Wellington is New Zealand’s Capital City where Parliament, the Governor General and foreign Embassies are all located here.
The city has a population of around 400,000 with the City spread out on a relatively narrow strip of land that stretches around Wellington Harbour with mountains and hills creating a backdrop to the City.
The main Railway Station is located in the heart of the city, and the airport is about 6 kilometres away. Most of the Hotels and places of interest are in the centre of the city next to the harbour, and it is an easy city to walk around to get to know the city.
They call Wellington “Windy Wellington” – and in certain parts of the city next to the footpath there are ropes to grip to stop you being blown away, and if you see people wrapping their arms around a street pole, chances are they are hoping not to be blown off their feet. The winds do however make for great people watching to see their reactions to the wind gusts, and if it is wet too, the umbrella dancing takes on a Charlie Chaplin moment. It is easy to get out of the wind however and pop into one of the many bars or cafés that are in and around the city centre.
The markets, the food, the beer, coffee and street atmosphere all make for a great city, with the harbour creating its own magic too.
Some of the main attractions in Wellington are –
LEAVING THE NORTH ISLAND and Wellington –
While Wellington is certainly a great city with lots to see, the best part of your trip to New Zealand may well be leaving Wellington behind and either taking a Cruise Ship to the South Island from Wellington or the Inter Island Ferry that leaves Wellington Harbour heading to Picton at the top of the South Island.
The Inter–Island Ferries (See www.interislander.co.nz) have three ships in their fleet and they leave from the terminal close to Westpac Stadium off Aotea Quay and head to Picton on the South Island. There are around 11 crossings per day on one of the three Ferries (Arahura, Aratere, Kaitaki) carrying both cars and passengers and on board you have lounges to relax in, the decks to wander and cabins too if you choose, with meals available, a café bar and even a theatre to watch a movie on the 3 hour voyage.
The other Ferry Company is Bluebridge Ferries – See www.bluebridge.co.nz that also leaves from Wellington to Picton and carries both passengers and cars, as well as bikes, motorbikes, and Motorhomes too. Check their timetable for fares and times. They are also located just past the Westpac Stadium and close to the Wellington Waterfront Motorhome Park.
From the terminal you head out of Wellington Harbour past Barrett Reef (sometimes visible) and across Cook Straight to enter the Marlborough Sounds – a beautiful long Sound, then into Queen Charlotte Sound and Picton where the Ferry will berth.
In Maori legend, Kupe, the Great Maori Warrior fought with an octopus here, and the fingers of water were formed as the tentacles of the octopus were dragged away, creating the four Sounds that form this remarkable part of the New Zealand coastline.
Standing on the ship’s deck it is easy to imagine the battle that took place between Kupe and the Octopus, but the tranquillity of the water, the ridges of green that rise from the water’s edge, with the ferry itself being the only sign of civilisation combine to create a most memorable journey.
Soon you will be in Picton, on the South Island and a new adventure begins…. See South Island section of this website.