Capital city, political centre of New Zealand and hub of the arts, culture and fine dining, Wellington counts a population of around 350,000 inhabitants, the second largest city in the country after its rival Auckland. It is the southernmost capital city in the world and was recently voted the “coolest little capital in the world”.
Surrounded by lush green hillsides, the city enjoys a scenic setting with a picturesque natural harbour and lively waterfront. It lies on a geological fault line and was rocked by the most powerful earthquake recorded in New Zealand history in January 1855, which had a profound impact on the development of the city centre. As a result of its geological location, New Zealand is a world leader in earthquake-prone building design. In both Te Papa and Parliament it is possible to see state of the art earthquake-proofing building technology. Wellington has benefited from high levels of investments in recent years and combines the best of urban architecture, a mix of historic stone and timber buildings, glass-fronted high-rises and elegant residential villas.
Bustling and energetic, Wellington enjoys a vibrant arts scene, culture and nightlife. Benefiting from its multicultural background it offers a huge range of culinary experiences and is known for its fine dining. Wellington also houses some of the country's best art galleries, clubs, cafes and fashion houses. Wellington has become a popular tourist attraction since the filming of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, and more recently The Hobbit. Colloquially known as Wellywood, Wellington is the base for Weta Digital an industry leader in special effects with 5 academy awards to its name. Wellington is also renowned for its month-long International Arts Festival, World of WearableArt show (WOW) and Dragon Boat Race.
A short drive from the city centre, visitors enjoy the beautiful beaches on Kapiti Coast, the bird sanctuary on Kapiti Island and some of New Zealand's finest wineries and vineyards. With its ferry terminal and international airport, Wellington is also the main departure point to explore the South Island.
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