialist brew bars and a population with a palette for quality over quantity. The annual Visa Wellington On a Plate festival celebrates all things tasty in August.
Wellington’s cityscape draws from a range of architectural styles in a manner fitting of a city with something for everyone. The Victorian houses on Mount Victoria and along Oriental Bay are often noted as reminiscent of San Francisco’s Painted Ladies. The central city is home to a number of stunning heritage buildings alongside award-winning new developments. Wellington Airport’s international terminal – known as The Rock – was ranked 4th best in the world by Frommers.com in 2012 and has won no fewer than 13 awards, including the transport category in the prestigious World Architecture Festival in Barcelona.
Wellington’s compact geography makes this city one at one with its environs. Zealandia – a vision to turn the clock back 500 years to restore a piece of New Zealand to its pre-human state - was selected by UK broadsheet The Guardian as one of the top 75 green tourism companies in the world and won a prestigious Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award in 2010.