Wellington, New Zealand has been highlighted by Lonely Planet Guides as possibly the “coolest little capitol in the world “. The city is recognized for it’s compact size, international cafe and arts culture as well as the diverse outdoor activities available on its doorstep. In it’s publication “Best in Travel in 2011” it cites Wellington as number 4 in it’s top ten cities in the world to visit.
With a population of just under 480,00 the city of Wellington manages to have more restaurants and bars per person than New York City. There is a well established “cafe culture” in Wellington with local foodies staying abreast of new food trends and new restaurants and cafes opening with frequency across the city. Downtown Wellington’s diminutive size makes the city a walkers delight with most major sites walk able from the city’s hotels. With its harbor location a stroll on a sunny day along the Oriental Parade is a waterside pleasure. Popular seaside cafes are located on the Parade along with one of the capitol’s favorite ice cream purveyors.
Wellington hotels offer a range of accommodation from large luxury hotels to intimate B&B’s. A choice of location is tied to a visitors planned activities. Tourists on a short stay may prefer to stay close to the waterfront with easy access to TePapa the national museum, the theaters and restaurants of Courtney Place and the funky vibe of the Cuba Street shopping area. With its compact center and good public transport, business visitors can concentrate on CBD hotels without losing access to the rest of the city’s attractions.
Coffee lovers will be well satisfied with the city boasting at least ten independent coffee roasters supplying local cafes. Visitors may find themselves rubbing elbows in the city’s cafes with Sir Peter Jackson or others from the local film industry “Wellywood”. Lord of the Rings fans have their pick of a number of local tour operators offering “Rings” tours and a visit to the “Weta Cave” at Sir Peter Jackson’s Miramar Studios provides a mini museum with movie memorabilia and a behind the scenes film of Weta productions along with movie related merchandise.
The city’s cable car whisks visitors from downtown Lambton Quay up to the lovely Botanic Gardens with its panoramic views of the city and harbor. Visitors can stop at the cafe for a coffee or a light meal and in summer a series of twilight concerts are offered. At the top of the Botanic Gardens is Tinakori Road with a pleasant mix of restaurants, cafe’s and eclectic shops.
Culture vultures will want to devote at least a half-day to the museums and galleries in downtown Wellington. Te Papa Tangarewa, the Museum of New Zealand should be a first stop. The museum hosts collections of both Maori and European cultures. The City Gallery provides exhibitions of modern art from both New Zealand and international artists. In addition there is the National Portrait Gallery, the Museum of City and Sea and numerous commercial art galleries in the downtown area.
Rugby fans will be excited to find that Wellington will host 7 matches of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The matches will be played at the Wellington Regional Stadium in downtown Wellington in September and October 2011. From culture, food and wine to sports Wellington, New Zealand lives up to it’s title as the “coolest little capitol in the world”.