Wellington is on the south-western tip of New Zealand's north island and is the country's capital and seat of government. It is the country's second largest city, with a scenic setting between steep hills and the broad harbour of Port Nicholson.
It's a friendly city, interesting to explore, offers many outdoor activities and has an appealing combination of modern and historical architecture. Nightlife is busy, as are the café, entertainment and cultural scenes. Wellington hosts numerous arts festivals and is home to four professional theatres, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Wellington Sinfonia, Wellington Opera Company and the New Zealand Schools of Dance and Drama.
Wellington does live up to its reputation as the "Windy City", lashed most days by air funnelled through Cook Strait and amplified by high-rise buildings. However the harbour remains relatively sheltered.
Mount Victoria has superb views across Wellington, day and night, and while the wind doesn't miss it, it is the best place to see just how beautiful the city is. The streets winding to Mount Victoria's lookout have fabulous homes, cable cars and Cape Cod-style architecture, giving the city a San Francisco vibe.
While Wellington's cable car isn't the world's most exciting, it is rated as one of the city's main, and oldest, attractions. It journeys under the motorway, through three tunnels, past Kelburn Park and Victoria University and on to the top entrance of the city's Botanic Gardens. Carter Observatory and Planetarium and various walks are also there.
The Cable Car Museum houses an original cable car and trailer and the old winding equipment. It also hosts some interesting history of early Wellington.
Te Papa museum is Wellington's star attraction. Its main tasks are to preserve and present the taonga (Maori for 'treasures') of New Zealand's people. Visitors can experience all of New Zealand in one building. It's a world leader in innovative and interactive museum experiences and has achieved an international reputation for excellence.
New Zealand's geology and natural environment comes to life in Awesome Forces, Mountains to Sea and Bush City. The Maori people are celebrated in Mana Whenua. You can visit a beautiful, carved marae (meeting house) and view diverse visual culture. Visitors can sample cultural and musical performances, talks and lectures. It's a must on the to-do list when visiting Wellington.
Wellington claims to have more cafés per capita than New York and true or not, there is certainly a huge number of cafes, restaurants and bars to choose from. Courtenay Place, the main street, has many eating places and shops. Cuba Street is the alternative shopping district, with retro shops, quirky cafes, tattoo parlours and second-hand bookstores.
Hummingbird bar, café and restaurant is one of the city's most popular meeting places. Its vibe is buzzy seven days a week. They serve breakfast, light or substantial lunches, light afternoon food, pre or post-theatre suppers, all-day weekend brunches. You can dine at the bar, at a table, browse their incredible library or recline on the circular couch.
It's all very sophisticated chocolate brown, dark timber and leather dominate the interior, music is eclectic and there are some very interesting cocktails, using passionfruit vodka, fejoia vodka, eau de fleur syrup and other exotic ingredients.
Dockside's newest establishment is Red Square. The description "Russian bordello" seems apt. Décor is made up of hundreds of metres of velvet, Egyptian chandeliers and leather lounges. The bar is solid ice, (good for keeping drinks cool!) and they serve a great variety of champagne and cocktails, especially vodka-based cocktails.