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Introducing Wellington Region

If your New Zealand travels thus far have been all about wilderness and lonesome, one-horse towns, rock into Wellington for a big-city hit. Art-house cinema, hip bars, designer boutiques, live music rooms and late-night coffee shops – it’s all in ‘Windy Welly’. Wellingtonians are geographically isolated and look inwards for inspiration, a habit that fosters a red-hot arts scene. Everyone here seems to be in a band and looks a tad depleted, like they smoke and drink too much and spend their time molesting canvasses and scribbling poetry....except for the politicians of course. NZ’s capital city manages to strike a balance between creative exuberance and an institutional mindset crucial to the day-to-day running of the country. The city is neither altogether bohemian, nor overloaded with bureaucratic stuffed shirts.

Wellington is also the major travel crossroads between the North and South Islands. Travellers file through the city, giving it a free-moving, energetic vibe. Steep hills lined with gingerbread-pretty Victorian houses ascend from the harbour to spectacular view points. Wellington punches well above its weight – plan on spending a few days in the ring.

If city trappings are something you’re trying to forget, there are great outdoor destinations less than an hour away. Cruise the Kapiti Coast, with it’s low-key beachy towns and mystical Kapiti Island; or head over the Rimutaka Range into the Wairarapa, where the delicate flavours of Pinot Noir (the local grape) are apt reward for a day spent exploring the wild coast.