The capital of New Zealand, Wellington, is a central door to the entire country.   Being located at the bottom of the Northern Island, trips to the North are quite accessible, and the South Island is only a short ferry ride away.  The capital is a bustling city with a growing arts and food community yet stills maintains a small town charm. 

First, for those of you interested in getting acquainted with New Zealand's history and culture, visit the national museum called Te Papa.  It tells the story of New Zealand's culture, people, geography and biology.  This is a great way to understand where New Zealand comes from what has defined it as a country.

If you want to avoid museums and head outdoors, climb to the top of Mount Victoria for a view of the city and bay below.  Watch as the ferries take people to and from the South Island across the blue waters.  The view, with the water as a backdrop, makes for a perfect place to watch the sunrise or sunset.  For an extended stay, take some snacks with you and make it a picnic. 

Outside the city in one of the neighborhoods is a project called Zealandia.  The goal is to preserve New Zealand wildlife and plants by returning the land to a pre-human state.  Many of the biological species here in New Zealand can only be found in New Zealand, so if outside products come in and grow/reproduce rampantly, they threaten the destruction of natives animals and plants.  Evening tours provide you with the chance to spot the extremely endangered Kiwi bird in its natural habitat. 

New Zealand is known internationally for producing high quality wines.  A trip to New Zealand is not complete without touring at least one vineyard.  Hawke's Bay is one of the best wine areas in New Zealand and is close enough to Wellington to make it the perfect weekend trip.  Tour the Te Mata Estate, one of the finest and oldest vineyards in New Zealand. And don't forget to take a bottle of fine wine back home with you!

As the capital of a growing New Zealand, Wellington has much to offer in the city itself and in the surrounding regions.  Whether you spend your days walking along the water's edge, or your evenings out on the town at dinner at the ballet, or you leave the city behind and explore the outdoors, New Zealand will have you wanting to stay forever!