Wellington is the most populous city, as well as the capital, of New Zealand. This city covers an area of one hundred and seventy-one square miles and has a population of around three hundred and eighty-six thousand residents. It has earned the nickname “Windy Wellington” because it has some of the highest wind in the country. Wellington is located on the southwestern portion of New Zealand’s North Island and is situated between the Rimutaka Range and Cook Strait. The city was named after the Duke of Wellington, Somerset Arthur Wellesley.
The city of Wellington is the political center of the country and is home to Parliament and the main offices of the Government Ministries. It is also the home to the film industry of the country and supports a vibrant art scene. In downtown Wellington can be found a large number of art galleries, nightclubs and cafes. The city has the twelfth highest standard of living of any city in the world as of 2010.
The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is a popular attraction in the city. This museum is New Zealand’s national museum and is situated on Wellington’s waterfront off of Cable Street. Its building is six stories high and contains exhibition halls, gift shopes and cafes. All of the collections are dedicated to the climate and culture of New Zealand. The building in which its located covers an area of eleven thousand square feet and cost an estimated three hundred million New Zealand dollars when it was constructed in 1998. The site on which it sits was original occuppied by a hotel. This five story hotel was removed from its foundation and moved six hundred feet down the street and is now the Museum Hotel.
Another popular attraction in the city is Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. This wildlife sanctuary is now most commonly known as Zealandia and it has become on of the most visited tourist attractions in the city. A large amount of different species have been protected and released into the sanctuary since 2000. Some of these species’ include Bellbirds, Whitehead birds, Forest gecko, Little Spotted Kiwis, North Island Robins, Stitchbirds, Wekas, Saddlebacks, Grey Warblers, Tomtits, Brown Teals, Scaup, Fantail, Skink and Tui. The most impressive feature of the sanctuary is a pest exclusion fence that is designed to keep out fourteen species of non native mammals that encircles its five mile perimeter. This fence is designed to keep out animals such as Stout, weasels, black and Norway rats, hedgehogs, mice, Pacific rats, cats, dogs, deer and possum.
The Wellington Zoo is another stop that many visitors to the city find worthwhile. This zoo was started in 1906, making it the oldest zoo in New Zealand. It has earned the nickname “The best little zoo in the entire world” and has an impressive collection of endangered animal species for a zoo its size. The zoo is broken down into several sections which include Monkey Islands, African Savannah, Reptile Houses, Malayan Sun Bear Collection, The Twilight and the Sumatran Tiger Exhibit. Mount Victoria is a hill which is located east of the city and rises to a height of five hundred and eighty-eight feet. On this hill is the home the New Zealand’s Governor General and a Greek Orthodox Cathedral.
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From the top of this hill visitors are afforded a great panoramic view of the area, but this is not the reason for the sudden rise in its popularity over the last few years. It has gained popularity because it was used twice for a filming location in the Lords of the Rings Trilogy. Wellington Botanic Garden is another prominent attraction in the city of Wellington. This botanical garden covers an area of twenty-five hectares that lies between Kelburn and Thorndon. It features an impressive collection of forests, plant collections, rose gardens, seasonal displays and conifers. From the business district of the city, visitors can take Wellington Cable car to the top of the garden from Lambton Quay. Wellington Botanic Garden has a trail that winds through its territory and has become very popular with residents and tourists alike.
Key features of this garden include a Victorian glasshouse, Lady Norwood Rose Garden, Treehouse Visitor Center and Begonia House. The garden also has a collection of statuary that was created by artists such as Chris Booth and Henry Moore. Several organizations are located in this botanical garden and they include Wellington Cable Car Museum, Meteorological Service of New Zealand, Victoria University Innovation Greenhouse and the Carter Observatory.