The "Capital City" situated at the foot of the North Island and built of the hills surrounding a natural harbour, and the centre of political power in New Zealand and home to "Te Papa - Museum of New Zealand".


The Wellington region stretches northward from the capital city up the western coast, and encompasses the cities of Lower and Upper Hutt to the north of Wellington Harbour. The region is bordered by the Tasman Sea to the west, the Cook Strait to the south, and the mountainous Rimutaka Ranges to the north and east. The region is typically coastal, with a mild temperate climate.

Two main routes run northward from Wellington. State Highway 1 runs alongside the western coastline past Porirua City, the region's second largest centre. Nearby Titahi Bay has a lovely beach and is a popular surfing spot. To the north is the picturesque Pukerua Bay. From here, the road follows the rugged coastline to Paekakariki, which has some great cafes and a long sandy beach. Paraparaumu, to the north, is dominated by nearby Kapiti Island. The island is now a native bird sanctuary, and visitors to the island are welcome, though restricted. Lindale Farm Park, a short drive north of Paraparaumu, has a farm walk and a selection of specialty shops. Nearby Waikanae has a long beach and an excellent wildlife sanctuary. Further north is the Southward Car Museum, home to a large selection of vintage cars and motorbikes. Otaki, a few kilometers further north, is the western gateway to the mountainous Tararua Ranges. To the south of the town is Otaki Gorge, a popular spot for kayaking and rafting. In the north of the region is Levin, a bustling town with a selection of shops, an excellent children’s playground, and the nearby long sandy beaches of Waitarere.

On the northern shores of Wellington Harbour is Petone, the site where the early settlers to the region first settled. The settlement has attractive old buildings and is home to the Petone Settlers' Museum, which features articles from the days of the early settlers to the region. Lower Hutt is a busy centre with an extensive selection of shops, cafes and restaurants. Its Dowse Art Museum features a diverse collection of New Zealand art. To the north, Upper Hutt has an excellent aquatic centre and children’s playground. The nearby Railway Museum at Silverstream has restored working steam engines; most Sundays the attraction is open for a ‘steam up’. A short drive from Upper Hutt is the popular Staglands Wildlife Park, which features a selection of New Zealand wildlife, and the beautiful native bush of Kaitoke Forest Park.

In the east of the region is the pretty settlement of Eastbourne, with a selection of arts and craft shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. An excellent excursion from Wellington is a short ferry trip across the harbour to the cafes of nearby Days Bay. The Rimutaka Forest Park, in the easternmost part of the region, has a network of walking tracks and huts, and is also a popular camping spot.

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