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New Zealand's capital Wellington is not the country's largest city (that honour goes to Auckland), but it's a vibrant city with a thriving café scene and many great museums, galleries and music venues.
"Windy Wellington" is set along the Cook Strait at the south-western tip of North Island. It's a steep, packed city; activity is centered around the CBD, where a large proportion of Wellingtonians work.
Wellington's CBD is quite compact, so you can reach any part of it on foot. It is divided into four main districts:
Wellington regularly has sporting, theatre, music and dance events, so be sure to check this website to find out what's on while you're there.
Some of the notable festivals to keep an eye out for:
Wellington is a windy city with a year-round temperate climate. Summer days average around 20 °C, while winter dips to around 10 °C. The city gets about 50 inches of precipitation a year, with higher rainfall in winter.
|Avg Max||21.3 °C||21.1 °C||19.8 °C||17.3 °C||14.8 °C||12.8 °C||12 °C||12.7 °C||14.2 °C||15.9 °C||17.8 °C||19.6 °C|
|Avg Min||14.4 °C||14.3 °C||13.5 °C||11.3 °C||9.1 °C||7.3 °C||6.4 °C||6.9 °C||8.3 °C||9.7 °C||11.3 °C||13.2 °C|
|Rainfall||67 mm||48.4 mm||76.1 mm||86.8 mm||99.3 mm||113.4 mm||110.8 mm||106 mm||81.6 mm||80.8 mm||73.8 mm||74.1 mm|
Wellington International Airport is a small airport, but there are several international flights as well as a growing number of domestic flights. Air New Zealand flies to Auckland, Brisbane, Christchurch, Dunedin, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Sydney, Nadi (Fiji). Air Nelson flies to Nelson, New Plymouth, Tauranga, Hamilton, Napier, Rotorua, Westport and Invercargill. Eagle Airways flies to Whangarei, Whakatane, Gisborne, Taupo, Wanganui, Palmerston North, Nelson, Blenheim, Westport and Timaru and Mount Cook Airline (part of Air New Zealand) flies to Hamilton, Christchurch, Queenstown and Dunedin
Other airlines include Air2there (Blenheim, Nelson, Paraparaumu), Air Chathams (Tuuta on the Chatham Islands), Sounds Air (Blenheim, Kaikoura, Nelson, Picton, Capital Air (Takaka), Virgin Australia (Auckland, Brisbane, Christchurch, Sydney), Qantas (Melbourne, Sydney), Jetstar Airways (Auckland, Christchurch) and Capital Air (Takaka, seasonal only).
The Capital Connection travels from Palmerston North every weekday morning and returns evenings.
Tranz Metro provides frequent daily trains from the Wairarapa and the Kapiti Coast.
Two main roads lead into Wellington from the rest of North Island. Highway number 2 leads from Wellington to Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Masterton, and continuing north to Napier. Highway 1 runs parallel to the west coast of southern North Island to Palmerston North.
If you're coming from South Island, you can drive to Picton and take your car on the ferry with you.
There are many different long-distance bus providers which operate to and from Wellington. All are listed on the Bus and Coach Association New Zealand website. The two main nationwide bus companies are Intercity and Nakedbus.
Interislander operates a regular ferry service between Wellington on the North Island and Picton on the South Island. Bluebridge also operates between the North (Wellington) and South Islands (Picton) with up to four sailings a day between the two cities.
Some of the options to rent cars include the following companies:
Frequent trains linking the city centre to suburbs and outlying areas are provided by Tranz Metro. They are relatively cheap and convenient.
Many of the best cafés and restaurants are centered around Cuba Street, Manners Street and Courtenay Place. Here are a few specific suggestions:
More budget options in Wellington include:
|Base Wellington||21-23 Cambridge Terrace||Hostel||79|
|Downtown Backpackers||1 Bunny St||HOSTEL||77|
|Lodge in the City||152 Taranaki Street Te Aro||Hostel||70|
|Moana Lodge||49 Moana Road, Plimmerton Wellington||Hostel||82|
|Worldwide Backpackers||291 The Terrace||Hostel||77|
|Nomads Capital Backpackers||118 Wakefield Street PO Box 11-247||Hostel||80|
|Wellywood Backpackers||58 Tory Street||Hostel||-|
|YHA Wellington City||292 Wakefield St (Cnr Cambridge Tce)||Hostel||85|
|Quality Hotel On Thorndon||20 Glenmore Street Thorndon||Hotel||-|
|The Cambridge Hotel & Backpackers||28 Cambridge Terrace Wellington||HOSTEL||78|
|Trek Global||9 O'Reily Ave||HOSTEL||78|
|Rosemere Backpackers and Budget Lodge||6 MacDonald Crescent City||Hostel||-|
If you have your own computer, you can sign up with CaféNET. This allows you to buy credit (as you would on a prepaid phone) and log on at dozens of locations around the city centre. It costs $10 for a day pass, $50 for a week, or $20 for 70MB. You can pay by credit card or buy cards over the counter at these locations.
Wi-Fi access is getting more and more common in for example coffee places or fast food chains. It is becoming more common for Wi-Fi to be provided at hotels and motels, though sometimes at a fee. Wireless Hotspots are located in many cities and towns all over New Zealand from dedicated Wireless providers from whom you can buy connect time. Many camping holiday parks also have such services available.
See also International Telephone Calls
Dial 111 for emergency police, fire or ambulance services. The worldwide emergency number for GSM mobile phones, 112, can also be used.
The country code is 64.
Most payphones in New Zealand require the use of phone cards for payment and it is getting harder to find payphones that accept coins. As phone cards are available at a lot of outlets, they are easy to purchase and very handy as a backup in case of emergencies. Many of them also accept creditcards. Local calls are free from residential phones and charges for calling outside that area can be found at the front of the regional phone books, amongst many other services.
Mobile telephone coverage is effectively national in near urban areas although the mountainous terrain means that outside the urban areas, and especially away from the main highway system, coverage does have huge dead patches. Do not rely on mobile phones in hilly or mountainous terrain. Mobile telephone users can call 555 only to report Non-emergency traffic safety incidents, such as a breakdown, road hazard or non-injury car crash, to the Police. There are currently three major mobile carriers in New Zealand.
A prepaid sim-card connection pack with $10 credit from Telecom or Vodafone costs around $30, and prepaid sim-cards from 2degrees cost $10. Telecom has broader coverage in remote areas away from major cities compared to Vodafone and 2degrees.
Most areas have dedicated PostShops, however stamps can also be bought at grocery shops, supermarkets and book stores. There are two main formats for domestic mail, namely Standard Post and Fast Post. Fast Post is used next day delivery between major towns and cities (two days from rural areas), whereas Standard Post will take a few working days to deliver nationwide. Standard costs NZ$0.50 for letters/postcards (NZ$0.80 for larger envelopes), Fast Post costs NZ$0.80 (NZ$1.20 for larger envelopes). International mail takes about 3-6 days to Australia (NZ$1.50), and 6-12 days to Europe, Asia and the United States (NZ$2). Post boxes are white, red and black and can be found in many areas throughout towns and cities, including information about when their contents are collected. Most post offices and smaller post shops have opening hours from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00am to 12:30pm on Saturday. You can buy stamps here, or at newsagents and general stores. For parcels, you can use the NZ Post or otherwise courier companies like TNT, DHL, UPS or FedEx.
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