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Top city spots in Wellington, New Zealand

Small but beautifully formed, Wellington is New Zealand’s wonderful and welcoming capital city. Visit this lovely waterfront metropolis and enjoy Māori heritage, an unbeatable café culture, stunning vistas, and thrilling connections to The Lord of the Rings.

This is a national capital with a working harbour, and both city and port go by the name of Te Whanganui-a-Tara in the local Polynesian language. Tourists will be captivated by the endless scenic views, sandy beaches, and traditional timber houses that comprise the region’s landscape. Developed near the southernmost point of New Zealand’s North Island, Wellington holds a prominent position on the Cook Strait. The stretch of water, known as Te Moana-o-Raukawa in Māori, lies between the city’s coastline and the shores of South Island. If you fancy a trip to South Island at any point there are regular ferries available from Wellington across to Picton. The crossing takes around 3.5 hours and onboard services often include quality dining, children’s entertainment, and movies. The panoramic views from the deck are incredible! Back on the streets of Wellington one of the most popular attractions is the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Fondly referred to as Te Papa, this remarkable venue showcases New Zealand and tells the history of Māori and European settlers and how they shaped their nation. Highlights include the Earthquake House, the Mana Whenua exhibition, and the Arts Te Papa galleries that celebrate the work of New Zealand and Pacific Island artists. Every visit to Wellington should include a ride on the iconic red Wellington Cable Car. The historic funicular railway will take you from Lambton Quay up to the suburb of Kelburn that is nestled in the hills overlooking the city. This journey is the best way to appreciate the beautiful Wellington landscape. It also provides access to great venues including the Botanic Garden, Space Place & Carter Observatory, and Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary. And of course, there is JRR Tolkien's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. You don’t have to be a fan of Peter Jackson’s filmic interpretations of the classic books to enjoy the places in Wellington where they were filmed. You can just appreciate them for their natural beauty. Whatever the incentive check out the online guides that will direct you to the locations that became the backdrop to many of the Middle Earth adventures.