Wellington – the Head of Maui’s Fish

Wellington – the Head of Maui’s Fish

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The picturesque capital city of New Zealand has its origins in Maori Legends. A Maori legend says that the name for Wellington is ‘Te Upoko te Ika a Maui’. Translated in Maori language it means ‘ the head of Maui’s fish.’ ‘Te Whanganui -a- Tara’ is yet another Maori name for Wellington, Tara being the son of Whatonga a Polynesian who had migrated to Hawkes Bay and whose son had discovered the pretty harbor on the Southern tip of the North Island. Today many Maori historical sites are found all over Wellington and the Maori themselves are included in the ethnic fabric of the multicultural city.

Wellington is often referred to as ‘Windy Wellington’ owing to the strong wintry winds that blow over from Cooks Strait and are channeled through the wind tunnels created by the skyscrapers of the business district. Wellington is the access point to the Southern Island of New Zealand. Wellington, in addition to being the political capital is a culturally rich and sophisticated city. It is situated in a natural harbor and has a water front promenade which is a hub of activity with shops, restaurants and bars.

Climate
A flag is flown from the Beehive which is a modern building alongside the Parliament house and the Victorian Gothic National Library. Different sized flags are flown to indicate wind speed and direction with a large flag being flown on calm days and a small one on windy days. The maximum temperature in summer which is in January (New Zealand being located in the Southern Hemisphere) is around 20C or 69F with minimum temperatures being around 13C or 56F. Winter temperatures range from 11C or 52F to 6C 43F. The winter temperatures rarely fall below 0c.

Getting to Wellington
By Air

Wellington International Airport is situated 8 km south east of the city in Rongotai .The speediest route to the airport is through Mount Victoria. The Airport handles both domestic and international traffic. Landing in Wellington on a windy day can be quite an adventure. Air New Zealand, British Airways, Singapore Airlines and Qantas are some of the international carriers serving Wellington. The Airport has all the amenities expected of a modern airport.

There exists a Shuttle bus to the city and the railway station called Super Shuttle and costs around $NZ 15. Another express bus called the Stagecoach Flyer departs every 30 minutes for a 45 minute journey into the city and costs around NZ9 for an all day star pass. This service operates year round.

By Boat
Regular Ferries between Wellington and Picton are operated by two companies Interislander and Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferry. These ferries connect for onward journeys by train and bus services. Cruise ships often make Wellington a port of call.

By Road
By Car

Wellington is reached by two highways State highways 1&2. The distance between Auckland and Wellington is 655 km and it is a 7-8 drive on the motorway which leads into the city.

By Coach
There are two main bus companies for long distance journeys which operate out of the Railway station on Waterloo Quay. Intercity and Newman’s ,other coach companies such are Kiwi Experience and Magic Travelers Network also provide bus journeys to Wellington from other parts of the country.

By Train
Long distance trains operating from the Railway station on Waterloo Quay link Wellington to other parts of New Zealand.

Wellington is served by an excellent Public transport system which makes sightseeing in the city a breeze. The city is very compact and amenable for a good walk about.

Getting around Welllington
By Bus

A Day tripper pass is the best bet for tourist to get access to the City Circular Bus and Stagecoach Wellington (Local bus service) routes 1 and 49. It provides unlimited travel for the day. The City Circular is a bright yellow hop on and off bus which does the rounds of the top ten sightseeing spots of the city. Newlands Coach Service operates on routes to the northern suburbs

By Taxi
Taxis are easily available and plentiful and provide an alternative mode of transport for travel in the city. Taxis can also be called for an additional charge of NZ$1. Black and Gold Taxis and Wellington Combined Taxis are the two Taxi companies operating in Wellington. The initial flag fall is usually $2.

By Train
Tranz metro is the intercity train service from Wellington to other cities. Tranz metro trains use the railway station on Bunny Street.

By Car
Driving in Wellington can be avoided as traffic can be congested during the working week. There are 10 multi storey car parks in the city as well as metered street side parking but even then parking can be difficult to find. Weekends parking is free but with a two hour time limit which when exceeded can result in hefty fines.

By Cable Car
Cable Car service from downtown Wellington is available for the Botanic Gardens attraction with a stop at Victoria University. Tickets are NZ$3.60 for a round drip with discounts for children and senior citizens.

By Ferry
The Dominion Post Ferry operates a service between Queen’s Wharf, Somes Island, East Bourne and Days Bay Wharf. Days Bay is the best swimming beach of Wellington and affords gorgeous views of the city. Days Bay is a 30 minute ride by ferry and the fare for a one way trip is NZ$8.

Main Neighborhoods of Wellington
Much of the city is built on reclaimed land and the original shoreline of 1840 is indicated by plaques on Lambton Quay which is Wellingtons Central Business District or CBD. A massive Earthquake in 1855 caused the land to rise up and thus began the practice of reclaiming the land from the sea. Thorndon is a neighborhood on the fault line but real estate values here have not been affected. Thorndon has several historical buildings and great views, it is a premier neighborhood of the city. Mount Victoria is another sought after neighborhood, quiet and full of wooden homes ,it is close to the Courtenay Place area of town. Kelbourn is on the Cable Car run from Lambton Quay and has great views of the city. Oriental Bay is the waterfront neighbor hood of the city with hotels and high rise condominiums dominating the Oriental Parade promenade.

To See
An invigorating city Wellington is hot bed of cultural activity and there is much to see and do in this vibrant city which is full of vigor and vitality.

City Gallery Wellington Wake Field Street

It doesn’t have a permanent exhibit but is a showcase for avant garde contemporary art. It has paintings, sculpture, multi media installations, it provides a peek into New Zealand’s contemporary art scene . It has a licensed bar, café and restaurant.

The Dowse, Lower Hutt 20 Km from Wellington
The Dowse Art Museum displays New Zealand arte facts such as textiles, ceramics, glass wood carvings and photography much of it is aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

Karori Wildlife Sanctuary 31 Waipu Road
A conservatory effort for native flora and fauna is made up of a Sanctuary which comprises an old water catchment area surrounded by a predator proof fence. This is a haven for endangered species of birds. Native wildlife such as Kiwis, Tuataras, Weta can be observed here during the guided bush walk.

Plimmers Ark, Lambton Quay
A bank was built a century ago near Plimmer’s steps at the corner of Lambton Quay. The bank was built on the wreck of a ship. During renovation of the Bank’s Building the timbers of the ship were discovered and the remains were then preserved in the building.

Katherine Mansfield Birthplace 25, Tinakori Road, Thorndon
Katherine Mansfield was a famous author. She was a contemporary of literary geniuses such as T.S.Eliot and D.H.Lawerence. Katherine Mansfield was born at Beauchamp House. Her birthplace has been restored and is nowopen to public.

Te Papa Tongawera, Cable Street
One of the most spectacular museums in the world, built at a cost of NZ$317 million it is spread over five floors and takes an entire day to see the various exhibits . Interactive displays stimulate pages from New Zealand’s history and enable a visitor to feel the part.


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