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Known as the windy city, due to its location at the very Southern tip of the North Island, Wellington is very much the cultural capital as well as the official capital city of New Zealand.
A compact city, the CBD is spread around the wide Wellington harbour area, with the main residential areas set in steep wooded hills all around, making for a very attractive city scape. Further into the hills is a network of walking and biking trails linking the city to the surrounding countryside.
Wellington is home to the national Parliament and the country’s leading cultural resource, the Te Papa museum.
Wellington, as the cultural centre of New Zealand, has a uniquely integrated mixed gay and straight bar culture, in particular around the Courtenay Place and Cuba Street quarters. There is therefore no distinctly gay scene as such.
The few specific gay venues that there are, we have listed here, together with a mention of the most mixed of the ‘straight’ venues in town, which you will no doubt feel very at home in.
As for accommodation, Wellington has a good range of hotels, and our shortlist picks out six of these. As is common throughout New Zealand, there are also several gay homestays in the area.
One in Wellington to note in particular is Koromiko Homestay – an architect designed home of three lovely guys, high up in the wooded hills above the city centre, which makes for a great and fun place to stay in the city.
Wellington International airport is a major transit point for domestic travellers, with many daily flights to Auckland and Christchurch in particular. International flights link Wellington directly to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with seasonal flights to Fiji.
The Flyer local bus service connects the short 5km distance from the airport to the city centre. A train service runs the length of the North Island, connecting Wellington directly to Auckland.
InterCity Coachlines provides regular bus services to Wellington from throughout the North Island. The InterIslander ferry connection connects Wellington to Picton at the top of the South Island.
The CBD (Central Business District) of Wellington is very compact and easy to cover on foot, with the Golden Mile being the main commercial area linear grid, and the Waterfront walk providing a scenic walking route around the central harbour area.
A good network of buses, trains and ferries provides good connections to the wider suburban areas. Wellington is also very proud of its cable car – an iconic symbol of the city, which connects Lambton Quay to Kelburn, for easy access to the Botanical Gardens.
Visit Te Papa – located on the harbour front right in the heart of the city, this world renowned and much loved national museum features well laid out contemporary displays providing an easily accessible overview of all aspects of New Zealand’s history.. a must see.
Sample the city’s cool café culture around Cuba Street and check out the local designer boutiques.
Take a trip on the famous Wellington Cable Car for city views and easy access to the lovely Wellington botanical gardens for an afternoon picnic.
Sample some of New Zealand’s best restaurants located around the Courtenay and Cuba quarters.
Check out the city’s vibrant arts scene with regular concerts, exhibitions, theatre and film festivals in top venues around the city centre.
Climb to the top of nearby Mount Victoria for a truly panoramic view over the whole city and harbour.
Take a Parliament tour, made up of Edwardian, Victorian Gothic and the unique 1970’s Beehive building.
Visit Zealandia – in the hills above the city centre, this not-for-profit organisation showcases New Zealand’s most rare wildlife in a living ecosystem reservoir location, and features a highly popular night tour. One of the best places to see kiwis in their natural habitat (the flightless birds, not the locals).
Book a Flat Earth New Zealand Experience tour – including the ever popular Lord of the Rings Middle Earth film locations.